Earlier this week we reported that Toblersong, a promising five-year-old racehorse trained by Surrey-based Brett Johnson had to be destroyed by a vet after a motorist struck the bay gelding in what is believed to be a road rage incident.
Shortly afterwards, Brett Johnson’s groom Hannah Neal contacted Horse&Hound Online to tell us what happened:
“I work for Brett Johnson, the trainer involved in this incident. I was with Brett when Toblersong was run down and I have to say that it was the worstexperience of my life, (although contrary to reports the horses leg wasn’tCOMPLETELY severed).
“Watching an innocent horse purposely ‘rammed’ by an angry driver is beyond words.
“Brett Johnson did exactly the right thing in trying to slow the car down, aswe had nervous, young horses in the string who had only been ridden on the roads for a couple of days. That someone should be angered by the request to slow down just goes to show how dangerous it is to take horses onto the roads.
“We only moved into the present yard a few months ago but neighbouring trainers have been campaigning for years to get some safety measures put in such as road humps, pelican crossings and speed restrictions but all to no avail.
A few years ago, a horse walk was put in down the edge of the main road leading to the downs, but for the majority of racehorses in the area it is completely unsafe to use as it so dangerous to cross the road to and from it, especially on a highly strung thoroughbred.
“Unbelievably, Surrey County Council seem reluctant to part with their money even though the death rate of horses in the area continues to rise.
“It seems to me, and everyone else working in the area, that a human lifewill have to be lost before action is taken.
“How many more horses have to die in such a horrifying way?
“Everyone’s thoughts and love go out to Toblersong’s owners who loved him dearlyand are devastated. ”
In the light of the incident, the BHS is pleading with motorists to be tolerant and considerate towards any rider they meet on the road.
The BHS estimates that there are more than 3,000 accidents a year involving horses on the roads, most of which could be avoided if motorists were more aware of the dangers of overtaking a horse and rider at speed without allowing enough room.
Most drivers are considerate and courteous, but the BHS says that deliberate aggression is not uncommon.