A rider has warned others to stay vigilant over slippery road surfaces after her horse fell on a blind bend while out hacking.
Stacey Pope was on a familiar route with three other riders when her 14-year-old gelding Spike suddenly lost his footing.
The horse fell on to the tarmac, with Stacey landing in the opposite carriageway, where fortunately there were no on-coming vehicles.
“We’ve done that journey a 100 times before and there are a couple of sections of road that are renowned around the area for being slippy,” she said. “All the horses usually have a little slip — just a foot sliding out — but this time he went down on his knees, his back legs went as well and he just couldn’t save himself.
“It was on a blind bend on a slight slope and on our way out there had been a lot of traffic going past as there was a vintage vehicle fair in the area. Considering the speed some drivers come round blind bends, we were very lucky the road was clear when he went down — otherwise it doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Spike has been treated by an osteopath following the fall and was found to be a little sore and bruised with scratched knees, but no serious injuries. Stacey suffered soft tissue damage, a sprained wrist, bruising to her leg and neck pain that was checked in A&E.
“He’s a steady horse and not skittish, it was a sunny day and we were both relaxed and enjoying ourselves but he was just up one minute and down the next,” said. Stacey, who acquired the 16.1hh rescue-horse from the Ada Cole charity (now Redwings) 10 years ago.
She added that the accident happened despite having two road nails in each shoe and riding with caution.
“My farrier has come up this week and he’s now put four in each foot for me,” she said. “I always try and ride avoiding the tyre tracks and with a hoof or two on the verge or ride in the middle of the road [where there is more grip], but there isn’t much more I could have done.
“You can see how the surface has gone shiny through wear and has lost its surface texture on several areas near us. In that section of road there are three blind bends and two steep inclines — that’s the worry for me, should you fall then you’ve got to hope someone doesn’t come whizzing round the bend.”
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Stacey said she was keen to find other riders in the area — on Bayford Lane near Hertford — who had problems so they could approach the council and see if something could be done.
“There are only two routes we can use and we have to go along that section of road to access the bridleways,” she said. “There’s a lot of other yards in the area and a lot of horses using those roads — I’ve already had someone else post on Facebook that they have fallen on the same stretch.”
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