A RIDER has spoken of her anger after a van driver spooked her horse, causing him to fall on top of her.
Rebecca Boyle, 19, and horse Neo were left battered and bruised after the driver blared his horn continuously as they crossed the Queen Alexandra Bridge at 4.15pm on Friday.
Rebecca, from Thorney Close, said the van driver seemed to become frustrated after being stuck behind a car that wouldn’t overtake her horse.
“I always use this bridge and the drivers are always very patient and understanding, and I always thank them for being so patient,” Rebecca told the Echo.
“I was trotting and was correctly dressed with my hi-viz gear on.
“The man in the van was blaring his horn the whole way across and the horse stayed calm although he tried to speed up to get away from the noise.
“There was a car behind me and a white transit van with ladders on behind him who was getting frustrated because the blue car wouldn’t overtake.
“He came to the end of the bridge and the van had sped up behind us still beeping and he’s either seriously spooked the horse or clipped his back end causing him to lose his footing and fall right over on top of me. The van just sped off toward Sunderland city centre.
“I just remember the horse falling on top of me and thinking that I had to get him off the road so he didn’t cause an accident,” Rebecca said. It all happened so fast I was more bothered about the safety of the horse.”
Neo, a Friesian , is a big horse at 17.2 hands, and although Rebecca was not seriously injured, she spent the night in hospital having X-rays on her neck.
She said: “We are both OK. Neo is still very stiff and has some cuts and grazes on his legs and he is a bit shy of white vans, but I’ll just have to encourage him and keep him going. My knee is cut and grazed and has some fluid build up off the fall and I have bruises all over. I’ve experienced a lot of neck pain having to take pain killers. Luckily this is all, but it could have been a lot worse.”
“I’m just so angry,” she added. “I couldn’t believe how awful people can actually be. It wasn’t as if I was going slow because I was trotting and Neo can go at quite a speed.”
Rebecca is now hoping someone might have taken down the registration number of the white van and that of a blue estate car, which she said it passed her at some speed.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “At 6.45pm on Friday, April 11, police were informed a woman riding a horse on Queen Alexandra Bridge had been thrown from the horse after it had been startled by a vehicle. Enquiries are being carried out to identify the vehicle to establish whether any offences have been committed.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 extension 69191 quoting incident 1048 of April 11.”