A rider involved in a frightening near-miss on the road has urged others to report incidents after the driver was taken to court.
Alison Prestidge was riding her 17.3hh former police horse Diplomat with a friend, Anna Turner-Bee, along Valley Road in Fawkham, Kent, in February when she heard a vehicle approaching quickly from behind.
“I turned my head and thought the driver must be able to see us – we were wearing full high-vis and riding two abreast,” Alison, a former police horse trainer, told H&H.
“I realised the car wasn’t slowing down. The man saw us at the last minute, swerved and just missed some railings as he mounted a kerb.”
Alison, who was wearing a hat camera she had borrowed from a friend, said the man drove off.
“He didn’t even stop for a split second,” she said.
“Diplomat was fine, he’s very sensible on the roads but I was a bit shaken. I’ve owned him for nine years and always ridden on that roads but I’ve never had a near-miss like that. It upset me – he could have taken my horse out and that would have been it. Diplomat would have been a goner if the car had made contact, it would have hit his back legs. It wasn’t until afterwards I thought ‘that really was a close call’.”
Alison reported the incident to Kent Police and the British Horse Society.
“I wasn’t sure if the police would do anything because ultimately we were ok, but I felt I had a responsibility to report it. The footage had caught the driver’s registration plate and Anna found online that the car didn’t have an MoT,” she said.
“I didn’t hear anything for months but then I received a letter in September to say the driver was due to appear in court. I was unable to attend on the day but I would have liked to have to seen the process and the driver’s reaction to the footage being played.”
Article continued below…
‘People need to understand we’re not on the roads to deliberately inconvenience them’
‘I can’t believe the driver knocked a child off her horse and left her there. You don’t leave the scene
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Alison has urged others to report incidents.
“I’ve spent loads of time riding on the roads training police horses but ironically country lanes are not as safe as the busy streets you ride around London. I’ve never felt scared on the roads before but watching the footage back and seeing how close it was makes me realise we were very lucky,” she said.
“It feels really good that the police dealt with the incident and it got to court. I received a letter to say the driver received points and a fine – anyone can pay a fine, but the points will have an impact on him.”
The driver appeared in court charged and pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. He received six points, a £169 fine and had to pay £85 costs.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.