Peace has broken out between horse riders and an earth moving company in East Sussex
Thank you, Mark. Mark Woollard pictured with (centre) Joanne deGroot riding her horse, Ziggy, an eight-year-old 16.3 skewbald and (right) Chairman of the BHS East Sussex Committee, Sue Wylde, who is riding Joanne’s other horse, Bonny, a 13-year-old 15.1 dark bay cob
Local members of the British Horse Society have just said a big Thank You to Mark Woollard, who runs Woollard Plant Ltd, one of the biggest earth moving contractors in East Sussex for re-routing his fleet of 32-ton trucks from a narrow country lane where they were spooking horses.
“He’s wonderful,” says Joanne de Groot, who is a Welfare Officer for the BHS East Sussex Region and rides regularly in and around Turners Green, “I rang Mark and asked him how long his lorries would be using the lane where I live and keep my horses, as I had met a couple of them when I was hacking home. I explained to him the problems the lorries could cause to riders and pedestrians on such a narrow lane. He immediately, without any argument or discussion, offered to re-route the lorries and he was true to his word. No lorries have driven here since. I was really surprised. This was not the response I expected.”
Joanne went on to say, “To be honest, I didn’t think he’d do anything. Most transport companies are not really interested in horse issues. I only rang to ask how long he would be using the lane so that I could work around him.
“I also have three young children who ride and like to hack on the lanes with me and their safety is paramount. So Mark’s response was fantastic. He couldn’t have been nicer. I think he should be credited for this.”
Mark, who started the company in Hailsham in 1996 and carries out earth-moving projects all over Europe, says if they receive any complaints from the public they have a strict 30-minute call-back policy.
“If anyone rings up with a complaint or anything, we ring them back in 30 minutes. That’s the rule. We use country lanes a lot. It’s in our interests to keep good relations with people living along the country lanes as well as with other people, like riders, using the lanes. In any case, if you can help somebody, why not.”
Adds Sue Wylde, the chairman of the BHS East Sussex Committee, which represents over 1,000 riders throughout the County, “We’re very grateful to Mark and all his lorry drivers. It was very kind of him to divert his lorries to make the lanes safer for riders. Of course, we realise there has got to be co-operation between riders and non-riders. Riders are not the only people entitled to use the roads. But this shows what can be done when you have goodwill and understanding on both sides. “
"Hi there, I just saw in today's Horse & Hound that you have changed the route of your trucks to avoid horses down a country lane. I wanted to say how impressed I am with this response to what sounds like a local problem. Good on you, and I hope you got a contract from the publicity as a reward!
Shame I live in Essex "
" I was reading the the Horse and Hound about your decision to re-route your trucks away from a country lane used by horses. What a nice thing to do! I don't live in the area but I hope the riders involved appreciate your thoughtfulness!"