In­clude safety of eques­tri­ans in the High­way Code Re­view

Western Morning News - - Horses - By Athwenna Irons

Wel­come to West­coun­try Horses.

As the Bri­tish Horse So­ci­ety (BHS) ur­gently ap­peals to rid­ers to write to their MPs to en­sure the safety needs of eques­tri­ans are not for­got­ten in the

High­way Code Re­view, (full

story on page six) it seems the per­fect time to share my most re­cent en­counter with a, quite frankly, bonkers car driver.

It was one of those mo­ments, and un­for­tu­nately there’s been a few while hack­ing around the seem­ingly quiet lanes of the Ta­mar Val­ley, which have left me in a state of to­tal dis­be­lief, as well as in­cred­i­bly frus­trated.

Rewind the clock back to a rather blus­tery last Satur­day, on which I braved the el­e­ments to take Ol­lie for a spin. I can’t say I am the big­gest fan of rid­ing when the winds are get­ting up, as I find it re­ally plays tricks with your hear­ing, but hav­ing not rid­den all week we wrapped up and took to the roads.

And it only took about 10 min­utes be­fore I was caused to wave my arms in a some­what be­wil­dered fash­ion. Hav­ing ar­rived at the junc­tion, I po­si­tioned my­self as you would in a car in the cen­tre of the road, and clearly raised my right arm to in­di­cate the di­rec­tion in which I was plan­ning to go. When you’re on horse­back there’s no fancy flash­ing lights to rely on, it’s all down to hand sig­nals and voice – they are our only tools.

A car was ap­proach­ing from the left-hand side and in­di­cat­ing to turn right up the hill which I had just come down, so I there­fore waited un­til they had passed be­fore mov­ing off. I con­tin­ued to keep my right arm raised, in case an­other car ap­proached from be­hind. Per­fectly sen­si­ble and re­spon­si­ble, right?

Ap­par­ently not, ac­cord­ing to this young fe­male driver. As she turned across, leav­ing very lit­tle room if in an­tic­i­pa­tion Ol­lie took a step for­ward, she lifted her hands and pro­ceeded to shout “what the f*** are you do­ing?” be­fore de­lib­er­ately (well, that’s what I took from the en­counter) revving the en­gine and scoot­ing off up the hill.

I couldn’t quite be­lieve what had just hap­pened. Ex­actly what pur­pose did it serve to be so down­right rude? I’m not ask­ing for the world here, just some good old-fash­ioned re­spect as a fel­low road user, al­beit a slower and hairier one – Ol­lie that is!

Af­ter a few ex­ple­tives my­self, we went on to have a peace­ful hack, but I think I would have def­i­nitely strug­gled to hold my tongue if she had cho­sen to hang around and be­rate me any fur­ther. Clearly some­body didn’t bother to read the horse rid­ers sec­tion of their High­way Code when learn­ing to drive!

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