A rider whose pony was badly hurt when a car crashed into his hindquarters says there are still too many road accidents involving horses.
Ellie Mitchell, 17, was returning from a hack on her 14.1hh Connemara Ron, with two friends on 21 April in Elmsthorpe, Leicestershire, when they heard a car approaching from behind.
“It occurred to me the driver was going quite fast and I realised he was making no effort to slow down,” she told H&H.
“I was riding on the outside of one of my friends while the other was in front, and the car hit Ron, taking his legs from beneath him. I was thrown forward and fell off.”
Ellie said when she got up she ran after Ron, who had trotted away, and her friends later told her the driver crashed on the verge on the other side of the road. Ellie’s friends and their horses were uninjured.
“Luckily a man who lived there heard the accident and came to check what was going on,” she said. “He took me and one of my friends in his van to follow Ron, who had left a trail of blood down the road behind him. We caught him 200 yards down the road and took him into a car park.
“My friend called the vet, who was only a few minutes away so he came to sedate Ron and clean him up.”
Ron, who was collected by Ellie’s yard owner and taken home, suffered a deep wound to his hindquarters and has a swollen hock.
“The vet thinks the wound is only muscular damage and the main priority is getting it healed. It’s very deep, the vet could put his whole finger in it,” she said.
“Ron was initially really shook up and stiff but he’s been out in the field again and he seems to be looking a bit better and is more like himself, but I’m not sure when we will be able to do any work.”
Ellie, who enjoys Pony Club eventing with Ron, said she believes the driver was speeding and the incident could have been avoided.
“At first I was really angry – Ron didn’t spook, this wasn’t his fault. You always think it won’t be you, but I now know what can happen on the road,” she said.
“I’m focused on getting Ron better. I don’t know how we’ll both feel about going back on the road; it won’t be for a while – but I shouldn’t stop going out because one person was that stupid.”
Article continued below…
‘We all know the advice given in the Highway Code isn’t working’
‘We know our animals, we’re not asking people to stop to be ignorant, we want everyone on the roads to
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Ellie said too many incidents involving riders still occur on the road.
“Drivers need to understand they have to pass us slowly and give a wide berth,” she said. “I’m so grateful to everyone who stopped to help us and ask if we needed anything, and especially the man with the van who stayed the whole time, there was a real community spirit.”
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police, who were called to the incident, told H&H enquiries are continuing.
We continue to publish Horse & Hound magazine weekly during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keeping horseandhound.co.uk up to date with all the breaking news, features and more. Click here for info about magazine subscriptions (six issues for £6) and access to our premium H&H Plus content online