'They nearly killed me': Rider left shaken after cyclists hit horse
- Credit: Carolyn Tuck
A Bricket Wood horse rider has been left "scared" and "frightened" in light of antisocial and "unempathetic" behaviour from cyclists using the bridleways in and around the water meadows.
Last weekend, Carolyn Tuck, 62, was riding her 20-year-old horse between Blackbirds Farm and the water meadows at Bricket Wood, where she was met by a group of six cyclists, travelling towards her at full speed on a blind bend.
One of the cyclists hit the horse, which resulted in Carolyn being bucked off the horse's back as the horse jumped a hedge and high barbed wire fence.
Other horses traveling with Carolyn were freaked by the experience. In the aftermath Carolyn's horse bolted home, leaving her to pick herself up and stagger back behind her, in an incident that left them both with physical and mental cuts and bruises.
"They nearly killed me," Carolyn told the Herts Ad. "They came around this bend and crashed into me and my horse. My horse chucked me over the hedge and left me for dead.
"They carried on, and one bloke couldn't get past. My friends all bolted off and disappeared on the horizon, and I was staggering down the hill - semi-conscious - and this guy is saying 'Can I get past you?'.
"They came around the blind corner at 20mph, on gravel and didn't even anticipate that something could be coming around the corner. It could've been a post office van, a child... anything. But they hit me on my horse."
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Carolyn commented that many cyclists in the area are "naïve" and "so focused", and highlighted the need for education surrounding sharing roads, bridleways and footpaths with other users.
And this isn't the first time an incident of this nature has happened to Carolyn. Just two months ago, a similar accident occurred when a leaf blower was pointed in her horse's face under the fence of a golf course.
"It's really awful. And what really worries me is that I could've been killed, and they wouldn't've bothered.
"They just don't care."
Carolyn added that gaggles of cyclists - sometimes in groups of up to 30 people - come to the area where she keeps her horses at all hours, including at 2am.
During these small hours, cyclists have been seen climbing fences and wading through knee-deep floodwater with their bikes. The flashing cycling lights, whether it's light or dark, can easily spook horses.
"They must be desperate for entertainment," she said, remarking the unusual hours that people visit the area.
The cyclists, whom Carolyn has branded "unruly", have also been known to take signs off the footpaths where cycling is signposted to be off limits.
"They're so focused. They just don't care. Most cyclists are fairly good and kind."
She added: "I don't want to punish good cyclists, I just want them to be aware to not treat horses like they are machines."
Voicing both her and her horse's fears when heading out in light of the incident, she said that she's been left praying that nobody comes around the corner.
"It's frightening. We are overwhelmed."
"All my horse friends, and everybody around here thinks it could've happened to them."
Carolyn continued to state that people in the crowds have come from as far as London and Aylesbury, regardless of the current 'Stay at Home' rules enforced by the government.
She said: "They come to see me catch my horses in, and they feed them; I've had one horse go into hospital because it was fed a sandwich."
After her terrible ordeal, Carolyn hopes to make other users of rural footpaths and bridleways more aware of others who frequent them, and noted some positive experiences she has had along the way.
"Every child that I meet on a bike, I stop and ask them if they could be kind, because horses can't see behind them, and just say 'bike coming'? The number of little kids that do it are great.
"But it's the parents that are the problem, not the kids."