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Vermont Officials Caution Drivers About Horses on Roads

Sara Tabin Jun 6, 2018 10:00 AM
Courtesy Photo
A screenshot from the Vermont Horse Council video

Make way for your neighbors that neigh.

That's the message state officials and the Vermont Horse Council have for motorists in a new public service announcement. The 30-second video stars Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson and Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts, who wore neon safety vests and led horses as they asked viewers to give the animals a wide berth on the road.

"Don't honk your horn, don't rev your engine, don't swerve toward a horse and rider," Anderson said.

Carmel Stone, a safety leader for the Vermont Horse Council, said her group has heard concerns from members who have had bad interactions with motorists. Many drivers do not know to slow down and give the animals room, according to Stone.

"You never know what a horse is going to do," she said. "Even well-trained horses are going to react. We want to help educate people when they do encounter horses on the road." According to the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, more than 75,000 horses call Vermont home.

Equestrians also play a part in safety: Stone encouraged them to respect drivers by riding single file and using hand signals.

Creating the video was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Stone said the council teamed up with the state after Tebbetts approached her in January at a horse show.

Tebbetts then recruited the agency's policy and communications director, Scott Waterman, to write and produce the short flick. Waterman kept it low-budget: It took him three weeks to create and cost only his time.