Bellefontaine Examiner

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Motorists should respect equestrians

This past weekend I had the pleasure of riding as an outrider for an equestrian group called the “Central Ohio Wagoneers.” We traveled a planned route through a portion of the beautiful Logan County countryside by horse-drawn vehicle and horseback. It was a good eighteen and a half mile ride through Zanesfield, Marmon Valley, Middleburg and back to Zanesfield, in spite of the rain and cold.

The outriders serve the wagons in the wagon train as safety riders. Their job is to ride the front and rear of the procession to alert traffic to the many horses and wagons on the roadway and allow vehicle traffic to pass in a safe manner. I thank the entire considerate motoring public who slowed down and stopped for the outriders and the wagon train.

During these rides though, there is sometimes one “jack***” operating a motor vehicle that passes the wagon train and wants to have angry words with an outrider. Saturday was one of those days. There was a car approaching the wagon train in the opposite direction and not slowing down. The driver acted as though they were not even paying attention or did not care. The outrider was waving a red flag attempting to get the driver’s attention and yelled to the car to “slow down” as it passed. A second car being operated by one of these “jack*****” was following that first fast moving car. The second car stopped, the operator began to yell at the outrider, telling him he could not talk to his mother that way and he began to lean outside the car, waving his arm and pointing his finger in a threatening manner, he even acted as though he was going to strike at the horse. This display of bad behavior was uncalled for.

Nothing derogatory was said to the first car by the outrider and nothing was said to cause this type of behavior from any motorist. The outrider tried to apologize and tell the guy he was simply trying to get the person operating the car ahead of him to slow down. This guy continued to be confrontational and did not want to listen to any explanation. The outrider turned his horse away from the “jack***” in disbelief. The guy then said to the outrider “who do you think you are?” “You are just a horse rider” and then sped off. The confrontational driver was right; we were just “horse riders.” But, we had just as much right to the roadway as he did.

If you ever come upon and pass an equestrian, also known as a “horse rider” while you are driving down the road, please be courteous enough to slow down. It is not just a matter of courtesy, it is the law. You may prevent someone from being injured or worse by showing a little courtesy and obeying the law on the highways we all share. By the way, nothing here is meant to be offensive to anyone who owns a male donkey.

Allen Shields
Horse Rider

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