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Renewed calls on safety after horse is hurt in Newmarket crash at St Mary's Square




A crash in the centre of Newmarket which left a young driver traumatised, a racehorse injured, and a car badly damaged, has increased calls for urgent safety measures to be implemented at the town’s horse crossings.

The incident in St Mary’s Square at around 11.50am on Saturday involved a racehorse ridden by 32-year-old Katie Margarson, assistant trainer to her father, George, and sister to Rosie, who only last month launched an online petition to try and end the dangers currently faced by horse riders on the road.

The crash saw a car driven by a young woman go into the back of the four-year-old filly, as it crossed the road with Katie in the saddle.

The St Marys Square horse crossing where the crash happened last week. Photographed in 2020 by Mark Westley.
The St Marys Square horse crossing where the crash happened last week. Photographed in 2020 by Mark Westley.

“The filly ended up sitting on the bonnet of the car and fortunately she pushed herself forward rather than going back which would have seen Katie crushed against the windscreen,” said Rosie.

“Other cars had all stopped and Katie was in the middle of the road. The driver of the car involved, who was turning out of Rowley Drive heading towards the market square was very, very shocked. She said she just did not see the horse.”

Panicked by the incident the horse set off along the pavement but Katie managed to stay on and pull up. The filly sustained superficial injuries to one of its hind legs but has recovered.

The injuries to the filly’s hind leg at Newmarket's St Mary's Square horse crossing.
The injuries to the filly’s hind leg at Newmarket's St Mary's Square horse crossing.

“She has been back out on the heath and fortunately seems none the worse for the experience,” said Rosie. “Katie was very shocked but she has been in touch with the car driver to reassure her that the horse was ok.”

Rosie has now passed details of the incident to Newmarket county councillor Rachel Hood, who said she was horrified by what had happened.

“I am going to raise the issue with Suffolk highways which I don’t believe has ever really fully understood the issues around the horse crossings in Newmarket,” she said. “These pictures, which are upsetting, bring home what can happen in a split second and we do need to take it seriously.”

The damage to the car’s windscreen caused after the crash in Newmarket's St Mary's Square.
The damage to the car’s windscreen caused after the crash in Newmarket's St Mary's Square.

Rosie is set to meet with Jockey Club Estates managing director Nick Patton and other interested parties on Tuesday to discuss the way forward.

“These incidents could be avoided and I want to hear what they are going to implement to improve safety,” she said. “I want a plan in place and to hear when and how quickly it is going to happen. This has been going on for too long and there have to be changes.”

Rosie is also meeting with a representative of the British Horse Society to see what progress is being made in response to her petition, which has attracted some 14,000 signatures, to make driving safely around horses a mandatory part of the driving test.

Rosie Margarson, who told Newmarket's annual meeting last month that in her experience negotiating the town's roads on a horse had become increasingly more dangerous.
Rosie Margarson, who told Newmarket's annual meeting last month that in her experience negotiating the town's roads on a horse had become increasingly more dangerous.

At last month’s annual Newmarket town meeting, Rosie, who is 26, said she had started the online petition in a bid to educate drivers so they knew how to act if they came across a horse on the road either being ridden or loose.

She told the meeting that in her experience negotiating Newmarket’s roads on a horse had become increasingly more dangerous.

“Drivers seem to be putting their foot down to try and beat you at the crossings because they don’t want to be held up,” she said.

“Just waiting is going to take only seconds of their lives but they risk it anyway.”

Like her sister, Rosie usually rides out for her father, who is based at Graham Lodge stables in Birdcage Walk, but is currently recovering from a broken ankle which she sustained in a fall.

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