Northwest NEWS

June 18, 2001

Editorial

It will be a sad day when horses are forced out

On Easter Sunday of this year a friend and I were leading our horses down NE 165th St. on Hollywood Hill to get to the trails where we ride. I lead my horse down this hill because it is steep, there is no shoulder, and the asphalt is slippery for a horse.
   I was walking on the road side of my horse and was about one-third of the way down the hill when a black, new-model Corvette convertible turned up the hill from 158th Ave. NE. The driver passed me by about six inches; he was so near that I slapped the trunk of his car without even extending my arm.
   I realize I shouldn't have done that, but it was a knee-jerk reaction because he was so dangerously close.
   I also yelled at him to move over, whereby he punched the car to the top of the hill, turned around roared back down the hill to where we were walking, jumped out of his car, and went ballistic, shouting at and threatening me.
   He hollered that he couldn't move over, as he was too close to the top of the hill to see what was coming in the other direction (most drivers will slow down and wait a moment until we get past that crucial spot), but even though he didn't have time to do that, he had time to accost me a total of three times, including spinning gravel on me and my horse, before we got to the bottom of the hill and he sped off.
   Needless to say, this incident and his behavior certainly ruined my day. And probably the worst thing about it was that he had an approximately 10-year-old girl with him who was obviously embarrassed and humiliated about the whole thing.
   I didn't have the presence of mind to get his license number so that I could tell the police about the incident, but the last thing I knew, pedestrians and horses still have the right-of-way on roadways. This man probably doesn't live on Hollywood Hill because the residents here are used to horses and are usually very patient and tolerant of equestrian presence on the roads.
   This letter is meant to praise and thank those drivers who do slow down, move over, and give us a break, and to tell those who don't that horses are unpredictable, sometimes nervous, animals, and riders can't always control their behavior, so it is very important to give them a wide berth for the safety of all concerned to say nothing of the fact that an animal as large as a horse can put a nasty dent in a car.
   I think that it will be a sad day, indeed, when the last horses are forced out of our once rural community, as our neighborhood gets more crowded, and horses and other livestock less tolerated.
   My husband and I keep the road shoulder in front of our property clear and free of debris, because we are glad to have the opportunity to give at least a few yards of safe travel to the horses and riders, especially the children, who we love to see ride past our house.
   Name withheld by request.