Careless Driver Causes Devastating Loss of Much Loved Pony

Careless Driver Causes Devastating Loss of Much Loved Pony

This heartbreaking story is one that all riders of Great Britain will no doubt admit is their greatest fear when they take to the roads on their treasured horses. It is the story of Katie, a beloved Welsh pony owned by Laura Grant, a resident of Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and the terrible accident that could have been avoided but instead led to Katie’s untimely death.

On 2nd April 2023, Laura and her young friend, Ellie, decided to take a carriage ride with Katie the Welsh Pony and her good companion, Billy the Cob. Laura was driving the carriage pulled by Katie and Ellie was riding Billy at the back. Both animals were excited to be going out again after another long, wet winter. The pair had carefully planned their route, being aware that a carriage and horse had recently been knocked down locally by a vehicle, causing serious injury to the pony, occupants and carriage and so they avoided that area for their own safety.

The riders had thoughtfully kitted up with high viz jackets, three sets of lights on the back of the carriage, and lights on Billy who was riding behind the carriage. Ellie wore a light signalling vest and they had three cameras covering all traffic approaching from the front and rear of them.  

On leaving the yard, Katie was pawing at the ground, eager to get going. They set off safely but almost immediately, Laura had to signal to an oncoming vehicle to slow down. Then, approaching another road, a car overtook them when an oncoming vehicle was heading in their direction. Continuing up the road, both ponies were happy and forward going; Laura and Ellie agreed how nice it was to be out and about again after the long winter months.


A motorbike approached and they made room for it to pass safely, the rider was respectful and waved his thanks and Laura and Ellie. Both agreed that motorcyclists are often excellent when approaching animals and riders. They carried on with traffic continuing to pass them with no problems encountered.

As they approached a bend at mudlescwm dip, a nasty camber, farm gate and hill combined, they became aware of a vehicle approaching down the hill behind them with screeching brakes which spooked Katie and Billy. After calming the horses, the riders looked around to see a Mercedes Sprinter van; the driver was keeping behind but revving the engine.

Fearing the driver was going to speed past as soon as possible, Laura told Ellie to signal to the left to pull in and let the vehicle pass, both feeling this was the safest option. Both riders indicated with their arms and Laura proceeded to walk/jog Katie to pull in. However, as they turned, the driver saw an opportunity to overtake them and noisily increased speed to get up the hill and past the horses. Tragically, the driver misjudged his manoeuvre and pulled out just as the oncoming vehicle came over the brow of the hill.

Understandably, Katie was scared by the noise and proximity of the vehicle to her and she bolted with the worst of outcomes.

To this day, Laura questions herself repeatedly why the driver could not have waited a few more seconds, then she would still have Katie, and Bill would still have his beloved companion. But, perhaps worse than this, she questions her own decisions, why she decided to pull over, why didn’t she pull harder, why did she take that route? Why wasn’t it her leg that was broken instead of Katie’s, which ultimately led to her unnecessary death.


And she is sorry – sorry that 15-year-old Ellie had to witness such a traumatic event, sorry that she decided to go out that day. But Laura should not have to carry these burdens, she was not at fault for this terrible accident, the type of accident which occurs only too often on our roads because of impatient drivers with little or no respect for other types of road user.

Laura gives thanks too – to the passerby who immediately stopped and helped them and provided a witness statement, to her best friend Sandra who immediately came to their rescue, and their neighbours, Emma, Rhian and David, who came as soon as asked. She also thanks the attending Vet, the emergency services and the paramedic ladies, all of whom were compassionate and supportive.

And Laura gives this message:

To those who since this accident have said that if I want to ride out or carriage drive I should choose quieter roads, well No we have the right to law abidingly be on the roads, our yard is one mile along this road, we had not even reached the first available bridleway or quiet lane. It is not about how quiet roads are its about respect, care, patience, and abiding by simple guidelines set out in the Highway code”. 

Pass wide and slow 

Do not pull away at speed 

Be prepared to stop 

Wait until it is safe to pass 

This story is not about an isolated, unusual situation, as riders know only too well. A Pass Wide and Slow awareness ride is being held on 14/15th September 2024 in memory of Katie and to raise awareness of how to safely pass horses who are using the roads. It takes place at SA7 4EF, Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire.  Laura will be ride number 149 in memory of her beloved Katie.

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