A horse owner who comforted her neighbour’s dying horse after it was struck by a lorry while being led in from the field has called for more to be done to tackle road safety.
Elizabeth Graney was driving to her own yard at around 7.30am on Tuesday morning (26 October) when she came across the scene of the accident.
Three horses were being led back to their yard by their owner when they were struck by a lorry on the B4069 close to Dauntsey Lock near Chippenham.
One horse escaped unhurt, another suffered minor scrapes and the third was fatally injured. The horses’ owner was also taken to hospital with a shoulder injury, where she is still being treated.
Several passers-by attended to the owner and horses, two of which had run back to the yard.
“It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, it’s heartbreaking,” said Elizabeth, who dealt with the horses with the help of a mother and daughter who were also at the scene.
“There was nothing we could do other than be there. You just go into autopilot and it’s afterwards it hits you, it’s an image you can’t unsee.
“I know from speaking to the other two ladies who were there that they can’t sleep. I am just grateful my 14-year-old daughter wasn’t with me that morning.”
Elizabeth said she recognised the horse’s owner, whose yard is around a mile away from her own, having waved to her many times while she was out hacking.
“It’s just devastating for her,” she said. “Everybody knows her locally and I have had a lot of messages from people asking if they could do anything to help her.
“Everyone has pulled together and I know she has close friends looking after her horses.”
Elizabeth said she believed the owner had crossed the road morning and night with her horses for many years but that the stretch had become increasingly dangerous.
“I have to drive that road two or three times a day to get to my own yard and it is a notorious spot as it’s a section that goes from a 40mph to a 60mph limit and everyone seems such a rush to get somewhere. When you’re driving through at the speed limit there is always someone right on your bumper waiting to overtake at the first opportunity.
“Every time I go down that section of road I almost hold my breath. There have been problems before but never something like this.”
She added that at the point where the accident happened was reasonably wide.
“From what I saw when I got there, it looked like the owner had crossed the road and was 10-20 yards away from her gate, and was at the very edge of the road when it happened.”
Elizabeth said that the lorry driver had stopped at the scene and “appeared devastated” by the accident.
She is now calling for more to be done to tackle the relationship between drivers and horses on the road, as no horse owner “chooses to take a risk”.
“My daughter doesn’t want to hack out any more since we had a close shave ourselves,” she said. “We’ve got an arena we can ride in but not everyone has that luxury.
“I don’t have the answers to what we can do about it but there has to be more action that can be taken — whether it’s more driving training awareness or more campaigns to come out of the equestrian world.
“It’s becoming a bigger and bigger issue.”
A Wiltshire Police spokesman confirmed that officers were called to a road traffic collision on the B4069 close to Dauntsey Lock on Tuesday.
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