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Even “safe” bridleway gates are dangerous

If you have an accident, you MUST report it

It had to happen. Lottie, an eight-year-old Welsh Section D X Arab, has just suffered a 10 inch long 3 - 4 inch deep gash on her lower chest, lost three layers of muscle and left chunks of fur, flesh and blood behind on the catch of a so-called safe metal gate, which swings both ways to make it easier for riders to open and close.

Not only did she tear her chest on the catch as she was going through the gate she also tore the flesh even more as she pulled back and tried to free herself.

The result: a 1 ½ hour operation, over 20 stitches, a scar measuring 7 inches X 7 inches, two-weeks box-rest, a long, slow recovery and – Who knows? – maybe a terrifying fear of gates for the rest of her life.

The gate, complete with an extended lever to make it easier for riders to open and close without having to dismount, is on the three-mile Herstmonceux Castle ride in East Sussex.

Says Lottie’s owner, Alison Lloyd, who lives in nearby Pevensey Bay, “I wouldn’t mind. But she wasn’t being bad or silly or anything. She was being as good as gold.

“We came up to the gate as we have done many times before. I leant forward and grabbed the extended lever to open the gate. As she was going through, she must have been looking at the continuation of the bridleway, which is at an angle to the gate. So instead of going straight through, she went through at an angle, which meant she virtually impaled herself on the catch. Then, of course, she made matters far worse by pulling back and trying to free herself.

“But even then she remained calm

“I immediately jumped off, saw what had happened and there and then called the vet. By the time I walked her back to the yard, the vet was already there. It was Paul from Cliffe Equine. He was marvellous.

“What annoys me is if this happens when she is being well-behaved, what could have happened if she wasn’t being well-behaved ?

“ Gates are dangerous. Even so-called safe gates.

“ Gates are dangerous. Even so-called safe gates.
That’s a fact. Full stop. End of story.”

The incident with the gate is not the first time Lottie has had problems.

Three-and-a-half years ago she was slashed with a knife and had to have 14-inches of stitches in her arm pit.

Has your horse been in jured going through a gate?

Please write and tell us and send us any photos

If you have an accident, you MUST report it

Go to the new BHS dedicated accident reporting website .

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