Is it normal for a tractor mounted hedge cutter to operate from the field-side?

teddy_eq

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Yesterday afternoon, I took my three year old for a hack with my trainer who rode one of her schoolmasters.

It was a lovely, sunny afternoon until we came across a chap operating a tractor mounted hedge cutter in the field above us to the side.

Needless to say, it was incredibly loud and he could not see us for love nor money and there were bits of wood flying everywhere, one bit even hit my hat. When my trainers horse started doing big spooks (this mare rarely looks at anything), I knew, this was not going to end well. I didn't want to turn my horse around as I was concerned he might bugger off and I'd not have much in the way of control.

Everything happened incredibly fast. One moment my horse backed up onto the verge, the poor boy was terrified and the next moment, I was deposited on the tarmac. Beyond a suspected, mild concussion (my lovely KEP hat is now defunct * sobs *), I am OK, albeit bruised and sore. My horse started to trot off but got his reins caught up so this stopped him and thank God, an onlooker had blocked the lane with their car.

Afterwards I walked mine past the scene of the incident in hand and then got back on further up the lane and all was well however, I am wondering whether it is standard practise for a hedge cutter to be operated not on the road? How does the operator expect to see anyone or anything? I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill but in all my time living in the sticks and hacking on lanes I have never come across this before!
 

teddy_eq

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Yes it normal it happens all the time here at this time of year .
If we met one in a really bad place with untrustworthy horses we just turn back and or wait until the situation is safer .
Absolutely, unfortunately we didn't realise he was cutting the hedges from the field side until he was right by us as this all happened on a bend :(.
 

EnduroRider

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Yes, I encountered one working from the field side the other day. Luckily I was able to wait a way back and as he worked his way further towards me he spotted us (a lot of hi vis probably helped that) and stopped and moved away so we could trot by.
 

teddy_eq

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Yes, I encountered one working from the field side the other day. Luckily I was able to wait a way back and as he worked his way further towards me he spotted us (a lot of hi vis probably helped that) and stopped and moved away so we could trot by.
I think we were just unlucky in this case as were both also wearing a decent amount of hi-viz gear!
 

teddy_eq

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I think if I were hacking a 3 yr old (which I wouldn't be) I would check out the route first for hazards
You wouldn't hack a three year old? Seems like a bit of a generalisation. This three year old came from Newmarket so hacking is something he is well adjusted to.

It's a route we do most weekends and the hedge was not being cut when I'd driven past 25 mins beforehand thank you very much!
 

Polos Mum

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Most hedges need cutting from both sides unless they are very small, the reach on the cutter is not as long as you might imagine.

On windy lanes I spend lots of time listening for hazards - a hedge cutter / speeding delivery lorry / all manner of tractor stuff - its sometimes easier to hear them well in advance.
 

teddy_eq

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Most hedges need cutting from both sides unless they are very small, the reach on the cutter is not as long as you might imagine.

On windy lanes I spend lots of time listening for hazards - a hedge cutter / speeding delivery lorry / all manner of tractor stuff - its sometimes easier to hear them well in advance.
Ah, I see. I don't profess to know a great deal about hedge management - clearly :p.

Yes, quite, think this was just unfortunate as it all happened very quickly and we did not hear the hedge cutter operating when we were far away enough to tuck in somewhere out of the way.
 

milliepops

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yep OH does a bit of hedge cutting and its very normal to be done from both sides otherwise the hedge just gradually spreads further and further into the field.

Bad luck really for you, hedge cutting is quite a skill and needs a lot of attention from the driver so while they'll usually spot vulnerable road users quite quickly and can stop/pull over etc when operating on the road it's much harder to see through a hedge ;) I think i'd have turned around in your situation.
 

teddy_eq

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yep OH does a bit of hedge cutting and its very normal to be done from both sides otherwise the hedge just gradually spreads further and further into the field.

Bad luck really for you, hedge cutting is quite a skill and needs a lot of attention from the driver so while they'll usually spot vulnerable road users quite quickly and can stop/pull over etc when operating on the road it's much harder to see through a hedge ;) I think i'd have turned around in your situation.
Indeed, my only reason for not turning around was my concern that my horse might try and run home as he was seriously upset but, that is pure speculation on my part. Maybe I am making excuses for my lacking horsemanship :eek:. I know better for next time ;) (hopefully there isn't one!).
 

milliepops

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i think you can only deal with the situation at the time in the way that makes the most sense in the moment. Round here there are often things going on behind hedges and you have to just make a snap decision "that's getting closer" or "that's not going to get any worse" and go with it... recent one was harvesting the maize, managed to leg it past while they were at the opposite side and we were well clear when they returned along the hedge.
 

Pearlsasinger

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You wouldn't hack a three year old? Seems like a bit of a generalisation. This three year old came from Newmarket so hacking is something he is well adjusted to.

It's a route we do most weekends and the hedge was not being cut when I'd driven past 25 mins beforehand thank you very much!

No, I wouldn't. I would have turned him away to grow up physically and mentally until he was 4.
 

teddy_eq

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No, I wouldn't. I would have turned him away to grow up physically and mentally until he was 4.
Thank you for your valuable insight.

I did not post this thread for advice on how to produce my horse. I posted it because I did not know whether what I encountered yesterday was standard practice. Now I know that it is and that I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. What happened yesterday could have happened on any horse. My 7YO is far fruitier to hack than my 3YO.

You don't know anything about me, my horses or my set up so I'd advise you don't form judgements. Especially, when they are not asked for.
 

teddy_eq

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I hacked out my three year olds a bit before I turned them away for the winter but it was in very controlled circumstances.
My 3YO is engaged in physically un-demanding, light work. Mainly under a well regarded professional.

Had I known there was a hedge cutter en-route, I would not have gone in that direction.
 

paddy555

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How does the operator expect to see anyone or anything? I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill but in all my time living in the sticks and hacking on lanes I have never come across this before!
if it was in a field I wouldn't expect the driver to see anyone on the road or even to be looking. Why would they? With hedgetrimmers you can hear them a mile off. It is a case of turn round (both horses) or alternatively sit and wait until they have done that side of the field and then you can sneak past. Operating a hedge trimmer is very hard work for the driver, you are driving the tractor, twisted around and trying to get a good line on the hedge you are trimming and constantly listening for if you hit something with the trimmer.
 

Leandy

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Yes I've seen hedge trimmers on the field side, to cut the inside of the hedge but also because maybe there is a big ditch or road signs or other obstructions on the road side. You were just unlucky OP. I hope you are ok? As for hacking a horse in the October of its 3rd year with a sensible schoolmaster. I'd say that is a normal part of educating a young horse.
 

teddy_eq

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Thanks everyone. Some replies more constructive than others. Never asked for advice on how to produce my horses but hey ho, some people cannot help themselves :D.

Clearly the 'Be Kind' ethos is lost on some HHO members :).

I have stated that my knowledge of hedge management is non-existent (hence asking the question), no need to talk to me like I am some kind of imbecile.
 

teddy_eq

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Yes I've seen hedge trimmers on the field side, to cut the inside of the hedge but also because maybe there is a big ditch or road signs or other obstructions on the road side. You were just unlucky OP. I hope you are ok? As for hacking a horse in the October of its 3rd year with a sensible schoolmaster. I'd say that is a normal part of educating a young horse.
Thank you, we are both OK :D.
 

PurBee

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This is the time of year for hedge trimming to be experienced as laws prevent hedge trimming in previous summer months due to nesting birds.
Also, the tail-end of winter/beginning of spring you’ll have more hedge-trimming happening, before the nesting birds move in.

Many times you see them roadside, but they can be hiding doing field side too. With your hat and wind rushing around your neck it could be hard to hear them. He probably had momentarily stopped to avoid a tree, and started up again as you were passing - such bad luck, but glad you’re all ok.
Trust your gut, which was to turn round…sometimes we just have to. Sorry about your hat!
 
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