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

Gift Horse

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Yes it’s normal. I met two once, they were opposite each other both on the field sides either sides of a lane - Fortunately my horse is established, brave and not fazed by much, but it’s always unpleasant with shards of hedge flying about. Fortunately I buy my hay from one of the guys cutting, he is careful around horses and he stopped for us, second guy I don’t think noticed us.
 

teddy_eq

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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!
Absolutely, I think he may have momentarily stopped as the whole incident was situated on a large sweeping bend in the road / corner of the field.

I will definitely turn around if there is a next time :).
 

Asha

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My daughter and i always have a laugh about hedgecutters. Its seems that they only ever go out trimming when we go on hacks. Its like they wait until we set off and then suddenly appear ! Our 2 are fairly sensible but find hedgecutters very scary. Around here, yes they do both sides. Sorry you had a fall OP, but hope you are Ok.

We tend to wait a bit in the hope that they see us, if not we turn around and go back the way we came.
 

Nudibranch

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I suspect some replies have been "short" because the original post sounds somewhat accusatory, to my mind anyway. Hedge cutters/farmers need to get on with their jobs, and cutting the hedges in the field is one of them.

Fwiw I have turned round and exited a scene at a fast but controlled trot on a 4yo before now. It was the only way we were both going to avoid serious injury. I pulled up further away, down a junction and watched the offending machinery from a distance before pushing on and following it. No harm done.

Sometimes we get fixated on the "must not turn round, must not get off" school of thought whereas many horses are pretty adaptable and a solitary event isn't going to retrain them for life.
 

teddy_eq

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I suspect some replies have been "short" because the original post sounds somewhat accusatory, to my mind anyway. Hedge cutters/farmers need to get on with their jobs, and cutting a hedge in the field is one of them.

Fwiw I have turned round and exited a scene at a fast but controlled trot on a 4yo before now. It was the only way we were both going to avoid serious injury. I pulled up further away, down a junction and watched the offending machinery from a distance before pushing on and following it. No harm done.

Sometimes we get fixated on the "must not turn round, must not get off" school of thought whereas many horses are pretty adaptable and a solitary event isn't going to retrain them for life.
Thank you.

I didn't intend for the tone to be accusatory but re-reading, I can see how it might come across that way.

I completely understand that farmers need to get their jobs done whether that's convenient for other road users or not, I have no qualms. I suppose I was just maybe a bit shell-shocked as it's not something I have encountered before (amazingly).

In hindsight, turning around and swiftly trotting away would have been the best course of action, the beauty of hindsight :).
 
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Sometimes we get fixated on the "must not turn round, must not get off" school of thought whereas many horses are pretty adaptable and a solitary event isn't going to retrain them for life.
I agree with this, but if I were on a 3yo that I thought might gallop off mindlessly along a country road with cars and assumedly blind bends, as it sounds like OP thought hers might, I would certainly think twice about turning around as opposed to my chances kicking on.. you don't know until you're there.

Glad you're okay OP.
 

teddy_eq

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I agree with this, but if I were on a 3yo that I thought might gallop off mindlessly along a country road with cars and assumedly blind bends, as it sounds like OP thought hers might, I would certainly think twice about turning around as opposed to my chances kicking on.. you don't know until you're there.

Glad you're okay OP.
This was exactly what was going through my mind as he is an ex-racehorse so generally speaking, hacking is a breeze and he really enjoys it. I really don't know what would have happened if I had turned around, maybe he would have been fine but it didn't feel that way at the time. Thank you :D.
 

Fransurrey

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Thankfully I only come across them driving (which is a hazard in itself on single track lanes!). It does sound like he'd stopped for a tree or telegraph pole and that's why it was quiet. Glad you're not seriously hurt. Put it down to life experience - as you say, could have happened with any age horse. Personally I'd never try to hack past one, simply because of the sharp debris. Not uncommon for people to get car tyre punctures round here during trimming season, so I don't fancy a piece of hedge in my cheek or leg!
 
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We've had our hedges flailed recently as they're next to the public highway. PITA but has to be done! It is actually easier for the contractor to do as much as he can from within the fields as if they do go out onto the road they then have to contend with the fact that everyone wants to get past them! They cannot help it, but they do unfortunately hold up other motorists!
 

PinkvSantasboots

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They cut both sides around here and my horses are terrified of them I bring them in when they are nearby, and I would be in serious trouble if I came across one out hacking and my horses are 16 and 17 I think most horses would be upset being that close.

I am glad you are ok it certainly could have been a lot worse unfortunately sometimes these things just happen don't they.
 

BSL2

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I experienced something similar years ago. My Arab was four, and we were just starting to hack out. I actually heard it rather than saw. I did choose to turn around because of where I was, but I totally understand where you are coming from, I too was praying he didn't bomb back home. Fortunately he just danced home. I was so proud of him that day.
 

Rosietaz

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Yes, we have our hedges cut on both the road side and the field side. Keeps it neat and tidy and not overgrown! I don’t imagine the hedge cutter arms would be long enough to reach up and right over some hedges due to their thickness. (Our boundary hedges are very thick!)
 

Velcrobum

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Agricultural hedge cutting is permitted between 1st October and 31st of March to protect nesting birds. Usually a side and top can be done from one side but the other side has to be done from that side (if that makes sense). The same rules do not apply to domestic hedges which IMHO is a pity as many many birds nest in domestic hedges but it would be impossible to stop as people will do what they want.
 

honetpot

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Its one of those things, like bin days, that you just have to factor in to riding life. I have just about always kept my horse on the edges of built up areas, so you get white van man using the rat run, and normal farm traffic. ATM all the roads are full of tractor trailer carting for the AD plants, they work until 02.00am some nights working to get it in while it's still dry, it looks like Close Encounters across the black sky.
The chances are I will not get my hedges flailed until they finish and put the next crop in. In the long term it makes a better more dense hedge, and I have plenty of birds, they love to chatter in it, we have boxes in the barn, and a small natural pond.
 

sport horse

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Yes its completely normal and unless you are deaf you should have been able to hear it from a good distance away and either waited somewhere where the driver could hear you or turned around and waited elsewhere. If the farmer/hedgecutter cannot see you they can hardly be expected to stop.
 

Sealine

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Yes it's perfectly normal. Although my horse is usually very sensible he doesn't react well to hedge cutters :( Even when they are on the farm where I keep my horse we do not expect them to stop even if they see us. I try to keep well away from them if at all possible.
 

PeterNatt

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I am very sorry to hear of your accident. Had the machine operator seen you as you were approaching he should have immediately switched off his machinery, which he is obliged to do under Health and Safety regulations as the splatter of the debris could easily injure a pedestrian, rider or horse and cause a horse to bolt. Could the operator see you? Had he placed signs on the road warning that hedge cutting was in progress. If not he could be heald liable for any accidents he has caused. Hedges are normally cut from both sides however if the farmer has a Single Area Contract then they will normally alternate the side they cut each year. I always wear a long sleeved Hi-Viz jacket when hacking out so that other road users etc. can clearly seen me. Pleased report this incident on the www.horseaccidents.org.uk web site. I hope that you and your horse recovers from this incident but please advise if the machine operator could have seen you or there were any warning signs (which from your description I suspect there were not any).
 

teddy_eq

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I am very sorry to hear of your accident. Had the machine operator seen you as you were approaching he should have immediately switched off his machinery, which he is obliged to do under Health and Safety regulations as the splatter of the debris could easily injure a pedestrian, rider or horse and cause a horse to bolt. Could the operator see you? Had he placed signs on the road warning that hedge cutting was in progress. If not he could be heald liable for any accidents he has caused. Hedges are normally cut from both sides however if the farmer has a Single Area Contract then they will normally alternate the side they cut each year. I always wear a long sleeved Hi-Viz jacket when hacking out so that other road users etc. can clearly seen me. Pleased report this incident on the www.horseaccidents.org.uk web site. I hope that you and your horse recovers from this incident but please advise if the machine operator could have seen you or there were any warning signs (which from your description I suspect there were not any).
Thank you, we were kitted out with hi-viz but I don't think there would have been any way this chap could have seen us as the road is sunken below the field level.

No signs were displayed, unfortunately.
 

SEL

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Thank you, we were kitted out with hi-viz but I don't think there would have been any way this chap could have seen us as the road is sunken below the field level.

No signs were displayed, unfortunately.
Rarely get signs out around here. I was about to overtake a cyclist the other day when he swerved into the road - neither of us had spotted the cutter starting up field side and the cyclist was being pelted with sharp woody bits.

At least it was a genuine reason for a horse meltdown and not a Shetland pony looking over a gate which I had yesterday!
 
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Rarely get signs out around here. I was about to overtake a cyclist the other day when he swerved into the road - neither of us had spotted the cutter starting up field side and the cyclist was being pelted with sharp woody bits.

At least it was a genuine reason for a horse meltdown and not a Shetland pony looking over a gate which I had yesterday!
I feel you on this, my 18.3hh'er span on a hack and ran through the four horses behind him in a blind panic because a mini shetty trotted up to the fence line - Everyone was okay but I never did quite live it down.
 

teddy_eq

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Rarely get signs out around here. I was about to overtake a cyclist the other day when he swerved into the road - neither of us had spotted the cutter starting up field side and the cyclist was being pelted with sharp woody bits.

At least it was a genuine reason for a horse meltdown and not a Shetland pony looking over a gate which I had yesterday!
My goodness that sounds hairy!

Absolutely, I don't blame the horse one iota for dumping me. In fact, I don't even know how I fell off as the whole thing happened so fast!
 

teddy_eq

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I don't think they'd need signs if not working on the road 🤔
No difference to spreading fert or something in the field really, noisy but not a lot they can do about it
An interesting point however, if debris is flying onto the road, wouldn't it be prudent to put signs out?

Taking horses out of the equation, a piece of hedge flying through the air could seriously injure a pedestrian or cyclist. Maybe I am being pedantic!

* Edit * - by no means am I saying farmers should not cut their hedges, by the way! Just signage would have been helpful in said incident, that's all.
 

windand rain

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We had our 3 year old out for a walk in hand accompanying a newly broken 4 year old the hedge cutter stop when he saw us but was asked to start up again to get used to it he was happy to help with the training exercise now they were not remotely bothered the next time they met him. however they are Highland ponies so not as sharp or highly bred
 

milliepops

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An interesting point however, if debris is flying onto the road, wouldn't it be prudent to put signs out?

Taking horses out of the equation, a piece of hedge flying through the air could seriously injure a pedestrian or cyclist. Maybe I am being pedantic!
So OH was telling me about cyclists who have ridden under the arm of the hedge cutter... I mean... there's something about taking steps for your own safety 😱 for the sake of waiting a few seconds for the tractor to pull over 😳
I think what happened to you is very unusual, you can normally hear them from miles away. hedge cutters are really loud.
 
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