‘We’re putting our lives in their hands’: horse hit by car after driver ignored hand signals

A rider whose horse was struck by a car after the driver ignored her requests to stop has called for hand signals to be made legally enforceable.

Louise Wellings, from Lincolnshire, was riding her 14.2hh cob Azzy with two friends on Eastfield Road, Louth, on 14 October when she asked an oncoming car to stop.

“There was a lay-by on my left full of building equipment and plastic barriers. Azzy stopped to look and turned to face the barrier,” Louise told H&H.

“I could feel him panicking so I put my hand out to ask the woman to stop but she kept coming towards us. I asked her twice more and she never even braked – she carried on and hit us. There was nothing I could do. The wing mirror was taken off and Azzy jumped backwards into the driver’s door.”

Louise said the woman stopped and got out of her car.

“I asked her ‘why didn’t you stop?’ and all she said was ‘bloody horses’. It was unbelievable that someone could do that and not have any consideration – there was no reason for her not to stop. A car can be replaced but my horse and I can’t be.

“I didn’t want to look at Azzy’s back end but luckily he only had some scrapes. We were 100 yards from home so we got him back and I got the vet. Azzy was put on box rest and the vet said he’d been very lucky. He had some swelling and is still a bit stiff but it could have been a lot worse. The vet has since been back and Azzy is allowed out again and to do some gentle work.”

Louise, who reported the incident to the police, said she is the third rider in the area to be hit by a car in the area over the past two years.

“It’s becoming really scary to ride on the roads but we need to use the road to get to the one bridleway we have,” she said.

“What happened has put me off riding on the roads but I need to be the one to get Azzy back out so we’ll do it together. I hope it hasn’t knocked his confidence.”

Louise posted on a community Facebook group about the incident and said she was shocked by some of the responses.

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“Some people said that they didn’t know what the hand signal for stop was and others said they won’t stop for horses. We’re putting our lives in their hands,” she said.

“I would like hand signals in the Highway Code to be made legally enforceable so drivers have to acknowledge them. We know our animals, we’re not asking people to stop to be ignorant, we want everyone on the roads to be safe.”

A spokesman for Lincolshire Police said: “A collision involving a horse and rider and a car was reported to us just after 11am and we are aware the horse sustained an injury.”

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