Letters to the editor for Aug. 6

Horses have a place on the roads, too

For several years, I have noticed the disregard of the public for the safety of those handling livestock on or near the road, whether they are loading horses into the trailer or riding horses down the road to get to a trail. It seems that the favorite sport of motorists these days is to frighten animals weighing 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, and put their handlers, the horses and themselves in danger.

It seems obvious to me, but apparently it is not clear to most motorists, that a frightened horse running in front of a car or motorcycle can cause an accident. It can hurt, or even kill, the person handling them. It can injure itself. It can put one heck of a dent in the car!

That is why it is a law that drivers must stop when indicated to do so by a person riding, driving or leading a horse, cow or other draft animal (Massachusetts Riding on Public Road Statutes, Chapter 90).

Frequently, people speed by my trailer as I am loading my horse. They seem to enjoy watching my horse rear and shy as they drive by blowing their horn.

Recently, in Duxbury, I was riding a green (inexperienced) horse and was waiting by the side of the road for traffic to pass at the Mayflower Street crossing. A car was approaching very fast, and I signaled for the driver to slow down. The man, with a female passenger, stepped hard on the gas. We exchanged some unpleasant words and graphic gestures. Welcome to the modern world. I am a 5'2", 110 lb., 58-year-old woman handling a 1,500 lb. animal. I fail to see the humor in this man's actions.

What should you do? If there is a livestock trailer parked near or on a road, it is most likely that an animal is being loaded into it. Driving around this vehicle should be done with caution, especially if the vehicle being driven is a loud motorcycle or truck. Simply the sound of downshifting can be enough to severely frighten an animal. It is simply a matter of common sense to slow down and proceed carefully to avoid endangering all involved.

If you see a horse being ridden on the side of the road, slow down and wait until it is safe to pass. If the rider tells you to stop, it is the law - stop.

Most people do not ride their horses on the road until they are accustomed to cars, but the only way for horses to learn is through experience, so there are some people out there riding horses that can easily become scared.

If your dog is loose, catch it and hold it until the horses are gone, unless the rider indicates that their horse is unafraid.

Being cautious around animals is simply common sense.

Every day, children gather around our animals when we bring them out in public and their parents are grateful as we let the children pet and feed the horses. I hope these same people will show their appreciation by showing caution on the roads.

Marshfield, Duxbury and the surrounding towns support their agricultural community. Courtesy and safety needs to be a part of this support.


The Baker Farm


The public is already educated about teachers

I must respond to the letter to The Ledger from Linda Breen entitled "Public needs to be educated about teachers."

The writer states that the "U.S. is the only country in the world that educates everyone." Not true. My husband and I have relatives in various countries in Europe who have received, and are receiving, a free education.

And, yes, you can compare test scores. Many students in certain European countries do test higher than their American counterparts. I find it interesting that many children of immigrants excel in school; i.e., Asian students in Quincy.

If the writer feels teachers deserve a larger salary, improved benefits, etc., I suggest she compare public school salaries and benefits with those of parochial and Christian schools. I rest my case.