Blidworth event to help drivers keep horse-riders safe on road

An event to make car-drivers aware of safety when horse-riders are on the road is to be held in Blidworth.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 1:10 pm
Sarah Howarth (right) on her 13-year-old Dales cross horse, Bella, and daughter Phoenix on 20-year-old pony, Dotty.

Horse-lover Sarah Howarth, 36, has organised the Pass Wide and Slow Awareness Ride after surviving several near-misses while out riding with her nine-year-old daughter, Phoenix.

"Drivers have passed too close, too fast or on blind bends over the years,” said Sarah, 36, who lives in Rainworth.

"A lot of this is because they are unaware of how they should behave and of the dangers when they overtake.

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Sarah and Phoenix say they have an incident or near-miss, involving a vehicle on the roads, at least once week.

"Either they haven’t the knowledge on how to pass safely, or the patience to wait.”

About 25 riders are expected to take part in the awareness ride on Sunday, September 19. It will start at 10.30 am from The Paddock on New Lane in Blidworth, where Sarah keeps her horse.

It is one of almost 200 similar rides organised up and down the country by the national Pass Wide and Slow group, set up to educate motorists on how they should drive when horse-riders are on the road.

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Alarming statistics, released by the British Horse Society, show that in the year to February 2020, there were 1,037 incidents involving horse-riders, an increase of 81 per cent on the previous year. One person and 80 horses were killed.

"Unfortunately, this is only a tiny snapshot because a lot of incidents and near-misses go unreported,” said Sarah, who runs her own Hot To Trot business, making leather goods such as handbags, bridles, dog collars and jewellery.

"Phoenix and I go out riding three times a week to places such as Harlow Wood, the woods at Blidworth Bottoms and Tippings Wood.

"But we have to go on roads to get to them, and we have at least one incident every week.

"The police have put signs up, but the message is not getting through.”

Sarah insists the hour-long awareness ride next month will not be a protest. “The idea is to get noticed and to appeal to drivers to be more considerate,” she said. “We will have posters, leaflets and stickers.”

Her tips for drivers are to slow down, keep a safe distance, don’t try to pass until you can see the road ahead is clear, watch for hand-signals from riders and remember that horses can be spooked by loud noises.

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