Horses on Courses

Now, I've done a few races in my time and met most of the usual 'obstacles' - traffic, congestion caused by too many runners on narrow roads etc, but today I was confronted by a runaway horse.  The beast seemed pretty big and was first seen trotting down the middle of quite a busy road flanked by a string of several hundred runners on the left and one or two motorists heading in the other direction.

The 'owner' of the horse appeared from a side road just infront of me and started shouting at the several hundred runners to turn back.  'Stop being so f***ing selfish' was her cry.  'Somebody do something!'  So my question is 'what on earth shoud we all have done'?  Perhaps we were being selfish in not stopping, but to be honest the horse would probably have carried on anyway since the front runners were probably about 15 minutes ahead of us by then.  I, for one, would not want to go anywhere near a horse, let alone one that had most likely been spooked.

So what happened next?  Well about a quarter of a mile further on, one hardy soul had abandoned all hope of a PB and stopped to calm the animal by the side of the road.  Many of us ran past, perhaps a little slowly, before the horse then decided to start racing again at which point it started making it's way towards the front.  A little later it was somehow coralled into the grounds of a large house at which point another runner managed to shut the gates much to the annoyance of the householder.  'Oi you, you cannot leave your horse here'.......  'Sorry mate, it's not my horse, see ya later!'  

Anyway, back to my original question - 'What would you have done, and what should we have done? 



  • I know what I would have done but I have a horse and would know what is expected and what to do .....

    The owner was probably a tad distressed and would not have thought that anyone would not have an idea and was likely not a runner and would not know how a runner works either

    Horse are flight animals and will run away from scary things ....  
  • I guess it's also a bit of a moral question.  It would probably have been morally the right thing for us all to stop, but on the other hand unless we had all stopped, and remember there were a few hundred of us, the horse would probably have carried on.  No doubt some were far more inteested in a PB than the welfare of a horse.

    And incidentally, how do you know I look scary in a pair of running shorts?image

  • educated guess   image
  • I think people should stop - just because you are in a race doesn't mean you can carry on and possibly put the horse rider at risk.    I can understand the temptation to carry on and I might have done myself if I was on for a pb but I think the right thing to do is stop.  

    We had a similar stituation with two riders and our club bike race a couple of months back - the bunch had to stop meaning those that had got past went on to contest the win and everyone else was out of contention but it's better than a horse rider being thrown. 

  • A horse loose?

    I would have run away... which is kind of the point I suppose.

  • Stopped and done what exactly? The nearest I've ever been to a horse is the gallopers at the fairgound. What do you think my stopping in such a circumstance would have added to the situation?
  • Stopped him from being more frightened and running .....

    If you stand still generally they will do the same
  • I'm not around horses everyday - I would have run away... and wondered if the owner could be fined for allowing a dangerous animal loose on the roads......
  • Interesting thoughts.  Thanks for that.  Just to clarify - there was no rider to be thrown.  The horse was on its own. 
  • Even without a rider the best thing to do is to stand still and try and not frighten it.

    It's an animal after all and you can't predict what it is going to do.

  • Difficult to know what I would've done without being there but quite honestly, probably would've carried on running but given the horse as wide a berth as possible.  If 'several hundred' runners were in the vicinity I'm not sure what a unilateral standing still would have achieved.  If I were to do anything other than carrying on with the race it would've been with a view to my own safety rather than the state of mind of the horse.
  • I think you're right Phil.

    As far as I'm aware, everything ended well and said horse will have been retrieved unscathed but I have been wondering since what would have happened if...............the horse had really got spooked by the runners and been injured? - Would the race organisers have had any liability?  What if any of the runners had been injured, or the horse had damaged one of the cars? - Is the horse owner liable? What if the horse had run amok in its temporary home? - Is there any blame attached to the runner who put him there?

    You probably won't give this half as much thought as I have, and why should you, but in the litiguous world in which we live the possibilities must be endlessimage.

  • M...eldy wrote (see)
    Horse are flight animals and will run away from scary things ....  
    Never get to ride yours then, eh Meldy?
  • Last year I was out riding, and came up behind 2 horses, I don;t have a bell, so I slowed, went on the wrong side of the road and from a decent distance shouted "Behind".. and went slowly past with out any undue flapping and motion..... I got a right load of swearing (2 middle aged women) I was shocked, About 3 miles further on  2 more women, so I went on the wrong side of the road, stopped pedalling etc so no undue motion and guess what ? I right load of swearing cos I hadn't shouted !

    So sorry folks, If you are on the road and on your horse, it is your responsability to control it (My daughter in law who rides dressage at a decent level and has 3 horses agrees), But suggests I continue to shout bike or some such

  • Funnily enough, we went past a horse today at the Preston 10. there was man sat on its back, and it didnt look at all bothered by the runners going past.

    I'd say any damage done by a loose horse is wholly down to the owner, or whoever let it loose - a bit like the way I'm reswponsible for my dog

  • Kicked-It wrote (see)

    Funnily enough, we went past a horse today at the Preston 10. there was man sat on its back, and it didnt look at all bothered by the runners going past.

    I'd say any damage done by a loose horse is wholly down to the owner, or whoever let it loose - a bit like the way I'm reswponsible for my dog

    That came up in last weeks Telegraph Motoring section.. Th ehorse can't be held responsable, and you cant claim off the rider. So even if it destroys your car it's tough
  • Im assuming that word "rider" is the clue in that. Is the Telegraph saying that if a rider loses control of a horse he cant be held responsible? Bit different from a negligent owner failing to keep it secured in its field etc, and it getting out and causing havoc, kicking over bins and drinking alcopops round the back of the shops. 
  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
    That came up in last weeks Telegraph Motoring section.. The horse can't be held responsable, and you can't claim off the rider. So even if it destroys your car it's tough

    My brother-in-law was out walking his dog, which decided to bolt out in front of an articulated lorry.  As you can imagine the dog was totally destroyed and my b-i-l emotionally and physically sick at what he had just witnessed.  A couple of weeks later he got a letter through the door demanding he pay X amount of £s for damage caused to the lorry by his dog, he sought legal advice and was told that as he was the dogs owner he was in fact liable and to pay the bill for damages. Was a couple of years ago so things may have changed slightly.

  • Yes, the horse owner/rider could be held liable ...I am not up on civil law

    that said, someone could have let it out of the field,  someone else could have been in charge ... and at the end of the day it is an animal with a mind of its own and most of them have a habit of doing exactly what they damn well please  image

    A run route or a group of runners run the risk in the country of meeting whatever the countryside can throw at them from herds of cows/sheep, the local hunt or a fleet of combines,  you deal with what you have to the best of your advantage or safety ... IMO 
  •  Sorry guys last weeks paper is pretty clear...

    Scanned it in as a photo (was still in the re-cycling)

    In UK law the horse can do no wrong,
  • Please god dont tell mine that

    I have spent 20 years telling him the opposite


    Try that might blow up bigger
  • Horses can do no wrong but to some degree owners can and have to be liable.........surely.

    Also I now have an image in my head of some unfaithful/money grabbing husband/wife telling the police that the horse stood on the shotgun and blew his/her wifes/husbands head off. 

  • I doubt it would have got such prominence if it wasn't true ?
  • Sorry, Dave, I can't read it.

    I'm a townie. All I know about horses is that 1 end bites and 1 end kicks image. In a situation like this I would prolly slow down (if such a thing were actually possible) and give the horse a wide berth, for my own safety. I certainly wouldn't be attempting any heroics like trying to catch the thing!

  • If you double click it it gets bigger (Oooerrrr)
  • Still not big enough for my poor old eyes though!
  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
    If you double click it it gets bigger (Oooerrrr)
    If only it were that simple image
  • Heard about this this morning - it was shut in the garden before I got past. Lucky escape I'd say!! She (the horse owner) is blooming lucky there WAS a race on and the traffic was "calmed" - any normal Saturday on that road and that horse would have been t-boned by a wagon (and probably a couple of family saloons along with it!!)
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