Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Horses and cars - king of the road?

Out riding a couple of weeks ago John and I were met by a 4x4 pulling a livestock trailer, one of those closed-in trailers with open slats along each side. My horse just doesn't like them and started to mess around. I wasn't worried and put my leg on to get him past, but he wouldn't go. The friend I was riding with moved her mare in front and we all went through fine.

I was completely shocked when the driver of the 4x4 - who admittedly had turned off his engine to avoid frightening the horses further - shouted to me 'they shouldn't be on the road, they are too dangerous'.

Now I've heard that some people believe such guff but I've never come across anyone like that before. Call me naive but I always thought, and still think, that people are pleased to see horses and riders; they're a reminder of a more peaceful time when life was lived at a slower pace and folk were not so stressed out and materialistic, when things other than possessions mattered.

The road we were riding along is not busy with traffic, it is close to Dedham village, it is rural. Our horses are educated and mature. John is not a youngster, shying away from the slightest object or noise, he is a school master in every sense of the word.

The livestock vehicle was noisy with metal jangling and creaking, and quite frankly it scared him. Obviously. If the driver had stopped earlier we might well have passed without problem, but he didn't. At no time did we present a danger to anybody.

Why do drivers think they own the roads? What represents the biggest danger - a horse quietly walking, enjoying a country hack or a large, heavy 4x4 towing a trailer, which was frankly going too fast? I know which one I would rather run into.

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