Rider dragged along after tractor spooked horses

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A FARMER was fined after his tractor spooked a group of horses, causing one rider to fall off and be dragged along the road.

Sinclair Robson, of New Haggerston Farm, near Beal, was found guilty of driving without reasonable consideration to other users at Berwick Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, following an incident on a minor road between the A1 and New Haggerston, on Saturday, September 3 last year.

The 64-year-old overtook the group of six horses, on a trek from Haggerston Riding Centre, on a narrow road despite being asked to wait as the horses were becoming scared.

But the verdict was overshadowed by the accusation of an ‘unfair’ hearing by the defendant’s solicitor Geoffrey Forrester, who informed the court at the end of the trial that he would be appealing the decision.

And the proceedings had earlier been delayed after one of the prosecution witnesses could not attend due to illness.

The trek involved two leaders from the riding centre, three novice riders and another rider, who was able to ride on his own.

Witnesses described how the tractor came up quickly behind the group, which spooked the horses, before pulling alongside them with one wheel on the grass verge on the right-hand side of the road.

Robson then stopped his tractor at the front of the group and spoke to the main trek leader. She was heard to tell him that the horses were becoming spooked and asked him to wait until they could stop and allow him to pass more safely.

Witnesses described him as ‘angry and agitated’ and shouting at the trek leader, saying he needed to get his bales in quickly and asking her to use another road.

Robson then drove away abruptly, revving the engine, causing several of the horses to spin round.

The back two horses cantered up the road while another trotted off in front of the tractor.

One of the novice riders fell off her horse as it spun and was dragged along the road.

“I was winded, I couldn’t breathe and I was just in total shock,” she said.

Mr Forrester did not cross-examine the witnesses and offered no representations on behalf of his client, but PC Darren Moffat said that when questioned the defendant said there hadn’t been an accident as far as he was concerned.

Chairman of the bench, Christopher Craddock said that they had heard ‘persuasive evidence’ from the prosecution while no evidence had been offered in defence.

Robson was fined £125 with £765 in costs and surcharges. His driving licence was endorsed with four points.