PEWSEY horse riders say it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed on country roads, after a massive rise in the number of incidents involving horses and vehicles.

They want more signs to slow cars down, and an awareness campaign to remind drivers of the rules of the road.

There have been 17 reported serious road incidents in Wiltshire involving horses in the past year, four times as many as in 2018 - a figure riders feel is actually 10 times higher due to lack of reporting.

Manningford Bruce rider Jo Tucker says things are getting worse, and wants action after she was nearly mown down by a speeding van driver.

“I was riding along the stretch between Manningford Bridge and Sharcott on Hare Lane the other day. It is a straight stretch of road, but I could tell that the van driver was not slowing down. He deliberately drove at speed through a big puddle.

“I thought I was a goner. My horse is a sensible type, but he span with the shock and jumped up the bank as the van flew past and sprayed us.

“I was waving at him to slow down. He shouted back at me and told me to f*** off, and shouted ‘why should I slow down’ at me.”

She says she will now ride with a hat cam to record the drivers’ behaviour and report it, and that many horse riders in the Manningford Bruce area are now too fearful to travel the quiet country lanes. They say more and more motorists are ignoring Highway Code regulations to slow down, stop or give horses a wide berth.

“Not everyone is bad. A lovely lady in a 4x4 stopped and waited for me to get by, but more and more this is not happening,” she added. Jo’s cry for help has hit a note with other riders.

Debra Leighfield said: “I had an old lady in Burbage on Monday who revved her engine at me. She had the cheek to wind her window down and tell me she was late for an appointment. I politely pointed out she could have caused an accident. Her reply, ‘I’ve seen you out a lot, your horse is safe.’ She’s a horse and no she’s not always perfect! Some people are just too stupid!”

The British Horse Society is running a Dead Slow campaign to build awareness of the issue on country roads.

It says around five incidents involving horses and vehicles occur in the South West of England every week, causing the death of 37 horses last year.

Since November 2010 3,737 incidents have occurred on the road,43 people have lost their lives and 1085 injured, 315 horses have been killed and 945 injured

Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS, said: “It is vital to remember horses are flight animals that may move quickly away from what they perceive as a threat and the BHS encourages all road users to be courteous and patient with one another whilst sharing the roads. The British Horse Society launched its ‘Dead Slow’ campaign in a bid to educate drivers.”

“The dramatic increase in incidents is of huge concern, but we are aware that only one in 10 accidents are reported to us, therefore these figures are only the tip of the iceberg. We will continue to promote our key Dead Slow messages and strive to ensure all vulnerable road users are kept safe.”

The BHS is also currently working on a six month trial with Huufe, a new app that allows people to report incidents easily and quickly. The app allows the user to select the type of incident they were involved in whilst also recording the location and time. The app records no personal data during its trial period, therefore the BHS is still encouraging riders to continue reporting incident to its horse accidents website.