The rider of a pony who fell on the road after a driver stayed “practically on his tail” revving his engine says people need to have more patience for horses on the road.
Aimee Hulme, 28, from Swettenham, Cheshire, was hacking her part-bred Connemara gelding Chip with a 12-year-old friend on Thursday (31 January) when a van approached them from behind.
Aimee told H&H: “We took our ponies for a hack around the block and on our way home a van drove up behind us incredibly fast. We asked him to slow down with hand signals and he did, but he then came up drove up really close behind us and was practically touching the ponies’ tails.
“He could have gone round us but he stayed there and revved his engine and made it very uncomfortable for us. It felt deliberate; like he had taken offence at us asking him to slow down, it must have riled him because I can’t see why else he would have acted in that manner.”
Aimee said the ponies became “worked up” and bolted for home causing Chip to slip and fall.
“They bolted all the way back home to the long driveway at the yard. Chip slipped and came down and I fell off,” she said. “Thankfully he’s just stiff and we haven’t had to get the vet – it could have been a lot worse.
“My friend stayed on but it was scary for a 12-year-old to be galloping down the road.”
Aimee, who hit her head in the fall, suffered mild concussion and cuts and bruises.
“We have a paramedic and a doctor who keep horses at the yard so they checked me over and I was given a lift home because I couldn’t drive myself,” said Aimee.
“I’m nervous about going back on the roads and will probably walk Chip in-hand and make sure he is going to react ok to traffic and I’m going to buy a hat camera for the future.”
The owner shouted out to the driver but he failed to stop after the trailer clipped the horse’s leg
The driver sped past the rider before reversing back and getting out of his car
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Aimee said drivers have a lack of patience for horses.
“I don’t know whether it’s a lack of education to horses and they think because we’re on top we’re always in control but horses have minds of their own – they’re not machines. While we might have some control, if a horse wants to go somewhere it will,” she added.
“People always seem to be in a rush, it takes two minutes to slow down and give us a moment to be safe and then drivers can be safe as well and not risk damaging their car and we can all carry on fine. If a rider is flagging you to slow down they’re only doing it for safety and not doing it to extend your day or make you late.
“Every time a driver comes past we always smile, nod or thank them and make the effort to appreciate the ones who respect the fact there is an animal on the road – why can’t a driver respect the fact we’re trying to help them when we ask them to slow down?”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.