A rider has urged others to buy a hat camera after she was left in tears following three incidents on the road.
Claire Woodward, 33 from Shanklin in the Isle of Wight was riding her five-year-old mare Twiggy, a 14.3hh part-bred Welsh section D on Monday (10 December) when she encountered the near-misses.
Claire told H&H: “We are very lucky and have very good hacking here but we need to use roads to get to the bridleways. I’ve hacked the route many times before and Twiggy is usually very good but we had three occasions in our two-hour hack where people didn’t slow down for us and didn’t give us enough space.
“On two occasions I was overtaken on blind corners and they overtook so fast Twiggy spooked and skidded on the tarmac.
“On the third occasion I was on a narrow lane and could hear a van coming so I waited in a layby. The driver saw me and I asked him to slow down with hand signals but he kept coming at the same speed. I had to put my hand back on the rein as Twiggy was jumping about but he didn’t slow down and she threw herself into a hedge and again skidded on the tarmac and nearly came down on her side.
“I just burst into tears, there is no respect from drivers for riders. It’s becoming really dangerous riding on the roads – we’re being put at constant risk.”
Claire said drivers overtake in unsafe places on the road from the farm where she keeps Twiggy, and that the tarmac in the area is very slippery.
“A friend lost her horse last year after he slipped on the tarmac. The first bridleway is less than five minutes away from the farm but we need to use the road which has an S-bend to get there. I’ve had people beep horns and shout at us for being on the road,” she said. “If a policeman puts up their hand you stop, but why are we ignored when we use hand signals? It’s terrifying drivers take no notice of hand signals, or road markings and speed limits.
“People just don’t realise what a horse can do and someone is going to end up getting killed, they don’t realise how big and how fast a horse is. The local farmers are very good and let us use their fields when they’re not in use for crops but that’s not all year round.”
Claire is going to buy a hat camera before riding out on the roads again.
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“It seems to be the only way to protect yourself is to have a camera on you and I encourage all riders to wear a camera and report incidents,” said Claire. “No one is going to stop me riding my horse out, but of course I don’t want to scare her on the roads. I want to keep my horse safe, and other road users safe.
“The roads seem to be a free-for-all, people need to be educated that they’re not just endangering horses, they’re endangering themselves.”
H&H reported last year of riders’ concerns of the slippery roads on the island but a spokesman for Island Roads said materials used for resurfacing in the area met all British Standards for quality and safety.
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