Mother's plea to drivers after daughter thrown from pony on country road

Millie, left, and Lottie Goodliffe were riding their ponies when Lottie was thrown from her saddle. 

Millie, left, and Lottie Goodliffe were riding their ponies when Lottie was thrown from her saddle. - Credit: Supplied by Elizabeth Goodliffe

Motorists have been urged to take more care when passing horses on country roads after an eight-year-old was thrown from her saddle. 

Elizabeth Goodliffe was out riding along Eagle Road in the north Norfolk village of Erpingham with daughters Lottie, eight, and Millie, 10, when they were approached from behind by a pick-up truck just after 11am on February 13. 

Mrs Goodliffe said: "We were riding through an area with traffic calming measures, so there wasn't enough room for a car to go past us. [The driver] revved his engine, which spooked Lottie's pony and it shot forward. She lost control and fell off.

"We're very fortunate she landed on the snow. She had a body protector and a hat on which took a lot of the impact." 

Millie's pony was also spooked, and carried her off in pursuit. They soon ended up back at home in the nearby village of Calthorpe, followed by Lottie - who was not badly hurt - on foot.

Sisters Lottie, Pippa and Millie Goodliffe regularly ride their ponies around Calthorpe in north Norfolk.

Sisters Lottie, Pippa and Millie Goodliffe regularly ride their ponies around Calthorpe in north Norfolk. - Credit: Supplied by Elizabeth Goodliffe

Mrs Goodliffe said the pick-up truck driver then "turned around and drove off" without stopping to check on the girls.

"He absolutely knew what happened," she said. 

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Mrs Goodliffe said the incident should be a reminder for people to take care when approaching horses on roads.

She said: "We're out and about quite a bit and most people are brilliant, but now and again you do get someone who doesn't understand how horses behave and can cause something like this without even realising it. 

"A lot of people don't know what to expect when going past horses and don't understand they can behave unpredictably.

"I don't think anyone sets out to harm a child, but she was lucky in this case to get away without very serious injury.

"But she's been extremely brave and has got out riding again since then."

The British Horse Society has said the number of reported incidents involving horses and vehicles has been increasing. 

Its advice for motorists when passing is to slow down to a maximum of 15mph, be patient, pass wide and slow, leaving at least a car's width, and drive away slowly. 

Incidents can be reported online at www.bhs.org.uk

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