Many of us have likely seen the social media posts and news stories directed toward drivers. These posts often warn drivers of the devastating consequences of drunk driving, texting while driving, and other safety-related concerns.
Meg Worrell-Hart, 21, shared her own social media post on Jan. 20 in the form of an open letter to drivers. The specific safety concern she addressed is not one that is as frequently discussed.
Her “worst nightmare” coming true was what sparked the Facebook post. Hart lives in the United Kingdom and has a horse named Dave.
She was riding Dave on Marsh Road in North Somercotes to get home. The noise of a car behind them indicated to Hart that the driver would soon be approaching them at a dangerous speed.
She signaled at the driver to slow down, but he didn’t. As the car approached the horse and rider, Dave became alarmed.
Anyone who had owned or ridden a horse before knows that at some point your noble steed becomes a 1200-pound chicken. Blowing tarps, unfamiliar trash cans, and even streams can become Very Scary Things.
Cars are no different in how scary they can be, and drivers can be downright ignorant or malicious. Not-so-studs often find it amusing or cool to race by you or honk at you as they pass to see if they can get a reaction.
But that behavior is idiotic and has to stop. It’s not just stupid, it’s potentially lethal. Automobiles and horses do no, and should not, mix — but unfortunately for Hart and Dave, on that day, they were about to.
“They were far too close and coming far too fast to avoid us, we did not stand a chance. They hit us at roughly 45mph, I was thrown over the top of the car and landed in the road,” Hart wrote.
The terrified horse took off, even though his shoulder had been fractured. Hart found herself in tears and a panic.
The driver’s main concern seemed to be the damage to his vehicle after hitting Dave. He wasn’t worried about the girl who had just flown over his car and eaten pavement, or the horse he’d just sideswiped, and he seemed to be completely unaware — or unwilling to face the fact — that he was directly responsible for all damage that had just occurred.
Hart didn’t get any consolation from him, but she did from women in the car behind the driver who stopped to see if Hart was okay.
While Hart and Dave are in the process of healing from the accident, Hart is seeking more than comfort and physical health. She desires to spread information for how drivers should handle passing horses on the road.
Through tears, she wrote, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to pass horses wide and slow…That horse and rider on the road may be an inconvenience in your busy life but they are real people and animals who feel fear and pain who are loved and cared about and they deserve your respect.”
If cars are required to be careful of cyclists sharing the road and give them plenty of space, why wouldn’t they be just as careful if not more so when it’s a living, breathing animal?
Hart has even created a Facebook community called “Kill your speed. Not my horse.” Hopefully, her warning to drivers will save future horses and riders from suffering injury or even death because of this safety issue.
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