Why are riders posing half naked with their horses?

 

A campaign to persuade drivers to slow down for horses has been given something of an unusual boost – by scores of horse riders baring all, or maybe almost all – in an arresting collection of images.

Decades of road safety campaigns aimed at trying to cut the shockingly high numbers of people and horses killed or injured on the roads by irresponsible drivers had previously been fairly tame affairs.

They either focussed on improving rider visibility with the usual collection of fluorescent jacket-wearing riders, or had worthy-but-dull appeals for more care from rural road users.

But when Lauren de Gruchy, a 19-year-old rider from Jersey, saw an arty image of a woman walking naked with a horse, she thought that might be the way to spread their message.

With the hashtag 'will you slow down for me now?' the campaign caught on, with riders posing for arty shots of them with their horses in various states of undress.

Most of them are in the countryside, with their best knickers on and their backs to the camera. Some men have been brave enough to get involved too – often sitting in the saddle in the altogether.

Within just a week, more than 100 riders from Devon to Durham have taken part and the phenomenon shows no sign of slowing.

Many are anonymous and obviously wanted to stay that way, but one chap has given some clue to his location – he has posed next to an old-fashioned signpost near the village of Broadclyst in Devon.

The pictures are all tastefully done, with some baring bare backsides, but all protecting their modesty with either a strategically placed horse or riding hat.

"I've seen many riders and horses in the news being hit by cars and unfortunately some have passed away," said Lauren, whose own picture kickstarted the campaign just a few days ago.

"I've had experiences on the road with drivers speeding past, coming too close to my horse and spooking him. It takes two seconds to slow down. I don't think drivers realise the danger of speeding near horses," she added.

"I saw the picture and I thought that if drivers saw that, they'd sure slow down. So I started the Facebook page due to ignorant drivers who don't take notice of us on the road."

Lauren took a pic posing with her horse Starlight, and now dozens of other horses and riders are joining in every day.

"I didn't realise how big this campaign would get, and how many people would join in, It's a fun way to get awareness out to drivers on the roads. Hopefully this will make them think twice about speeding past horses."

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