Just a quick heads-up to implore folk when they are driving out and about on the single track roads to keep a look out for horse riders and to SLOW DOWN, stop in a passing place and patiently wait for the horse/rider to go past safely and at their own speed.
It is perilous out there for us. We can be lit up like Christmas trees festooned in hi-viz but still some drivers insist on driving as fast as they can, or refuse to wait in a passing place so we have to either take to the ditch or try and creep past with inches between.
Some drivers slow down perfectly (a huge thank you) and then toot afterwards (honestly, it is better not to do that), or let off massive air-brakes (I don’t know if you can control these, but please understand you can actually put a horse into orbit).
To come home thinking a good horse ride is one where you are still alive is how we often feel these days. To give a horse and a rider a gluff is more than regrettable – it is also illegal. Riders have every right to be on the roads. “Yada yada, they don’t pay road tax” is an insufficient reason to try and wipe out our species.
And whilst, I am here, can I also respectfully ask cyclists to please stop creeping up behind us. Say something, anything; just to let the horse and rider know you’re there and about to whisk past. Silent and deadly is terrifying to a horse and the damage could be irreversible. Half a ton of equine in a blind panic is no fun to try and sit on.
Also every time a horse has one of these bad experiences, it remembers it which can just go on making matters worse every time it goes out. That’s not good for anyone.
I am sad to be writing this but on a number of occasions, while out and about, we’ve come home realising we are lucky to be alive.
And to those of you who slow down, wait patiently and smile benevolently while wondering why on earth we do this (especially in the rain), a huge thank you. Us riders wave back at you in gratitude that, while you may not understand our madness, you are prepared to indulge it and even help keep us alive.