Horse sense missing - Clanger
/rant mode on

Since my daughter has got a part time job up the dale, I find myself travelling to Middleham, North Yorkshire once or twice a week. Middleham is a centre of racehorse training and contains (among others) the most arrogant, pig-headed, obstructive, incompetent horse riders that I have ever come across. I consider myself a reasonable horseman and a considerate motorist, and I'm used to giving way to horses, passing them carefully and waiting for novices to regain control over their mounts.

The Middleham riders habitually;
Wave you on into oncoming traffic,
Get annoyed, then abusive if you don't overtake when they think you should even when it's obvious that forward visibility is limited
Ride 3 and 4 abreast in contravention of Highway Code Rule 39
Never signal
Rarely look behind them
Never wear anything that looks as if it might be high-visibility clothing

Although I've never met them in the dark yet, a pound to a penny they won't carry lights

It's not unusual to see them in groups of 20 or more, many of them riding animals so nervous and skittish that they shouldn't be on the road at all. I doubt if any one of them would pass the British Horse Society's road safety test, if indeed any of the riders have heard of it. May this test soon become compulsory for all horse riders in which case we'd soon see this lot relegated to shovelling horse manure which is apparently all they are fit for.

What distinguishes the stable men and women from the normal horse rider?

/rant mode off

feel better now ...

Stranger in a strange land
Horse sense missing - M.M

Funny you should post this because I've been bottling up a rant from the opposite view for weeks but decided not to even bother posting.

Sadly our whole equestrian plans for the rest of the year have been ruined because of the shocking behaviour of 99% of car drivers using our road.

We live on a nsl rural road between villages. It is straight for miles with excellent visibility.

Twice a day we need to walk the horse from its stable at the house to grazing a couple of houses down, and across, the road. This amounts to walking along the roadside verge for just 200ft and standing waiting to cross when the road is clear.

Just because (I assume) I'm not actually on the road the traffic will not slow down one jot. Cars are passing within 1m of the animal at 50/60/70/80mph.

Utter utter fools because if she was panicked by these drivers ignoring good sense and manners she may well jump on their bonnets and kill them.

Sadly bikers (who I've praised in the past for good manners in the village 30 limit) are often shooting past at the upper speeds mentioned and lorries clatter past with a pressure wave than almost knocks you over.

After a month of going about our reasonable business in this way I've called a halt to the arrangements on safety grounds...ours, the horses and the idiot motorists.

The alternatives are costing more money and take up loads more time. Very very frustrating.

Frankly the way I feel about this I wish we had 20 horses to walk down the road in the way you mention...folks would have to slow down then if they wanted to avoid a large bonnet mascot.

And come on H, complaining about horses in Middleham is like objecting to tractors in The Fens!

Horse sense missing - X5
I'm with you on this MM. I guess Hawkeye's Middleham lot think that they're special because they work for Joe Bloggs' racing yard; most discourtesy from riders comes from schoolgirls who have had no education in either traffic or road courtesy. But nothing is as bad as some imbecile in a car coming steaming down a windy country lane and treating you and Dobbin as a bit of static street furniture to be negotiated. And if Dobbin takes fright and skitters around a bit, they then wind down the window and berate you for "not having your horse under control". These clowns don't realise just what a mess a ½-tonne horse will make of their precious motor, and indeed of them.
Go easy out there guys - they're our roads too.
Horse sense missing - Rob the Bus {P}
Hawkeye, MM and X5,

I know that this will be little comfort, but there are some people out there who treat horses and their riders with respect. I *always* (where it is safe to do so, of course) pass completely on the other side of the road having crossed the white lines. I take special care if I am in a bus, slowing to less than 15 mph and making sure that my foot is off the brake well before I pass so that there are no sudden "air" noises.

I'd like to think that I'm not alone in this. I do agree, as well, that some horsey people are staggeringly ignorant and expect respect from motorists without giving any back.


Horse sense missing - X5

Your courtesy is appreciated, and of course you're not alone out there.

However, I've just clipped this from the BHS (British Horse Society) website:

"There are at least 3000 accidents involving horses on our roads every year - 8 a day. Over 100 horses are killed on our roads every year."

I don't know how many of these were due to inconsiderate driving rather than Dobbin spooking at a butterfly or whatever but I bet it's a high percentage.
All I can ask is that all motorists appreciate that horses are animate objects with a somewhat dippy mind of their own, and they can sometimes behave in an unpredictable manner even with the most experienced rider on board. Please pass wide and slow (as Rob & Hawkeye do). And if your courtesy is ignored then accept it as just another uneducated/ignorant road-user; there's plenty of them in cars too.
Horse sense missing - Orson {P}
Reminds me of a time (before I could drive) when I was a passenger on a bus. I vaguely knew about slow and wide passing of horses, so I was surprised when the driver of this bus slowed down, pulled over the white line, then, when level with the horse, leant on the horn! Horse, not surprisingly, accelerated somewhat faster than the bus, and was last seen charging down a narrow lane with teenage girl clinging onto the mane for dear life.

Horses are stupid. Let's try and drive so that they're the only stupid ones on the road. Having seen a moose go through a car windscreen in Canada, I don't much fancy being 3 inches thick and spread over the inside of my car.

Horse sense missing - Nsar
I know what you mean about Middleham. Lovely place but not if you're not in the horsey set.
I live in a very horsey area and I drive carefully along our lane to the main road ie never above 30, often 20 or so yet still I get looks that could freeze a polar bear from about a third of the riders, they just seem to imagine that you're going to drive straight at them.
I also live about half a mile off the road up a bridleway which is a dead end for cars and I find horse owners parking up to tend to their horses in the fields, entirely blocking the way.
On the evidence of this I'd say a significant minority of riders over-react to the significant minority of drivers who don't show them respect - I can't see how any of this is going to change though.
Horse sense missing - Obsolete
I read somewhere that you should slow to max 15 mph when passing a horse and most people seem to do that. However, I have been on roads where horses are likely, and seen drivers hurtling round corners, so it's not hard to see how 100 horse deaths a year comes about.

It reminds me when some years ago I was walking along a sand track with an expensive camera round my neck when some ******** on a horse galloped past me at full pelt, almost brushing my shoulder, and throwing up sand which could have ruined the camera. It was quite intimidating. I was astonished at the behaviour from someone who expects me to be careful when driving past him and his horse.

Anyone know what speed a car should do when approaching, passing a horse drawn carriage? I would guess these horses are specially picked for road use?
Horse sense missing - X5
Dont know about speed, but if you see 'em coming your way, you'd better run - the potential for carnage is immense....
Generally these horses wear blinkers, which at least cuts down a lot of the possibility of visual distractions. The drivers of a coach & 4 have enough problems as it is - imagine dealing with a T-junction when you've got 30ft of horses in front of you (I think that's maybe where your postillion leaps off to help, assuming he hasn't been struck by lightening).
Horse sense missing - Flat in Fifth
Have to sit completely on the fence here.

Would totally agree with the MM camp that I know how little real control a rider can exert in extremis so always but always really sloooooooooow down, give as wide berth as possible even if the horse is on the verge. Any signs of skittishness and almost stop is the order of the day. Plus it seems to give good example to other drivers who often copy the approach. (Incidentally not just horses, polite to slow down and give a wide berth to ramblers and dog walkers etc. on country lanes too IMO)

However some riders don't help themselves or the rest of the horsey crowd.

Thinking of another racing community where one of the tracks from the gallops emerges just round a slight bend over brow on a B road. Good job was going slowly so could stop as the training posse certainly didn't or even hardly slow let alone look to see if anything was coming down the road.

Also thinking of another incident. Quiet back road young late teens female on what was clearly a nervous horse coming in the opposite direction. Slowed right down, 10mph max and preparing to stop, when still 100 yds away the rider came out with the classic right hand palm down slow down sign. Couldn't go much slower and as it was a narrow road pulled into a shallow indent in the verge, stopped and switched engine off. Not a smidgin of any acknowledgment from madame (and she was indeed a little madame) yet when she was a good way past, fired up the engine to set off, only to see in the mirror a venomous middle "up yours" finger. Charming!

On balance would say that in 90% plus of occasions get an appreciative wave or nod from the riders so must be doing something vaguely right. Nags were on the roads before cars after all.
Horse sense missing - Andrew-T
MM - maybe you can borrow a lollipop from the local school?
Horse sense missing - Dwight Van Driver
Tut tut Andrew
MM knows they only eat sugar lumps and mints......

Horse sense missing - NARU
As a considerate biker in a horsey area, I'm concerned that from next year all bikes will have permanently wired headlights.

I normally ride with dipped beam, but turn it off when passing horses.
Horse sense missing - Clanger
Interesting comments.

MM sorry your horse plans are upset. I'm not surprised at seeing horses in Middleham, it's famous hereabouts and there are horsey signs all over. Just a rant at the blasted riders.

Just a couple of hours ago my services as taxi driver have been requested again for the Sunday morning run. The joys of having a people-carrier ... But, as usual, I won't be provoked into doing anything stupid.

However, the jockey dolls will doubtless have a few more pins sticking out of them by lunchtime.


Stranger in a strange land
Horse sense missing - David Horn
Sorry to drag this up but I\'d just like to say that I recently had the opportunity to put a huge dent in the roof of a young boy racer in a souped up fiesta. I was riding along a narrow lane and he was behind me. I was heading towards a wide passing space and as a rounded a corner he forced his way past on my right. Fortunately, I have a great horse who didn\'t bat an eyelid, but his wing mirror caught my foot and it hurt.

I thumped his roof with my fist as hard as possible and kicked the wing mirror with my (now even more painful!) foot. Pleased to say that it fell right off and no longer has any glass.

He obviously knew he was in the wrong because he didn\'t stop to argue/apologise/beat me up but roared off before I could do any more damage. Haven\'t heard from the police, but not sure whether or not to go to them. I don\'t think he will, but I got his reg number in any case.
Horse sense missing - HisHonour {P}
Report him; it might just make him think for a minute

We live in the middle of the New Forest surrounded by horses and ponies and people are, on the whole, pretty good but even here there are some moronic drivers and too many arrogant riders. Sad really.
Horse sense missing - paulb {P}
HH: aren't we making a bit of an assumption when we talk about these people *thinking*?

DH: I take my hat off to one with the presence of mind to deliver the, um, admonition you described - have been in a number of situations myself where that would have been appropriate, but I think the whole "seven years' bad luck" thing would put me off doing something similar... ;-)
Horse sense missing - Bromptonaut
David Horn wrote:
I thumped his roof with my fist as hard as possible
and kicked the wing mirror with my (now even more painful!)
foot. Pleased to say that it fell right off and
no longer has any glass.

t.i.c. mode on

Wow, never seen it this way before but a horse must be an excellent platform for this kind of retaliation. Unfortunately Newtonian physics dictate that, were I to try the same caper when close passed on my push bike, I would simply shoot off in the opposite direction.

t.i.c. mode off.

Horse sense missing - David Horn
Ah - the trick when on a bike is to kick backwards. That way you don't hurt your leg. I've never done it, mind you, even though I've been sorely tempted (I ride the bike as much as I drive the car) as the potential for retaliation from the car driver is much higher. They'll generally stay away from someone on a horse out of respect to their motor, but a bike is easy picking. Best to stay in the middle of the road and wobble extremely slowly towards the passing space.
Horse sense missing - Clanger
Yesterday I was intrigued to come upon a group of a dozen or so riders apparently being overtaken very slowly by a big Merc with private plates. No, the driver wasn't overtaking, his passenger window was down and he was leaning over to his left apparently conversing with one of the riders. Together, riders and Merc occupied the whole road round a left-hand bend for some minutes bringing a handful of oncoming cars to a complete halt. He then slowed to drive behind the riders so following cars had a longer queue to overtake.

Outstanding performance.

Stranger in a strange land
Horse sense missing - Phil I
These Horse riders or cyclists??
Horse sense missing - Clanger

Stranger in a strange land
Horse sense missing - spikeyhead {p}
I always take extreme care when passing horses and wish riders were all as courteous as I am.
Can I use this forum to apologise to the poor person I overtook in a Caterham a few years back. I waited for ages until a suitable strecth of clear road was available, went past on the far side of the road, crawling along in a car that is VERY loud, barely touching the throttle to keep the noise to a minimum. Quite how long the flame that shot out of the exhaust was I'm not sure, but there was always some when the car backfired, which it only ever did when it had been running at tickover for a while and then accelerated gently. At least I was a reasonable distance past the horse when it happenned.
I read often, only post occasionally

Value my car