Sunday, 17 June 2012
It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble a car, and one nut to scatter it all over the road - Author Unknown
Kelly Marks recently posted a photograph on her facebook page which says 'Ruby's dead, why? Because someone couldn't wait one more second to get home'. Next to the words is a picture of beautiful horse Ruby lying dead on the road partially covered by rugs and jackets having been hit by a vehicle towing a trailer. It's a graphic picture and not for the faint hearted, but one that every road user should see. Although maybe the damage that was caused to the vehicle that hit Ruby would hit home more with some drivers who have absolutely no consideration for horses on the road. This is a subject which is very close to my heart. I ride along a short distance of road because I have to. Every time I do it, I feel as though I am taking mine and Wolfie's life in my hands. Why? Because of drivers. I am corteous at all times to drivers, I never ride on the road in anything that I consider to be adverse weather conditions, both me and Wolfie wear so much hi viz that we can probably be seen from google earth. I thank drivers for slowing down, if I don't, it's because I am not in a position at that moment to take my hand off the rein, but I do try to acknowledge them. I am on the road for a short amount of time to get to a track, I am not out for a jolly deliberately trying to be an obstacle in peoples way or an inconvenience. My biggest bug bear though is when I do request a driver to do something ie slow down and they completely ignore it. Do they not understand the highway code or do they not reliase quite what will happen if my horse lands on top of their car. The other day for example, Wolfie and I were hacking along the road, there were a bunch of balloons tied to the fence next to the road side. A car was coming up behind us, I asked the driver to slow down incase Wolfie moved out passing the balloons which were bobbing around in the wind. The driver didn't even brake, overtook us at speed on a blind corner. I have spent a lot of time preparing Wolfie for the road and trying to ensure that he is as safe as can be expected with traffic. He is in actual fact very good with traffic, but he doesn't see many bunches of balloons tied to fences so that may have been something he reacted to. It makes me really angry when drivers don't treat him with a little respect and do as the back of my jacket asks 'please pass wide and slow'. I have emailed and written to the council on many occasions regarding the speed of drivers and the complete disregard for horses on the road and the lack of awareness, they tell me they will raise it at the next meeting. Ruby's owner has started a campaign to try and create awareness to drivers and has started some e-petitions wanting a compulsory section in the driving test about passing animals on the road, a TV advert for horse awareness / hand signals and to make more off road riding available to riders.
If you are a rider, or a cyclist, or an animal lover or a driver or all of these, please take the time to sign the petitions, for Ruby and all the other horses out there. And please, if you are driving past a horse on the road, please pass wide and slow, it is a really kind and considerate thing to do and is very much appreciated.