‘I love you so very much’: owner heartbroken as pony scared by vehicle suffers fatal injury

  • The owner of a pony who was “part of the family”, and who had to be put down after a vehicle passing inappropriately scared her on to a cattle grid said she wished it was she who had broken her leg instead.

    Laura Grant has shared what happened to her beloved Katie, a rescued Welsh section A, to raise awareness of the dangers horses and riders face, and in hope of change to prevent anyone else suffering such a loss.

    “She had a lovely life, for a few short years,” Laura told H&H. “But she had so much more to look forward to, and it’s been taken away.”

    Laura took Katie for a carriage drive on 2 April last year, with her 15-year-old friend Ellie riding Billy, Laura’s Welsh cob, behind.

    “We decided that we would avoid Lon Ffoslas as a pony and carriage had been hit there only days earlier, causing serious damage and injuries to pony, occupants and carriage,” she said.

    “Better safe than sorry, supposedly, we were high-vissed up to the hilt with three sets of lights on the rear of carriage, lights on Billy, and Ellie always wears a signalling light vest.”

    Laura said she, Ellie and the ponies left the yard at about noon, and that all were pleased to be out. They were approaching a dip, with a bend, a “nasty camber” and a farm gateway, when they heard a vehicle coming down the hill behind them.

    “Its brakes were screeching, spooking Billy and Katie, so we calmed them back to a walk and I turned to see what the vehicle was,” Laura said. “The driver was keeping back but revving; you could hear and feel his intention was to speed past as soon as possible, so I said to Ellie to signal left that we intended to pull into Mudlescwm gateway, thinking it would be safer for us.”

    Both indicated to the driver that they were pulling in but as they did, the driver came past, Laura said, increasing his speed both to tackle the hill and to pass them before an oncoming car.

    “If only he had waited, if only he had been patient,” Laura said. “Why were we not worthy of two seconds of his time? Sadly, Katie was scared by his passing at speed and so close to her, she bolted.”

    Laura said the area was big enough to pull into and avoid the cattle grid, but that the driver did not give her the time to do so.

    “We were just pulling in when he overtook, and cut in tight in front, and she just turned and headed to the cattle grid,” Laura said. “I couldn’t stop her.

    “She hit the cattle grid and I flew out, I hit the ground and must have been knocked out. As I woke up and tried to get up, so did Katie; she’d stayed next to me and was looking at me, and when I tried to move, so did she. But her leg was swinging. It was awful. And the driver just drove off and left us in the cattle grid.”

    She added: “How I wish I’d managed to stop her, or pulled her into the wall, but it happened so quickly. How I wish it was me that broke a leg; I would mend but not so for my Katie, it meant death for her.

    “I’m sorry I didn’t pull harder, I’m sorry I was being considerate and pulling in to allow traffic to pass us, I’m sorry I decided to go that route, decided to go out, I’m just so very sorry and these decisions have cost Katie her life. Billy has lost his partner, Sandra and I have lost a perfect little friend, our pocket rocket. I’m also so sorry my 15-year-old friend Ellie had to witness this; she should never have seen such an awful thing or have been put in this sort of situation.”

    Laura thanked all those who came to her aid; a man who stopped, her best friend Sandra who joint-owns all her animals, her neighbours, the vet and the emergency services.

    “I know you were all worried for me and I apologise for being awkward but there was no way I was leaving Katie to face her end without me, even though you were all very kind and considerate,” she said. “Thank you is really not enough but thank you.”

    Laura reported the incident to police, but said she was told they would not take it further, as the driver had breached the Highway Code, not broken the law. She submitted an official complaint, but this was dismissed.

    “So I told them once that had finished, I’d make it public because I’ve had enough,” she said. “It’s not right that this can happen, and there have since been other accidents where carriage drivers, riders and horses have been hurt. Enough is enough, and if the Highway Code is just advisory, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.”

    Laura said she asked police for the chance to ask the driver some questions. This did not happen.

    “I’d ask him why didn’t he wait to let us pull in,” she said. “Why didn’t he wait till we were safe? It would have taken seconds, why were we not worth thinking about?

    “I just want a difference made; if people don’t come out and say what’s happening – report everything to the police and the British Horse Society – nothing will change.”

    Laura will be organising her third Pass Wide and Slow awareness ride this September, this one in Katie’s memory.

    “Please don’t let someone else’s pony go through what Katie did, she deserved so much better,” she said.

    “Katie, I will always miss you, you taking yourself for walks when we first had you, the love you and Billy had, like an old married couple; I will cuddle him for you. The freedom and enjoyment you have given me is immeasurable, I will miss all the waves and smiles we got when out and about together and I know you will miss all the fuss and treats. Rest easy, Katie I will see you again and I love you so very much.”

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