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;