Us horse riders get quite a lot of flack on the roads, and it causes a heated debate with motorists. Usually all I hear about is moaning and groaning as equestrian martyrs risk their lives.
Yes, I’ve encountered my fair share of idiot drivers, but I’ve also encountered my fair share of idiot riders. Like the pair trotting two abreast along a winding village road, waving me on to overtake in my car.
But I think one way we can promote road safety is by showing appreciation. It’s hard, because we can only wave and nod to private cars, and sometimes our thanks are missed.
A couple of weeks ago some of the local roads were resurfaced, so my hacks were limited and in different areas. The following week I gladly returned to my favourite routes, but on the way home with Horse Number 1, who on a scale of nought to five (bombproof) is about a three, when I saw a caravan of highway maintenance vehicles with flashing lights, come to put the finishing touches to the new road.
Fluorescent jacketed, hard hatted, men were redirecting traffic and parking lorries in the necessary spots. I asked politely if I could walk down the road. The man nodded and said “there’s a lot of traffic but if he’s ok with them then yes”.
As I turned onto the road the nearby vehicles turned off their engines. Then as I approached the cross roads where I needed to turn left, one man asked which way I was going and then promptly moved the vehicles on my route (even though there was space for me to pass) and they were all turned off and the men stood back for me to pass.
As I walked home I thought about how good the workforce had been and how promoting good driving could help our cause in Road Safety.
I couldn’t manage to remember the company’s name, but I knew the town they were from so with the help of Google I deduced the name of the company and found their website.
I emailed the manager, telling him that the workforce were courteous and very helpful, and to pass on my thanks.
I actually got two replies, which were both happy managers so I hope that the men are more likely to pass horse riders slowly in both their private and working lives in the future. And not mind meeting horse riders on the road. You never know, they may tell their friends!
Thanks very much for taking the time to write this. In this day and age it is very easy to complain, but not many take the time to say thanks.
It goes a long way with the gang when they get a thanks and they will then do the same in the same situation as they know it is appreciated. I will ensure your thanks are passed down the line.
Thank you for taking the time to notify us of this. We are always very pleased to hear these kinds of things.
It’s great for the drivers too – we always pass on these messages to them.
So perhaps the way forward in promoting horse and rider safety on the roads is positivity. Thanking company managers, or sharing thanks on social media, and generally making drivers feel good about themselves to give positive reinforcement so that they are more likely to repeat their sensible behaviour.