No hors­ing around, watch out for them


Whether you think horses are a lovely sight on our Queen­stown roads or you are of the be­lief that they are an out­dated mode of trans­port and roads should be for cars only, there are some things you should con­sider.

Horse rid­ers would like to be able to be safe while out rid­ing, but some driv­ers will al­ways be more fo­cused on them­selves than on other road users.

Be­fore you have to make the quick de­ci­sion about how to re­act to a horse ahead of you on the road, pon­der the fol­low­ing.

The New Zealand Trans­port Agency tells us that we should slow down and pass horses care­fully, giv­ing them plenty of room.

It also sug­gests you don’t sound your horn, rev your en­gine or pass a horse at speed.

It con­cludes with a warn­ing headed up ‘‘im­por­tant’’. The warn­ing is: ‘‘Be care­ful around horse traf­fic. If you aren’t you could be charged with care­less or dan­ger­ous driv­ing.’’

The penalty for these of­fences ranges from a fine of up to $4500, three months im­pris­on­ment and/ or a pe­riod of dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from driv­ing.

Worth slow­ing down?

If you think it is still worth be­ing in­con­sid­er­ate to other road users, con­sider the horse in the photo.

He weighs about 750 kilo­grams. That’s the equiv­a­lent of eight peo­ple.

The de­sign of a horse is bad from the point of view of the driver of a car. Most of that 750kg is con­cen­trated in the part of the body that will come through the wind­screen.

That’s the equiv­a­lent of about eight peo­ple, ar­riv­ing at what­ever speed the car is go­ing, into the lap of the driver.

As­sum­ing the driver sur­vives this, which may not be likely, then the charges above come into play on dis­charge from hos­pi­tal. Worth slow­ing down?

If you find your­self shar­ing the road this fes­tive sea­son, re­mem- ber the NZTA guide­lines.

Look out in par­tic­u­lar for the horse rider wav­ing their hand up and down.

This is their sig­nal they need you, the driver, to slow down.

Give them the Christ­mas present of a cou­ple more sec­onds of your time to pass them wide and slow. If you are the horse rider, don’t for­get to give a wave of ap­pre­ci­a­tion as well.


Ja­cob Wilkin­son, 11, of Lake Hayes Es­tate pre­pares to take Giddy for a ride.

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