Pomona Pony Club member Johanna Lister-Smith says some motorists abuse her when she rides her horse, Andy, next to the road.
Pomona Pony Club member Johanna Lister-Smith says some motorists abuse her when she rides her horse, Andy, next to the road. John Mccutcheon

Rider fears dangerous drivers

HORSE riding is Johanna Lister-Smith’s “life” – but now she fears it could be the end of her.

Ms Lister-Smith, 21, is forced to regularly endure what she describes as “arrogant, impatient and dangerous” drivers while riding her old horse Andy along Pomona-Kin Kin Road.

She said motorists swerved at her, yelled “foul comments”, honked their horns and even threw objects at her.

A passenger in one car recently tried to grab her reins as the vehicle passed.

The Pomona Pony Club member has run this gauntlet of abuse twice a month for the past decade while travelling to train and compete at the Pomona Showgrounds.

She has to endure the nightmare trip to the showgrounds and back home again because she cannot afford to buy a car and horse float.

“Unfortunately, it is becoming very hard due to the lack of respect from motorists,” Ms Lister-Smith said. “On my last outing, nearly every second car was putting myself and my horse in danger.

“Parts of the road are very hard for me to get off the road, but I try my best to get off, even if it means riding through grass that is taller than my 15-hand horse.

“And I understand that motorists can’t always give me room due to oncoming traffic, et cetera, but they could at least slow down.”

Ms Lister-Smith, who was recently hospitalised for a week after being kicked in the stomach by a horse, said other horse owners in the area had experienced similar incidents.

She said even the quietest horse, like 26-year-old Andy, could get spooked and “one day someone is going to get seriously hurt”.

Ms Lister-Smith beseeched motorists to tame their aggression.

“It says in the learner’s manual to give way to animals,” she said.

“They’re just too arrogant. They think they’re road users and have more rights than I do.”

“It says in the learner’s manual to give way to animals. They think they’re road users and have more rights than I do.”


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