A rider whose horse was allegedly hit by a car while she was hacking out with a group from a rescue centre has urged others to use cameras while riding on the road.
Ellie Cogger, a volunteer at Free Rein Horse Rescue, captured footage of the incident in Sussex last Friday (26 January) and police have since confirmed they have served the motorist with a notice of intended prosecution.
Ellie was hacking 11-year-old ex-racehorse Apollo along with a group of four other riders at about 11.30am when she says a driver approached them from behind on a busy stretch of road.
The congested route is one Ellie usually avoids.
“All our horses are bombproof on the roads, however due to poor accessibility to our usual roads because of muddy fields, we had to take the main A265. This is something we hate doing but there is no other way in which we can exercise our horses as we don’t have a school at our yard, so we have no choice but to ride along a short stretch of the main road to get to a quieter area,” Ellie said.
“We are aware that the A265 is a busy road so we trotted round to the high street in an attempt to avoid aggravating any drivers. As we turned the second to last bend, a driver decided that he would try and squeeze past us. However, there were cars parked on the opposite side of the road and oncoming traffic.
“We all slowed our horses due to the volume of traffic in that specific area and I gestured to the driver that he needed to stay back as there was not adequate room for him.”
But Ellie claims the driver ignored her request and was seen to “shake his head”. She alleges he then drove forward into Apollo’s legs in order to push him out of the way.
Ellie claims many of the drivers coming in the opposite direction stopped after seeing the incident
She said Apollo was a “bit tender” after the incident but had no obvious bruising or swelling. The thoroughbred, who won on the track, arrived at the rescue centre following a serious tendon injury.
“I fell head over heels for him when he arrived, he is one of the gentlest horses,” said Ellie. “He works with us in our mission to rehabilitate and rehome horses as he provides comfort for a lot of less-confident horses and our youngsters.
“He was great on the roads beforehand, which was fortunate, but it has knocked his confidence a bit. I’ve only taken him out once since and that was in-hand,” she said. “I was beyond shaken up that it happened to him.”
Ellie added that all the riders were insured and were wearing high-vis at the time and there was nothing they could have done differently.
She said she would urge other road uses to invest in cameras.
“I initially bought a GoPro adapter for my iPhone to record our rides but it proved more than useful in this instance. I would encourage more riders to make this move. Just as I would encourage other road users to install dash cams.
“All road users need to be more considerate of each other.”
The dog chased the horse for around two miles before both animals could be caught
‘You won’t be laughing when I try to knock you off the road’
A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed there had been a number of witnesses to the incident in which a horse appeared to have been nudged by a vehicle.
He said that the driver had been served with a notice of intended prosecution.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.