Fenland rider supports cheeky road safety campaign

Emma Openshaw with her horse Welt Star PICTURe mlnf15pm08179
Emma Openshaw with her horse Welt Star PICTURe mlnf15pm08179

A Fenland rider is backing a cheeky campaign to encourage drivers to slow down while passing horses on the roads.

Emma Openshaw and her top horse Welt Star have done their bit for the Slow Down for My Horse campaign.

Riders across the country have been stripping off and posting their pictures online with the #willyouslowdownformenow. The campaign was launched by 19-year-old Lauren De Grucy, from Jersey.

Miss Openshaw, a professional dressage rider and trainer, decided to get involved with the campaign after witnessing a crash which left a horse with a severe spinal injury.

The Marshland St James rider said: “While I’m hacking around here, I’ve noticed that most drivers are really considerate.

“But there is a small percentage who are not and it is mainly works traffic going too fast.

“Horses are not machines. It takes drivers five seconds to slow down but it would take much longer to wipe myself and my horse off the road.”

The British Horse Society is lobbying the Government to improve the safety of 3.5 million horse riders in the country.

Between April 2011 and March 2012, more than 4,000 horse riders and carriage drivers were taken to hospital with an injury following a transport incident.

Miss Openshaw, who runs Big Black Pony Dressage, said: “Horses can be unpredictable, like a child, and you are better off giving them plenty of room and driving slowly.

“If a horse is spooked, it is going to jump away from the vehicle and the problem we have in this area is that there are a lot of dykes.”

Miss Openshaw, a member of the Eastern region dressage team, has reflected her discipline by wearing her boots and white gloves in the pictures which were taken at her home on Friday.

The 32-year-old said: “It was nerve-racking but it is for a good cause.

“I think it is a really good campaign and Lauren’s idea will attract people’s attention. With some drivers it is a lack of education and hopefully this will enlighten them. Others are just pig ignorant.”

Miss Openshaw and her 14-year-old Danish warmblood represented the Eastern region in British Dressage’s inter-regional championship in May.