Uncommon Sense

Please may I let off some steam?

Earlier this week I read, on a coaching forum, about a road traffic accident witnessed by a coach. A girl had been riding her horse past a school at pick up time, and it had spoiled, bolted and crossed the road into an oncoming vehicle. Horrific, I know.

This coach was suggesting that the Riding Road Safety legislation should be altered to explain the possible hazards of hacking near schools.

I was aghast. What is the world coming to? Do we have to spell everything out to everybody? Am I part of the last generation with any common sense?!

I don’t know what part of your brain says, “I know, let’s go for a hack today. Yeah, we’ll go past the primary school… oh, it’s 3pm? Doesn’t matter, it will be fine”

It’s not just your horse that you are stressing and putting at risk by riding in places that are known to be busy at particular times. It’s parked vehicles – do you want to pay for that scratch of the 66 plate BMW that your whip caught? It’s the public themselves – kids run out of school, slam right behind a horse. Horse kicks out in fright. I won’t continue. Parents have an awful habit of pushing prams in front of them as they cross the road – horse spooks, rider falls off, loose horse amongst hundreds of children. 

You get the idea.

We have a bridleway near us that goes alongside the playground and comes out next to the school gates. It’s the ideal length for me to walk with Otis at the moment. But I won’t. Because I walk him out between 7.30 and 8.30am – prime going to school time – and between 3 and 4pm – picking up time. Whilst he is ok passing the playground as I have accidentally ridden it during break time, I don’t want to risk him getting scared by a child and causing an accident, and I don’t see the point in causing more of a traffic jam then there already is with dozens of cars parked on one side of the road and other road users trying to pass them. It’s a weekend route for us, and when I’m riding him again it will be light enough for me to ride that route at 5pm, once everyone has gone home.

I totally understand that you want to ride your horse, and that for some people hacking is limited. Some like to expose their horses to as much as possible, but don’t go looking for trouble! I’m sure you can adjust your day to hack before or after school time – perhaps ride in the morning and muck out after, or even muck out in the afternoon. Or you could change your plans for the day to hack a route that will avoid the school run, or if you have to exercise your horse at that time then lunge or go in the arena. Hack another day!

It strikes me that as much as horse riders play the victim, with fast and rude drivers, we also have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe by avoiding congested routes, not hacking out in fog (don’t even let me get started on this stupid act. I saw someone hacking from the yard a couple of months ago in such a pea souper of a fog I couldn’t see from one end of the arena to the other – a hi-vis does nothing to help you when light doesn’t penetrate the atmosphere) or dangerous ice, dark (another subject not to get me started on), and wear hi-vis clothing.

Perhaps the riding and road safety legislation should spell these things out to riders, but it saddens me that common sense is becoming more and more uncommon.

7 thoughts on “Uncommon Sense

  1. SimplyKatie Jan 19, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    I hear you on this rant! So many times i have friends who say some crazy idea and then follow it with, “My horse should be fine!” “Should”? I like to place both my horse and I outside of comfort zones in an attempt to face adversity and grow BUT I do so in controlled situations with a professional on hand. It’s unfortunate that this accident had to happen. :/

    • therubbercurrycomb Jan 19, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Exactly! You can push yourself and your horse quite enough in simulated environments and without involving the mass, uneducated (in horses, I mean) public!!

  2. Denise Hancock Jan 19, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    Well said and we’ll written Susy.

  3. EquiPepper Jan 20, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you any more!

    Scottie has recently moved to a yard in the village I have lived my whole life (it’s perfect!) But the yard is on a ‘main’ road to get from one town to the next, so can get a lot of traffic going through with the high street often coming to a complete standstill.

    To get to any of the good hacking you have to go down at least one of these roads. So you have to have common sense at go at times when it is unlikely to be busy.

    We haven’t ventured out since we’ve only been there 2 weeks and it’s been icy that whole time -_-

    • therubbercurrycomb Jan 20, 2017 / 2:30 pm

      Exactly! Perhaps I’m preaching to the converted?! It’s been frosty and icy the last few days here and the arenas have been frozen. So I’ve hacked around fields or on roads that I know are ice free with the sensible horses first, avoiding frozen rutted bridleways and by lunchtime the schools are thawed so everyone’s happy!!

  4. Avery Jan 20, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    It is so true. I am shocked at some of the things people do!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s