16 January 2008

Speed Freak

Reading Area's latest post reminded me of of something that happened last year & the problems I've had this year to a lesser degree.

Sometimes I have to ride on the road, I don't enjoy it & I avoid it as much as possible but sometimes I don't have the luxury of choice.

It would have been a year ago October time & about 5pm so not dark but certainly not that light. I needed to to drop my horse off at a friends yard ready for the next day as we were going to a pony club show & having mine stabled at hers overnight would save a lot of time the following morning.
I couldn't get transport so decided to ride her there & then get a lift home as it was only about 25 minutes away.

If I ride on the road I never, ever ride without reflective gear, day or night. I've seen & heard of too many near misses/accidents to even consider it.

I have a reflective tabard & hat cover, my horse has a reflective tail bandage, leg bands, bridle & rein slips & if it's not daylight, a reflective quarter sheet. There is really no excuse for you to miss us!

So it is inexcusable for you, as a driver, to come tearing round a bend on a country lane nearly ramming both me & horse into the hedge. Slamming on your brakes at the last minute is not always going to save you & there are riders out there stupid enough to not wear reflective gear. Half a ton of horse on your windscreen & a mashed up rider is not a pretty sight.
Luckily my horse is pretty sane on the road & I was close enough to the hedge that he had room to miss us. If I'd been on a younger horse or not such an experienced rider then it could have been messy.
I lost a pony when I was young through a drunk driver, my pony ended up at the rear of his vehicle, she was a mess but thankfully died outright. He then had the cheek to ask for compensation as his vehicle was a write off. My pony was insured & kept at a secure premises, unfortunately it was a theft attempt & they got loose, mine was the unlucky one.

So, a few words of advice for the twats out there who drive like maniacs;

1. It is the countryside, you should be prepared to come across all types of livestock. Including children on ponies.

2. If I signal you to slow down I do mean slow down, not get as far behind my horse as possible in order to try & intimidate me. If she kicks out at your car it will cost you a new bumper at least.

3. Saying "nice arse love!" as you drive past will get you a withering look at most.

4. I have full control of myself & my horse, I expect the same of you & your car.

5. Try reading the Highway Code before telling me I have no right to be on the road.

6. Don't be a dickhead & honk your horn.

7. Horses are not machines, if you see me having trouble with a frightened horse, be patient. I'll get out of your way as soon as I can, constantly edging forward & giving me dirty looks is not going to help the situation.

8. Revving your engine just makes you look a twat & will cost you money in the long run.

9. Slow down if you see a horse, don't just go speeding past. It will backfire horrifically one day.

10. Calling me a "snooty bitch" just because I am on horseback is unacceptable, don't be surprised if I you get a taste of your own medicine. I am not as meek & mild as I look.

By the same token, if you ride then make sure you say thanks to those good enough to pass you slowly, giving you space & smiling as they do so. If you can't take your hands off the reins then a smile & nod will do the same thing. It's only fair & to completely blank someone for the effort is not good enough.

They aren't all bad though, the guy in the car behind the boy racer was good enough to stop & make sure I was ok before acting as a chaperone until me & my horse reached our destination. Luckily we were pretty close but it was good of him all the same.

Still, I was thinking of being blunt & just getting this;



Rising Rainbow said...

Riding on the road can be dangerous for sure. You are right that both riders and drivers have responsibilities and need to be courteous.

I'm sorry to hear you lost a pony in this manner. It's hard enough to lose a friend without it being something so traumatic.

RandomPinkness said...

I know, some people, the amount of eejits you get, as you said it's the countryside... what do they expect? However, I think these are the sort of folk who bomb though residential area's at 60mph, they think the road exists just for them.

Area Trace No Search said...

However. When they say "Nice arse love," just quietly wonder to yourself what has brought them to a point in their lives where they get kicks out of looking at horses arses.

brown eyed girl said...

lol .. I want one of those !

Im now starting to ride on the road with my friend as we have to get to the other end of her farm so im glad i read this, i promise to keep well in the hedge and smile nicely if people are nice..
Im with you about people needing to slow down, its madness, im always careful as we get lots of riders around the roads where we work..
loved this post

Emma said...

Being from the countryside and an ex rider I know exactly where you are coming from, I am sorry you experienced ignorance but that's the world we live in.

I work not far from one of the mains stations and police horses are often out on the streets and it amazes me the way drivers have to get as close as possible.

When I was younger a lot of the cows got out one night and I saw the damage they did to cars which hit them, fortunately none of the cows where badly injured but there were a few written of cars, people need to think before they drive so close..excellent post by the way..xx

cogidubnus said...

I think the "nice arse" comment is all wrong simply because it conveys no sense of underlying wit and humour...simply mindless rut.

Would "lucky old saddle" be better?


thoughts running through my head.... said...

being an out and out city girl,I am shit scared of driving in the country-I mean,its bloody dark for starters,and all those twisty little bends and hills and then the speed limits often 60-ON A LANE WITH BLIND BENDS!?WHY?
Still,I know who to drive around a horse,some people are morons wherever they are,in the city they are probably the ones who flash their lights at you to try and make you allow them to drive at 80.knobs.

M said...

I always slow down and am courteous when passing horses on lanes, I only think "nice arse luv" not shout it :P

What does annoy me tho is horses and riders riding 2 abreast and think they arent going to get someone beeping or getting annoyed, why riders do this i do not know but it is flipping annoying.


Alice said...

M - riders go two abreast to make themselves more visible, and to stop cars trying to force their way past them on blind corners.

GND - my uncle was riding his mare when a rather nice sports car went past driven by a complete tosser, and thought it was funny to pass at 50 MPH three inches away.

The mare kicked out and caught part of the bonnet. Her kick combined with his speed resulted in the front of his car ripped off and catapulted over the hedge. There wasn't a mark on the horse, luckily.

Cue ignorant driver's tirade of abuse at my uncle, horses in general and his in particular...

Little Wing said...

What a valid complaint!
Sorry you lost a pony in such a horrible way.
My prayers are out for Jack and his family, God Bless.

Obidom said...

I have come across this myself, The local back roads where i live have several stables and its not uncommon to see horses being ridden on the road,
Anyway one day i was driving down and saw some idiot do the '50mph at 3 inches' overtake of a horse, this spooked the horse who started to rear, spotting the rider could be in trouble i pulled my car into the centre of the road and flipped on the hazard lights, Luckily a bus coming the other way also spotted the rider was having trouble and promptly did the same

The rider just managed to get the horse back under control when an idiot overtook the line of cars parked up at nearly 70 mph, screeched past the horse and carried on down the road

Luckily the rider got the horse under control and was only metres from teh stable gates so they were quickly off the road and the cars moving off again

You would not believe the smug satisfaction i got when less that 400 metres down the road the idiot who burned past at 70mph was involved in a lively discussion with a traffic cop, and as i drove past i saw the car behind me pull over and the passenger get out to give the driver of the other car a lesson in road safety

Sometimes karma comes back and bites you in the ass big time