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Rider who suffered stroke after horrific accident returns to thank air ambulance

air ambulance

A rider has returned to meet the air ambulance crew who saved her life after her horse stood on her neck.

Melanie Rogers fell from her mare Bonnie last July while asking her to walk through a river near Tudhoe in County Durham.

In her haste to get away Bonnie stood on Mrs Rogers’ neck, dissecting one of her carotid arteries — one of the major blood vessels that supplies blood to the brain, neck and face.

This injury is more common in road accidents and can lead to stroke, as it did in Mrs Rogers’ case.

“I remember going down the bank, I remember coming off and I remember Bonnie standing on me,” she said.

“I was trying to stand up, saying I was going to be all right in a minute, then I can’t remember much at all.”

The 57-year-old quickly became confused, lost control of her body and her speech became slurred.

air ambulance

Anouska Rogers-Smith, Tim West, Sarah Graham, Kasha Rogers-Smith and Melanie Rogers

Her daughter Anouska Rogers-Smith, a 26-year-old veterinary nurse who was there at the time, said it was “horrendous”.

“We didn’t realise at first just how serious it was, but when the helicopter arrived and the doctor and paramedic rushed over, I thought it must be bad,” she said.

“She kept saying she was 28 years old. The doctor suddenly said she was deteriorating and all of a sudden they were off.

“They were amazing — calm and reassuring, they just dealt with everything so professionally.

They saved our mum’s life and we are eternally grateful.”

Article continues below…

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The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew Mrs Rogers to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough, which took just seven minutes.

She was given emergency treatment at the hospital and spend two days on the high-dependency ward.

Since then she has worked to rebuild her physical strength, her speech and her relationship with Bonnie.

air ambulance

Last week, Mrs Rogers and visited Durham Tees Valley Airport, the base of the GNAAS which flew to her aid last year.

She was joined on the visit by Anouska and her other daughter Kasha Rogers-Smith. They met the crew of the charity’s helicopter and were shown around.

Kasha will run this year’s Great North Run to raise money for GNAAS, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

Hovis’ Friday diary: ‘I didn’t need to see his face to know that he was swiftly praying for some sort of divine intervention’

Dear diary,

I have much to tell you but it would seem wrong to do so without first mentioning the awful events in Manchester earlier this week. Tales of woe of my injured leg pale into insignificance against the horror that was witnessed by those who merely went for an innocent night of fun and for whom innocence is now a commodity lost. My heart goes out to all those affected; the victims, their families and friends, to the amazing personnel of the emergency services and simply to the everyday heroes who tendered any help they could.

In all the events I go to, the people I meet I always see the beauty in humans; the kindness, the laughter, the warmth. On my Facebook pages I see strangers brought together by a simple love of equines (and a certain Clydesdale) who have done amazing things for other people, despite never having laid eyes on each other. It is this spirit; this very essence of what makes you human, magnified by tragedy such as this, which is why evil will never prevail. Human, equine, white, black, brown or bay, male, female, mare or gelding our message is simple: we stand with you, Manchester.

So before the awful events of Monday, my week hadn’t been going well. You may recall last week I told you I might have set my recovery back a tad and that mother was not a happy bunny? That CNSM and Herman the German needle man were due on Friday? Yeah, well about that…

So while I was waiting for CNSM and mum on Friday morning, the little dude might have kicked off in the field opposite, tearing about like the Shetland Grand National. Which may just have set the high maintenance ginger dude, the middle-sized ginger dude and my lady love off too. So who am I not to join in?

The boss lady was in my field washing out the trough and did in fairness make a highly valiant attempt to contain me — just before I nearly knocked her into next week. I got up to warp speed in about four strides before realising I was out of room (damn that postage stamp paddock), swerving violently to try and execute an air born flying change and finishing off looking like Mr Bean at a break dancing contest; my back legs went flying and I fell over, slithering under the fence. The boss lady looked more horrified than a nun at a dream boy’s show and I was summarily dragged out of the field, down the lane and slap bang into my harassed looking mother.

I have to be honest, as an accomplice the boss lady sucks — she didn’t even try to cover up for me, instead pouring out the tale of woe to my now frankly murderous looking mother. I do feel if it wasn’t for the much needed presence of CNSM I wouldn’t be writing this right now — mother had murder on her mind and hammers within reach…

CNSM didn’t exactly succeed in calming mother down but he did at least keep me here to fight another day, so we take the small victories.

After he’d finished with my feet and the required male bonding, he left with little Miss Over-Reaction trailing like a storm cloud in his wake. I was left in my stable to “contemplate life” until Herman the German arrived a couple of hours later.

Mother met Herman and gave a highly colourful and slightly inaccurate account of my activities in the morning and Herman reached for the tranquiliser gun. Once he’d sedated mother enough to bring her voice down to a pitch that humans, rather than just dogs, could hear, he asked her to get me out and trot me up.

Continued below…

I didn’t need to see his face to know that he was swiftly praying for some sort of divine intervention before he had to tell mother I still didn’t look right. He too tried valiantly to keep her from either sobbing or spontaneously combusting, gave me a bucket load more drugs and a lecture before disappearing rapidly to put much needed distance between him and the scene that he clearly thought was going to unfold. He’s coming back today — I hope he has some good drugs, although whether for himself or for mother remains to be seen.

So we wait to see what today brings, but in fairness we do have to keep it in perspective; something I think even mother will think today.

Love and light,

Original Source File

Dream hats for Royal Ascot: from under-£100 to those that break the bank

They’re awkward to kiss hello in, there’s a high chance of ending up with a glaring red/sweaty forehead, and at some point during the day you’ll have small heart attack as you make a dash back to the loo where you left it.

So if you’re going to put yourself through the trial of wearing a hat to go racing this summer, we say make it a goody…

*Disclaimer: we’re aware that hat dilemmas might top the ‘First World Problem’ charts.

Here’s Horse & Hound‘s pick of hats for Royal Ascot 2017: from under-£100 to those with price tags that will make you weep (there’s no harm in dreaming…)

Merve Bayindir

This masterpiece will get the crowds talking — and not in a ‘Ladies Day gallery of shame in the tabloids’ kind of way. Headed up by Merve Bayindir herself, the company originated in Turkey but is now based in London, describing the women who wear the brand as “chic and self-confident”.
Price: enquire for price

Lock & Co

Lock & Co might be one of the world’s oldest hat shops, and one of the oldest family businesses still in existence in the UK — but it’s in no way stuck in the dark ages when it comes to innovative designs for women’s headwear.
Price: £1,650

John Lewis

No one will guess your hat comes from John Lewis, with gems like this ‘Tiff Orchid’ hat from Rebecca Couture on offer.
Price: £350


Looking the part doesn’t mean emptying your bank account (before you get to the bookies). Get your hands on this pillbox design from high street shop Coast before it’s too late.
Price: £79

Jane Taylor

The Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear a Jane Taylor design for her sister Pippa Middleton’s wedding last weekend (20 May) — and you can see why. Our current favourite is this hand-painted straw cocktail hat, complete with hand-painted feathers and a rose detail.
Price: £1,138

Rosie Olivia Millinery

After studying millinery at Central St Martins in London, Rosie interned with iconic British hat designers Philip Treacy, Victoria Grant and Stephen Jones. And the result? Sleek designs like this Ivory straw hat, trimmed with a matching straw flower and single ivory pearl.
Price: £438

Bundle Maclaren Millinery

Bundle Maclaren’s designs are all handmade in a Fulham studio in central London — including this striking navy silk-covered ‘percher’, adorned with navy veiling at the front and back, and finished with neon green feathers.
Price: £235

Camilla Rose

This eye-catching royal blue textured fabric headpiece with a fun silver mesh detail, from south-west London-based Camilla Rose, handily meets the Royal Enclosure size requirements for Ascot. Maybe kissing people hello won’t be such a problem after all?
Price: £315

Iona Montgomery

“Sculptural femininity, Parisian sophistication” is at the heart of Iona Montgomery’s designs — and we’ve fallen in love with this show-stopper, clad with gold silk ivy and crystals.
Price: £355

Laura Cathcart

Racegoers will struggle to keep their eye on the horses with this butterfly creation in the mix from Laura Cathcart, made in her workshop in a converted coach house in Shropshire (which she shares with two pugs).
Price: £645

Philip Treacy

Philip Treacy might be one of the world’s most in demand hat designers — but that doesn’t stop us dreaming…
Price: enquire for price

Original Source File

Tea for two: mare strolls into racecourse canteen

Picture and video by Simon Waugh Racing

The trainer of a filly caught on video exploring a racecourse canteen said the mare is in foal and joked “it was her cravings!”

Four-year-old Rosamaria has become an internet sensation after a video of her escapades went viral.

Trainer Julie Camacho told H&H Rosamaria gave her lass Katie the slip after she finished fourth in a fillies’ handicap at Redcar on Monday (22 May).

“After the race, I was still talking to the owners, then I saw her coming back from the direction of the canteen,” she said.

“I said: ‘What the heck?’ or words to that effect, and they said she’d been in the kitchen.”

Julie said Rosamaria’s lass Katie fell over when the mare stood on her foot.

“I think [Rosamaria] just trotted off and went through the back door,” Julie said. “Then she took the next door and ended up right in the kitchen, behind the counter.

“Thank god I didn’t see it; I think I would have been having kittens!”

Rosamaria can be seen taking the situation in her stride, which Julie said is typical of her “sweet, kind temperament”.

“She hasn’t got a mark on her, she’s absolutely fine. It was a tiled floor and she had her aluminium shoes on but she stayed calm, thank god.

“She’s in foal – it must have been her cravings! – but she didn’t fancy anything they had, and there were some lovely cakes. It’s lucky it wasn’t one of our others, who’d have eaten all of them.”

Amie Waugh, daughter of trainer Simon Waugh, caught the escapade on film.

“It was a case of right place, right time,” she told H&H. “We had a runner in the last and had just nipped in for a quick drink. We could hear the clip-clopping, but it could have been one passing outside, then it got louder.

“She just stood there in the kitchen quite happily, then someone led her out; she wasn’t worried in the slightest.

“It was one of those things you couldn’t believe was actually happening.”

Rosamaria’s next race is at Hamilton next week.

“I’m sure I’ll get plenty of stick,” said Julie. “And she’s not allowed in the canteen!”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File

First foals by Tamarillo’s clone are born

Tomatillo foals
Turkish Candle with her Tomatillo filly

Tomatillo’s first foals have been born.

The clone of Tamarillo stood at stud for the first time in 2016 and six foals are expected by him this year.

Owner The Hon. Finn Guinness told H&H the first four of these have arrived, with two more still to come.

The first two to be born at the Gunnisses’ Biddesden Stud, both fillies, are out of Anglo Arab eventer Turkish Candle (by Bajazeth) and her daughter Imbroglio (by Indoctro). Both mares and fillies, who are also owned by Finn, are doing well.

Tomatillo foals

Imbroglio and her Tomatillo foal

It is extremely exciting as it always is with foals, but particularly the first foals of a stallion,” said Mr Guinness. “It is interesting to see their way of going.”

He added Tomatillo “has a slightly better walk” than Tamarillo and this is where the latter was pipped in competition by Pippa Funnel’s great campaigner Supreme Rock when the two were eventing at the same time.

Partnered by William Fox-Pitt, Tamarillo’s list of eventing achievements include wins at Badminton and Burghley as well as European, World and Olympic medals.

Turkish Candle evented in the UK and Canada, reaching two-star level before retiring to become a broodmare.

Imbroglio also competed up to CCI2* and this is her first foal.

Article continues below…

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Tomatillo, who is rising four and is owned by Finn and MW Guinness, will stand at stud again this season and is currently in training at William Fox-Pitt’s yard.

Tamarillo was cloned at Replica Farm in Texas and H&H revealed his existence to the world in September 2013.

Tamarillo's clone, Tomatillo, being long reined as a three-year-old

Tomatillo, pictured here starting his education in 2016

“People are all asking whether we are going to compete [Tomatillo] and that is not the primary aim of the whole project,” Mr Guinness told H&H earlier this year.
“He is very like Tamarillo, but as similar as an identical twin would be, not exactly the same.”

Tamarillo, who was put down in 2015, was out of MW’s Anglo Arab event mare Mellita (by Master Spiritus), by the Anglo Arab Tarnik. These are also the genetic parents of Tomatillo.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

Rider fitness: what do we really mean by ‘core’ and how does it work?

When the competition season is in full swing, it can be easy to forget about your own fitness when you are focused on keeping your horse in peak condition. Here, sports therapist Debbie Rolmanis explains the importance of a rider’s core — and busts some misconceptions about it

Michael Eilberg & Der Designer (313) – Suregrow Advanced Medium Open Championship – LeMieux National Dressage Championships 2014 – Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, United Kingdom – 21/09/2014
© Jon Stroud Media 2014, all rights reserved

Arenas around the globe are full of a familiar cry of “your core needs to be stronger“, and it is used for the rider who cannot sit to the trot all the way up to those unable to conquer a clean flying change.

It has become the go-to, get out of jail free card for every unbalanced piece of riding and whilst the message that a strong core will give you an independent seat is not inherently wrong, piggy backing off the fitness industry’s obsession with a six pack, is.

So, what really is the core?

To be biomechanically correct, the core should be thought of as every muscle that attaches to the pelvis (of which there are over 30 including attachments to the sacrum and the hips).

The pelvis really is the biomechanic super power of the human body, and for the rider it is especially critical as it becomes the base of support in the saddle. Every movement of the horse is received by the pelvis.

That means that all the muscles which connect to this titan of a structure; above, below, front, back, side to side, superficial and deep, will have an impact on the positioning of the body in the saddle.

Thinking of the core as this entire unit will give the rider a much more accurate and holistic approach to “core training” and how it influences everything; from how the upper body is stacked above the pelvis, to how the legs hang beneath it.

Back to front

Mechanically, the strongest part of the body should be the posterior chain — ie the muscles at the back of the body; lower back, glutes and hamstrings.

In days of old we would’ve used our bodies in a way that complimented this design; every movement our ancestors made in the form of squatting, pulling, pushing etc would be strengthening the back and keeping the hips mobile. Modern day compressive living leaves us shortening the front of the body and leaving the posterior chain lengthened and weak.

Sitting for long periods of time presses against the hamstrings which restricts the bloodflow they receive, putting them into a habitually shortened and weak position.

At the same time it lengthens and weakens the glutes and tightens the hip flexors. The upper body begins to fold forward, shortening the front of the body. In clear terms, all we are succeeding at is bringing the nose and the knees closer together. And nobody wants that.

Unravelling this posture is not possible by just standing up (however this does help) as habitual shortening of the front of the body pulls the pelvis out of optimal alignment, even when standing.

Transferring this misalignment and weakness into the saddle creates an incredibly difficult challenge for the pelvis. Trying to maintain balance and stability when it has to constantly adjust to the horses’ movement with poor “complete” strength becomes a near impossibility.

Crunch time: how does the core work?

This network of muscles that attach to the pelvis are a complete unit. They are constantly communicating with each other and when the body is aligned and functioning correctly they are happily all speaking the same language.

The muscles of the lower back, who have been assigned the role of the strongest member of the team, dictate the conversation. When these muscles are switched on and strong, their communication (via spinal stabilisation) tells the abdominal muscles to switch on at the level of strength required. That is a key piece of information. If the body is working correctly, the lower back fires up and provides intelligence to the abdominal corset on how strong it needs to be. It is the conductor of the orchestra, the CEO, the captain of the ship. You get the idea. It’s the boss.

Unfortunately, when the lower back musculature is weak and abused from poor movement, it cannot stabilise the spine and therefore cannot direct the rest of the core muscles into their roles.

Targeting the front of the body (standard “core” training) without looking after the posterior muscles, is similar to communicating vital statistics on a phone with poor signal. Information is lost and the result is unsatisfactory.

Without the leadership of the lower back, targeting the front part of the core becomes purely an exercise in shortening the abdominals whilst closing the gap between the vertebrae of the lumbar spine, which ultimately means damage and pain.

The message here is that the lower back needs to be the first one on the list of priorities. When we are able to align and strengthen this area, the abdominals at the front and sides of the body are able to switch on and carry out their supportive roles with the appropriate level of tension.

Continued below…

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The hips

The function of the hips forms a massive part of this story of looking at the “complete core”.

The muscles below the pelvis, particularly the glutes and hamstrings are key to the correct function of the pelvis and the hips, which is vital for the rider. In order to sit in the saddle with a long, elegant leg the rider needs to take the hip into some external rotation and extension (moving the leg towards the back of the horse), which requires the glutes and hamstrings to be firing.

The unavoidable truth is that most riders have at least one hip they wished could be traded in, and once again, we have to look at the effect of compressive living; that is a habitually seated posture that closes our hip joint and makes our butt muscles disappear.

The result is a hip that cannot move into extension (glutes weak, stretched and unable to contract) which impacts the positioning of the pelvis, the leg and the upper body in the saddle.

The hips should be the main fulcrum of the body, and treating every muscle that attaches to the pelvis as part of the core ensures that the hips start to regain some mobility.

Find out more at

Original Source File

6 horsey headaches that ‘inbetweeny weather’ brings

The changeable British weather can cause headaches for us horse owners. There’s always a time when it’s neither hot nor cold, or it can go from being one to the other in a matter of minutes. We like to use the technical term ‘inbetweeny weather’ — and here are just a few of the issues it causes horsey folk throughout the country…

Competitor seeking shelter from the rain during the East Of England Show in July 2012

1. Rugs

It might be freezing cold in the morning and at night, but by lunchtime, it’s boiling. You tend to your horse first thing but then have to go to work and this brings the nightmare of choosing which rug you should or shouldn’t put on your horse. Why hasn’t anyone invented convertible rugs for horses yet?

2. Fly masks

It’s warm and there are flies buzzing around but there’s going to be a downpour in the middle of the day. You want to put a fly mask on your horse but it will get soaked — what to do?!

3. In or out?

The weather in the morning is gorgeous and you would feel guilty if you didn’t put your horse out into the field to enjoy it, but then it’s due to pour. You don’t want your horse to stand in his stable all day, but at the same time they will be miserable if they’re stuck out in grotty weather.

4. Timing to perfection

You’re about to ride. You can see the angriest storm cloud approaching and calculate you have approximately 20 minutes before you end up getting drenched. Ready, steady, go!

5. Walking weatherman/woman

If any of your friends want to know what the weather is going to be like for the next 10 days, they know you’re the person to ask. You are a walking weatherman/woman and know exactly hour by hour what the weather Gods are going to throw at you and your horse.

Continued below…

6. What to wear?

Of course, your number one priority is your horse, but after they’re sorted, what on earth are you going to wear to ride in? You’re very chilly tacking them up, but as soon as you get into trot, you’ve broken a sweat and are wishing you’d put on a T-shirt underneath your jumper.

Original Source File

Bolesworth International celebrates 10th anniversary *Promotion*

Promotional Feature

Dressage rider and show sponsor, Anand Patel of Kingsley Equestrian, show president Nina Barbour and showjumper Trevor Breen at the launch of the dressage, showjumping and watersports event

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the show, which this year runs under title sponsorship from Equerry Horse Feeds.

The event has taken a huge journey over the past decade, from a national show held on grass to a four-star extravaganza.

2008 – In its first year, the show was held for just three days with the focus on national classes and good old-fashioned showjumping competition. The first ever Bolesworth grand prix was hotly contested with the legend that is John Whitaker taking the spoils.

2009 – Another Yorkshire-man, Paul Barker, led the grand prix charge in 2009, taking home the £6,000 first prize in a year which saw a new Country Fair element added to the show.

2010 – Always one to support a top class occasion, Nick Skelton travelled to Bolesworth to secure this year’s grand prix against tough competition. New additions to the schedule included a summer BBQ for the riders and a first Eventing grand prix.

2011 – As if 2008 wasn’t enough, John Whitaker returned to the fray to win a second grand prix title, much to the delight of his many supporters. On the eventing front, it was the turn of Express Eventing to support this element of the show.

2012 – There was a definite party atmosphere in this year with the introduction of camel racing and helicopter pleasure flights over the showground. In Jubilee and Olympic year, the team hosted a party for the village supported by Tattenhall Music Society and music from well-known tribute band Re-Take That. Highly regarded for his speed against the clock, it was Geoff Luckett who topped the grand prix.

2013 – The last year of the ‘Bolesworth Classic’ — as the show had become known — involved another four days of excellent competition and the introduction of a stallion parade, the first insight into the organising team’s vision to hold an elite auction featuring some of the very best jumping-bred bloodlines in the world.

2014 – A truly major year for the show saw the event renamed Bolesworth International. The now iconic International Arena, with its outstanding Andrews Bowen surface, propelled the show into a new and exciting era. It was also the year of the first major concert, with boy band Blue headlining. The Redrow grand prix went to a triumphant William Whitaker riding Upper Class.

2015 – With sponsorship so vital to the success of premier shows such as Bolesworth International, the team was delighted when Ashford Farm stepped in as title sponsor. This was also the year of the Scouting for Girls concert, the fun that was the Gladiators competition and we saw Nick Skelton and Scott Brash — among other top names — battle it out. It was also the year of the first elite auction with sales of the youngstock reaching almost £200,000.

2016 – This was a year when no one would have forgiven show president and founder, Nina Barbour, for calling it her ‘annus horribilus’. Torrential rain made a huge impact on the showground and the event came to a temporary halt on the Friday morning. However, with music from Atomic Kitten and Five and a massive £250,000 prize-money, there was still much to enjoy!

2017 – This year sees the launch of the new Bolesworth CDI3* international dressage, which runs on the first two days of the show, and also includes a masterclass with dressage legend Carl Hester. Visitors can also look forward to the spectacular Bolesworth International Water Festival. The Pro Wakeboard Tour will be visiting Bolesworth International on the Saturday and Sunday, bringing just a touch of diversity to this fantastic five-day lifestyle event.

Tickets can be bought online here.

Get 40% off gate prices if you pre-book your tickets online. General admission tickets are available at a pre-sale price of just £12 for the Thursday and Friday, and £20 for Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Under-12s can enjoy free admission, while a season ticket is at a not-to-be-missed pre-sale price of £40.

Original Source File

What made Nick Skelton the master horseman?

nick skelton archive image – used for gallery in issue 3rd april 2014 for pic refs

Nick Skelton’s illustrious competition record speaks for itself — two Olympic gold medals, three Hickstead Derby wins and nearly 200 team appearances are just the tip of an immense iceberg.

He has spearheaded the sport of showjumping for well over 40 years and a massive void now remains where this hugely talented horseman once stood. So what made Nick brilliant? What gave him that winning edge? His friends, family and fellow riders share their thoughts — and reveal why Nick’s greatest legacy may be to have inspired so many people along the way.

Nick Skelton and Big Star soaring to Olympic gold in Rio 2016 — the first British showjumper to win the individual title

Riding Airbourne to land the Lincolnshire Area Trial in 1986

Nick won the Hickstead Derby three times in a row — twice on the mighty Apollo

Flying into the bronze medal position at the 2011 European Championships in Madrid riding Carlo 273

Breaking the British high jump record at Olympia in 1978 riding Lastic

Topping the podium at the London Olympics in 2012 alongside Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles

Winning the first of four grands prix at Spruce Meadows, Canada, in 1985 on St James

Nick represented his country nearly 200 times

Riding Dollar Girl — one of Nick’s all-time favourites — at Olympia in 1995

Arko III — the horse that brought him out of retirement after his ‘hangman’s break’ in 2000

Another sensational victory — this time on Major Wager in Sweden in 1993

In 1980 on Maybe, his alternative Olympics silver medallist

Nick with Eric Lamaze, Canada’s Olympic bronze medallist in Rio

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing riding Russel

You can read the full story with an exclusive interview and a poignant trip down memory lane in Horse & Hound’s special Nick Skelton souvenir tribute issue, out today (18 May 2017)

Original Source File

Police hunt driver who ‘used his van as a weapon’ in collision with horses

From left: Megan Abbott, Betty Baker, Louise Abbott and Sally Baker

Police are trying to trace a driver who “used his van as a weapon” as he drove into a group of horses and riders, hitting two of them.

Sally Baker was one of the group riding on a single-track lane in Corley, Warwickshire, on Sunday (14 May).

She told H&H the riders asked the driver to wait.

“I could see he was coming quite fast so I asked him politely to slow down and pointed at a pull-in place, about 50 yards away,” she said. “I thought at one point he was slowing down, but then he made an ‘F-off’ gesture – and just drove straight through us like dominoes.”

Sally’s leg was badly bruised where it was caught by the van and another of the horses was hit but all escaped serious injury.

The incident was reported to West Midlands Police and officers are trying to find the driver concerned.

“He had no facial expression; he just carried on driving through us,” Sally said.

“My friend Louise was behind me, desperately trying to get out of the way and shouting: ‘Please stop, please stop’.

“Behind her were the kids – he was heading straight for my daughter Betty. She was quick-thinking and managed to get the horse to relative safety, and pushed Megan away from the van, but he clipped her horse too and drove off at speed. It was quite horrific; I can’t believe someone in his right mind would do such a thing.”

Sally said she heard from another two riders that minutes before the incident, a driver thought to be the same one was behind them, revving his engine and “trying to ram them”.

“He must have got annoyed with them, so he wasn’t going to wait for us,” she said.

“I think it needs highlighting that he used his van as a weapon. We got the numberplate so hopefully he’ll be caught; he needs to be caught.

“He intended to hurt us and do damage. Thank god for the horses; they were all incredibly calm and well-behaved.

“Luck was on our side. It could have been, and probably should have been, a lot worse. Someone was looking after us that day.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting as reference log 1919 of 14/5.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File