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Video: Quick-thinking pro cyclist brings runaway horse under control during race

Lars Daniels, who grew up around the animals, showed impressive bike-handling and horsemanship skills at the Arden Challenge in Belgium

Dramatic footage shows the moment a cyclist competing in a race in Belgium last week grabbed the reins of a runaway horse that had entered the peloton, with the rider using some impressive bike-handling skills to bring it under control, explaining afterwards that his upbringing had led to him becoming familiar with the animals.

The quick-thinking cyclist, 23-year-old Lars Daniels of the Antwerp Cycling Team Kontich grabbed the reins of the horse, which was saddled but had lost its rider, inside the final 10 kilometres of Wednesday’s opening stage of the Arden Challenge in Belgium’s Luxembourg province, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

Reflecting on what had happened afterwards, Daniels said: “ “I thought, ‘How do I solve this?’ Because the horse kept surging forward, and if the animal were to run into the peloton or be hit by the support vehicles, the damage would be incalculable.

“I decided to ride next to it to reassure the horse,” he continued. “I grabbed the reins and hit the brakes as hard as I could to bring the animal to a stop.

“Soon, a police officer on a motorcycle came to tell me that he would take over, because of course I had to move on as quickly as possible. Apparently the [horse’s] rider was already approaching at that moment, following on the back of another police motorcycle.”

Footag of the incident was captured from within a car following the riders, with Daniels’ actions drawing praise from the occupants, one saying, “He knows what he’s doing. Well done, that lad.”

The rider confirmed afterwards that “I do indeed have some experience of horses. As a young boy, I grew up at a horse-riding school, and today I still go to jumping events and have friends who often ride horses.

With the incident happening so late during the stage, any chance Daniels might have had of a high placing vanished.

“But I was taking part for the prizes anyway,” he said. “Fortunately, the road went downhill just there and thanks to the support vehicles I was able to quickly rejoin the peloton. In the end, I was able to arrive along with the rest of the group.”

Horse riders can often be seen on TV galloping alongside the peloton in fields along the route of races such as the Tour de France, but every now and then an incident similar to last Wednesday’s one can happen, with a loose horse finding its way onto the race route.

One high-profile incident happened a little over 12 months ago when SD Worx rider Demi Vollering had a very close call with a runaway horse on her way to winning Strade Bianche, with the episode fortunately not resulting in injury to either the cyclist or the animal.

> Demi Vollering gallops to Strade Bianche win – despite being slowed by runaway horse on course

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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4 comments

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Paul J | 3 months ago
1 like

Clearly holding on for far too long! Did he get a penalty?

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Bigfoz | 3 months ago
5 likes

Should have given him the win for saving the everyone from potential carnage!

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OldRidgeback replied to Bigfoz | 3 months ago
5 likes

Neigh chance of that sadly. The mane thing is he was able to hoof it and catch up to the posse. Wither he'll make hay from telling the tail later is another thing. 

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belugabob replied to OldRidgeback | 3 months ago
1 like
OldRidgeback wrote:

Neigh chance of that sadly. The mane thing is he was able to hoof it and catch up to the posse. Wither he'll make hay from telling the tail later is another thing. 

Unbridled puns

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