I meet riders every day who have had a bad experience on the road, tragically some of these incidents have led to a horse being killed. Unfortunately, this is a stark reality. I am passionate about the safety of horses on the road, it’s been a key motivation for me since I was a mounted police officer and saw the terrible consequences of what can happen to horses.
We (The British Horse Society) receive hundreds of reports via our Horse I app from members of the public who have been involved in incidents with their horse. Occasionally, these end tragically. On this occasion, a horse was killed on the roads in rural Hampshire. Trish, the rider, was quite badly injured herself.
Trisha was hacking Jazzy one morning when a car hit the mare from behind. At hospital, Trisha was found to have broken both of her hands and multiple cuts and bruises. Jazzy was put to sleep at the scene. Your Horse reported on the incident here.
Losing a horse can be like losing a close companion and friend, and seeing your horse badly injured as a result of a road incident is something you never forget. It’s my job, morally and professionally, to support these bereaved owners in any way that I can.
As soon as the report comes through, I contact Trish and we organise a time to meet. There is nothing I can do to bring her horse Jazzy back or to alleviate the pain she is feeling, but I try to support Trish with getting her the help she needs.
I talk about the legal procedures she may face and what may happen over the coming year. It’s important to me that Trish feels comfortable with what’s happening and who she can contact. After all, when talking to the police after the incident, it can be very traumatic to relive those memories over and over again.
Some good should come from Jazzy’s tragic incident
I immediately contact Hampshire Highways and in a short period of time, I am out on the roads with them where Jazzy tragically passed, placing BHS Dead Slow signs/posters. These go a long way in helping to raise awareness of the dangers of passing horses too quickly and closely, hopefully making sure any incidents like this don’t happen in this location again.
This is not where it ends. My key priority is Trish; an incident like this can have lasting effects on a rider’s confidence so I put her in contact with a road safety support charity as well as the local Police Rural Crime Team.
We both share the same mindset: that some good should come from Jazzy’s tragic incident. I have worked with Trish several times on various media pieces to raise awareness of equine road safety and she has even contributed to a BHS training video. Trisha is amazingly strong, and I admire her resolve.
When a horse is killed on the road, I make sure to share these shocking incidents with my key contacts in Government and Road Safety Partnerships across the UK, all with Trish in mind. I’ve found that it’s these regular conversations with the key stakeholders that make a big difference.
Main image (stock image): copyright The BHS
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