AN ELDERLY woman ignored a horse rider’s screams as she drove closely behind her and dangerously attempted to overtake, a court heard.

Kay Higton, 72, left a horserider 'crying and shaking' after the animal panicked and bolted through brambles cutting its face. 

The defendant, of St Just Close in Ferndown, was driving her large white van on a country road near Wimborne when she came up behind an 18-year-old woman riding her horse.

Prosecution barrister, John Dyer told Bournemouth Crown Court how Higton approached the horse ‘noisily’ and caused it to bolt. 

He added that during the incident, on August 25 2022, the defendant drove ‘far too close’ to the horse and then tried to overtake as the horse was speeding up.

The victim was said to have screamed at Higton telling her to be quiet and get back.

The victim, who has been riding for 13 years, said her animal heard the defendant’s van and cantered towards a 60mph road.

“I was scared I was going to get pushed on to the road,” she said.

“I was shouting at the top of my lungs ‘I cannot stop’, she was so close she could have lip read."

The woman was able to steer the horse into a small layby where it went through a fence and into brambles, injuring its face.

A witness said she heard horse’s hooves and a girl’s voice ‘calling and shouting in panic’.

She recalled Higton driving with the window open and her arm hanging out and seeing the girl ‘crying and visibly shaking’ after the incident.

Mr Dyer added that the driver was ‘persistent and deliberate’ as she ignored the rider’s pleas.

Higton, who defended herself during her sentencing on September 28, said she thought the horse was agitated by the sound of her van but remained two metres from the animal at all times.

“If I knew the pony had hurt itself, I would have stopped.”

She added: “I am very sorry. I am extra careful now.”

Recorder Tom Webb said Higton’s actions caused alarm and distress to both the horse and its rider, causing the victim to take an evasive manoeuvre.

The judge said that when interviewed by police, Higton tried to blame the victim suggesting the horse may have been out of control.

“This was an unusual lapse of judgment, but it was a serious lapse of judgement and could have caused grave injury.

“I do not think this was a deliberate decision, however, I do accept to an extent that this was persistent, it goes on for a few seconds.

“You did disregard the shouts of the victim.”

Higton, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of dangerous driving, was given a 12-month community order and must do 150 hours of unpaid work.

She was banned from driving for 12 months.