Motorists warned to be considerate after tailgating incident leaves horse injured

Max was injured while travelling in a horse float.
Max was injured while travelling in a horse float. Photo credit: File / Getty

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An Auckland equestrian rider is warning motorists to take care when driving behind horse floats, after a distressing situation over the weekend.

Sharni Gordon was towing her horse Max in a float in Hunua, Auckland on Sunday when a motorcyclist started tailgating her.

Unable to pull over to let the rider pass because of the winding road, Gordon was left helpless as the man continued to follow her so closely she couldn't see the bike in her mirrors.

Startled by the bike's loud engine, Max started to panic, damaging the float and injuring himself in the process.

"He was making such a commotion in the float that I actually thought he had fallen over," Gordon told Newshub.

She said she finally managed to pull over and let the motorcycle pass her and to also quickly have a look if Max was ok.

"I couldn't see any blood or anything but I could see he had kicked the back of the float and there was some wood on the ground," she said.

However, because of the winding road conditions Gordon said she couldn't stop to have a proper look until around 15 minutes later when she arrived at her destination.

"So I kept going but he was just so upset and wanted to get out of the float by that point that he kept thrashing around."

When she was finally able to open the float she "saw all the blood" and realised Max couldn't put any weight on one of his legs.

Although most of the cuts turned out to be superficial, he did require veterinary attention, where he had bandages put on his legs and received staples to one of the wounds.

Although he is doing okay now physically, Gordon said Max was still "a little bit sore" and appeared to be struggling mentally.

Gordon said Max is on the mend now.
Gordon said Max is on the mend now. Photo credit: Sharni Gordon

She told Newshub she "doesn't want to play the blame game" and is chalking the incident up to being a "freak accident".

However, she did want to raise awareness of the risks posed to animals by people in loud vehicles driving too close to horse floats.

"This is definitely a freak accident that could have been avoided for the simple fact that no one should tailgate any vehicle, let alone someone with a horse onboard or any livestock on board," she said.

Her view was echoed by Dr Alison Vaughan of the SPCA, who told Newshub motorists were urged to "be considerate" when near vehicles with animals onboard.

"When encountering horse floats on the road, please allow plenty of space, pass carefully and try to avoid making loud or sudden noises," she said.

For Gordon, who rides horses for a living, the accident has not only been hard on an emotional level, but also a professional level.

"He's my only competition horse at the moment, so that puts us out for a while," she said.

"Our season's only five months long so a month in the grand scheme of that is a little while, which is a bummer."