Thetford horse riders take stand against inconsiderate motorists

Thetford Pass Wide and Slow Event

The 'Pass Wide and Slow' event took place in Thetford on Sunday - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography

Horse riders in Thetford have taken a stand against inconsiderate motorists through an organised ride calling on drivers to 'pass wide and slow.'

Seventeen horses and their riders, along with five cyclists and eight runners took part in the event on September 26, travelling in a circular route from Melford Common.

Organiser Leah Wooderson, 32, was inspired to arrange the protest ride after hearing several stories of near misses from fellow horse riders, and from hearing about similar events in other parts of the country. 

Thetford Pass Slow and Wide Event

17 horse riders, eight runners and five cyclists took part in the event - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography

Miss Wooderson, from Rushford, said: "I think we all need to have respect for each other on the roads. They don’t belong to one person or another, we all need to work together to make them a safer environment for everyone.

"I know a few people who have had horrible accidents on horses, and I wanted to help raise awareness of road safety for horse riders and other vulnerable road users."

Thetford Pass Wide and Slow event

Police helped escort the riders safely during the event - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography

Recently, Norfolk police reported that 46pc of people seriously injured or killed on Norfolk roads were vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, horse riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists. 

Miss Wooderson had a close-call herself recently.

"Where we live on the outskirts of Thetford in Rushford, people drive way too fast and close to horses. We nearly had a head-on collision with a BMW the other day. The driver was talking to their son and didn’t even see us until the last minute.

Pass Wide and Slow Thetford ride

The ride set off from Melford Common and went on a circular route past Nuns' Bridges - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography

Most Read

Miss Wooderson believes it is a lack of awareness that is the main cause of accidents.

"I don’t think it's a matter of people being horrible, it's people not knowing how to pass safely. Horses can spook easily and things can change very quickly, with horses jumping from one side of the road to the other and that is where accidents happen."

Thetford Pass Wide and Slow

Another 'Pass Wide and Slow' event is planned to take place next year on September 18 - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography

After the success of the event, plans are already in place for another ride next year, which is scheduled for September 18 2022. 

The British Horse Society advises motorists to slow down and be prepared to stop when encountering a horse on the road, and only pass when a rider signals or when safe to do so. 

Pas Wide and Slow event Thetford

The event was sponsored by Turner Funerals and Shield Safetywear. - Credit: Neil Coomber-Webb/Thetford Photography