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Rider calls for better access following accident that could have seen ‘himself and his horse killed’ – Gloucestershire Live

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A horserider has called for more horse-friendly riding routes following a ‘serious’ accident that ‘could have killed him and his animal.’

Jacques de Wit was riding his Spanish stallion General along a public bridleway in Redmarley D’Abitot, north of Gloucester, when the horse became trapped between a gate post, a sandstone bank and tree.

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“For whatever reason,” Mr de Wit said, “he reared up and jumped,” causing him to fall with the metal gate post lodging against the his tummy. Mr de Wit was able to free himself but if he had fallen another way he could have been crushed.

The 65-year-old, who has been riding over 12 years, described how the accident occurred when attempting to walk through a ‘old steel gate’ on a public bridleway towards the edge of the village.

The Spanish stallion had to be sedated during the incident
(Image: Jacques de Wit)

Mr de Wit said he was able to free his leg and get away from the now-thrashing horse, but was in a ‘big panic.’

“I was effectively in shock and couldn’t use my phone. I panicked and went to get help from a nearby house but nobody answered. Finally I was able to use my phone and dialled 999 – 23 minutes later three fire crews arrived.”

He added that, despite the horse’s head being trapped where it was, it prevented him trashing around as much as he could have.

Speaking about the response from Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue, Mr de Wit said: “They were very professional.

“They were absolutely fantastic and helpful, I couldn’t fault them.”

A vet also arrived to sedate the horse, and sliding boards were used to get the horse out of the spot it was lodged in.

The horse became trapped between the gate post and a sandstone bank – with its head being stuck against the bank and a tree
(Image: Jacques de Wit)

Mr de Wit says he has been living in Redmarley for 29 years, and only had two previous incidents in that time.

He would like to see a more accessible gate replace the current one, which he claims ‘looks like it is 100 years old.’

“It’s a gate with a sliding bolt that is impossible to use on horseback. It only swings open one way, it is dangerous. It should at least be a gate that goes both ways.”

“In my mind the gate doesn’t serve a purpose, there is no need for it -there are no livestock. We need a horse friendly gate,” he said.

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Mr de Wit said General is recovering well following the incident. He has a bruise to his front right leg, and to the left, as well as two little cuts and a cut on his lip.

He added General will be taking a break for a little while until he is back out for walks.

He said that he phoned Gloucestershire County Council the day after the incident, on Monday, but 72 hours later had not heard a response.

In an effort to possibly prevent any more incidents, Mr de Wit said he tied the gate up himself but upon his return the next day found it had been cut and the gate was again closed.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue crews assist at the scene
(Image: Jacques de Wit)

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: “We are aware of the incident and have contacted the rider involved.

“We will be visiting the site to check the safety of the gate and to see if anything can be done to improve access for riders.”

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