Delight at horse safety awareness drive

Tuesday 29th May 2018 6:00 am
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The Pass Wide and Slow awareness drive began at The Cedars pub in Binsted. Picture order no: AD22-177-18

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A GROUP of 12 horses and riders, some as young as 11, met at The Cedars pub in Binsted on Sunday for a ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ ride to raise awareness of how to overtake horses safely on the road.

Coinciding with a nationwide campaign, event organiser Sue Vincent said: “Although many drivers are safe and courteous when passing, there are many who still don’t understand the need to be slow and wide when passing horses and ponies.”

But on Sunday she was astonished at the care being shown by passing traffic.

“I’ve never said ’thank you’ to so many drivers in all my life!” she said.

The ride took the group along the road from Binsted down to Isington and Bentley, along the Blacknest Road to Alice Holt and then to Dockenfield, for a pitstop at The Bluebell, before taking a shorter route back to Binsted.

During that time the campaigning equestrians not only shared the road with a wide range of motorised vehicles but found themselves in the middle of a cycle race.

While the aim of the exercise was to highlight the ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ campaign, Mrs Vincent believes the group were able to get their message across well.

“The drivers and cyclists were very patient and courteous and the horses behaved impeccably, so a great day was had by all.”

The passing of horses on the road is a nationwide problem and the subject of an online petition, urging the government to make it law to pass by a horse ‘wide and slow’, while abiding by riders’ hand signals.

Launched by Cornish rider Debbie Smith in 2015, the petition has attracted more than 138,130 signatures nationally and is aiming for 150,000 before it is delivered to the House of Lords.

Giving her reason for setting up the petition, Debbie said: “Horses are easily scared by cars that don’t take care when passing them. When they get scared they can spook or rear, throwing riders off. This can lead to someone falling through a windscreen.”

And she added: “Until there is a law, neither the driver nor the riders or the horses are safe.”

Debbie is asking drivers to slow down to below 15mph and to give horses a two-metre wide berth.

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