Horse rider’s road rage

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A local horse riding instructor feels like she’s risking her life every time she rides along the grass verge of Malaghans Road.

Ashley Robb is pleading with road users to slow down and be more considerate of horse riders.

“Any time that you ride down the road you basically feel like you’re going to die.”

On Monday, her horse spooked and, for the first time in the past 11 years, she hit the deck while riding along the verge of Malaghans Rd – where the speed limit is 100kmh.

As she lay on the ground, vehicles continued to “speed past at like 120k” – a frequent sight no matter the circumstances, she says.

Luckily her friend was there to grab her horse and help her back up.

Robb’s doing everything by the book, yet people aren’t changing their ways.

With the aid of Queenstown’s council, Robb had two yellow horse signs erected on the stretch of road she rides on, she always wears a high-vis vest, only ever rides on the grass verge, and shows her appreciation to drivers who slow down.

“I feel it’s not that people are rude, I think it’s that people just don’t even know how to drive around horses.”

She doesn’t want to stop riding along the road as it leads to Queenstown’s only ‘horses only’ trail, leased from the council by the Wakatipu Riding Club, which Robb is vice-president of, and the club’s grounds.

But, in fear, she’s starting to ride the road less and less.

Ideally she’d like drivers to slow down to at least 50kmh and give horses as much room as possible, for the brief moment they drive past.

She’s also asking drivers not to honk their horns while zooming past.

“If the horse got a fright, there’s potential that it could spook on to the road … and if you hit a horse it’s not just the rider that’s gonna die, you’re gonna die too.”

mandy.cooper@scene.co.nz