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‘He could have killed us’: rider falls after driver fails to slow down

A rider who fell on the road after a driver clapped his hands as he ignored her signals to slow down said more needs to be done to protect equestrians on the roads.

Emma Whitehead was riding her friend, Barbara Beercock’s 18.2hh gelding George on 30 November when she heard a car approaching over a hill in, Welton, East Yorkshire.

“I moved George on to the verge and asked the driver to slow down. He didn’t, and as he passed, took his hands off the wheel and clapped them at me,” Emma told H&H. 

“George spooked, spun and fell over landing on me. As he got up he stood on the peak of my hat then galloped down the road.”

Emma, who suffered bruising and believes she has a cracked rib, said the driver stopped after George passed him.

“I asked what he thought he was doing and he said ‘I slowed down to 30 miles per hour’. He didn’t apologise or think he had done anything wrong – he could have killed us and he wasn’t even remorseful. He offered to take me to find George but I didn’t want to get in his car,” she said.

“Another car pulled up and gave me a lift and thankfully George had headed for home and was at the lane to the stables five minutes away.”

Emma said George had suffered no cuts or scrapes, but has since developed lameness.

“We have both been so lucky, it’s a miracle we weren’t more injured. George is a big horse and I was terrified he could have been hit by a car or run a child down. When I found him he was lathered in sweat, and upset,” she said.

“Someone had seen him galloping down the road and called Barbara, who was in America, so she was worried too and furious about the driver.”

Emma, who reported the incident to the police and the British Horse Society, said her teenage daughter had a similar experience on the same road six months ago.

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“What happened to me has really put me off riding on the roads – I’ll definitely think twice now. My daughter rides out for a hunt yard and I’ve reached the point of asking her to phone me when she is leaving to go on a hack and when she returns to make sure she’s ok,” she said.

“I hope the driver is made accountable for ignoring my hand signals; more action needs to be taken and I want people to be more aware of riders.

“I posted about the incident on a local Facebook group and some people were saying they believe we shouldn’t be on the road because we don’t pay road tax so they think not slowing down is ok.”

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