Horse community rallies together to raise awareness for road safety

Anna Featherstone with 26-year-old horse Toby.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Anna Featherstone with 26-year-old horse Toby.

West Auckland's horse community is taking part in a nationwide ride to raise awareness for horse safety on roads.

Swanson resident Anna Featherstone had organised the Taupaki ride that would take place on May 20 at 10am, as would the other 13 rides around the country.

"The idea is that we raise awareness of what to do when you see a horse and a rider on the road," she said.

Anna Featherstone will ride Toby at the Ride for Road Safety event in Taupaki on May 20.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Anna Featherstone will ride Toby at the Ride for Road Safety event in Taupaki on May 20.

They were also lobbying to have the law changed so that drivers would need to slow down to 20kmh and give a 2-metre-wide berth when driving past a horse.

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Ride for Road Safety had only come together in the past six weeks and was prompted by a car accident in Dairy Flat that killed a horse, she said.

Anna Featherstone said drivers often do no know how to react when there are horses on the road.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Anna Featherstone said drivers often do no know how to react when there are horses on the road.

The accident caused a "great deal of concern" within the horse community and she jumped at the chance to be involved.

"It's something that I'm really passionate about."

Featherstone said she had been riding for more than 40 years and a great deal of it had been on roads.

"I did a big horse trek from Queenstown up to Nelson at one point and I had to do a fair amount of road riding on that. I've been on the roads, I know what it's like to be on the roads," she said.

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"You get the few that don't even register that you are on a horse. They are the people we need to get across to." 

Featherstone said she knew of people who have had their stirrups knocked by wing mirrors because people drive too close.

"It's just totally not safe."

The Taupaki ride would start at Redhills Pony Club and travel around Taupaki for about 5.8 kilometres until they were back at the pony club, the 46-year-old said.

The ride would take about 90 minutes.

While more than 1000 riders might participate nationwide, Featherstone said she hoped more than 50 would ride in Taupaki.

They would be single-file down the road in groups of about three so drivers could get past, she said.

"Nothing of this kind [has] ever happened here before and it's very exciting. I know there are a lot of riders out there that are just delighted and they are so on board."

 - Stuff

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