Owners' grief as 'lovely' horse Ruby cut in half by trailer
THE owner of a horse that died in an horrific accident is campaigning to make motorists more aware of riders on the roads.
Seven-year-old mare Ruby had to be put down at the scene after suffering extensive injuries in the incident at Bignall End, near Newcastle.
The driver of a Toyota pick-up truck, which was towing a flatbed trailer, is understood to have been overtaking three horses when the collision happened on Monday evening.
Ruby was at the front of the group and was struck by the trailer in Bignall End Road.
The woman riding her was left traumatised, but was not seriously hurt. None of the other horses are thought to have been injured.
Nicky Allen, whose family owned the horse, today urged road users to take extra care when encountering horses.
The 34-year-old, from Knypersley, said: "Every time you go out on the roads, there are at least two other people who put your life in danger.
"Some of the worst examples you find are motorists taking their kids to school and in a rush. There needs to be more awareness of horses on the roads."
The horse had been on loan to another experienced rider, who kept the animal in stables near Bignall End and regularly exercised her on roads and bridleways.
Nicky said: "They had just set out to go riding when it happened. Horses can be unpredictable, but Ruby was so good on the roads. This has knocked me for six. I've never seen anything like it."
The accident happened shortly before 6.45pm and led to the road being closed for up to two hours.
Nicky, who received a call from the horse rider, added: "The horse had been severed in half. I've never seen so much blood. The paramedics had covered the horse with a blanket. Other motorists had also put their jumpers on top of her to try to stop the bleeding. They were absolutely brilliant.
"But Ruby was bleeding to death. A vet was called out and gave her an injection to put her to sleep."
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "The horse was seriously injured and had to be put down by a vet at the scene. No one else was injured. Our inquiries are continuing."
Wenslie Naylon, chairman of Newcastle Borough Council's equestrian forum, today backed the calls for greater public awareness of the safety risks to horses and their riders.
She said: "This tragic accident is absolutely heartbreaking. It is so important for drivers to give horses a wide berth go past slowly. "A horse has got a mind of its own and can get spooked. Horse riders should also wear hi-visibility vests."
Horse enthusiasts are currently pushing for more off-road riding tracks and bridleways across the borough, so they are less reliant on using roads.
Wenslie added: "We are also campaigning for quiet off-road areas to be linked up."
A Newcastle equestrian strategy has estimated there are more than 2,500 adults and 5,000 young people who ride in the borough on a regular basis.
Across Staffordshire, only 15 per cent of the 2,700 square miles of public rights of way are designated as bridleways. Both Newcastle and the Moorlands have fewer bridleways than other parts of the county.