For 39-year-old traffic marshal Uvarajah A/L Krishnasam, nothing in his 16 years of experience had prepared him for a runaway horse on the expressway.
Uva, who holds the rank of Auxiliary Police Force Sergeant with Certis, was shown in viral videos on Facebook last Saturday (July 8) guiding a brown horse that had escaped onto the Bukit Timah Expressway.
He told Mothership that it was one of his wildest encounters during all his years of service.
His thoughts on the unique experience have also been detailed in a Facebook post by Certis on July 11.
What he usually does
Uva, a father of two, serves as a first responder for the Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS) Team, and is a certified LTA traffic marshal.
When incidents on the expressway are flagged up to the LTA, he and other outriders would head out to the locations to assess and resolve the situation.
Typically, he would be expected to perform tasks like managing traffic on the ground and calling for EMAS recovery vehicles to be deployed.
Definitely a far cry from handling horses though.
Switched off his bike siren and lights so as not to spook it
Uva said that when he received the incident alert on July 8, he was shocked to hear about a runaway horse on the roads, and was concerned about how to ensure the safety of both the horse and other road users.
When he reached the location, he spotted the horse at the Turf Club Avenue exit and observed the animal carefully as he slowly made his way towards it.
He also made sure to switch off his bike siren and lights so as not to spook the animal.
“It was a very big and muscular horse, and I was only afraid of getting kicked," Uva admitted.
As an animal lover with four dogs, Uva revealed that he had ridden a horse before on holiday, but never actually had to handle one.
Patted the horse's face to reassure it
Once he was close enough, the traffic marshal parked his motorbike by the roadside, and walked towards the horse.
He waited for the right moment before patting the animal's face gently to reassure it and win its trust.
After it had calmed down, Uva held onto the horse's lead firmly, and ushered the horse steadily on the road towards Singapore Turf Club, where one of the club's horse handlers arrived to take over from him.
He later said that his biggest challenge was handling the horse while directing traffic away at the same time.
When asked why the horse would have trusted him, Uva mused that his uniform was similar to that of a jockey, so perhaps it was familiar to the horse.
Horse had panicked and run away during training session
According to Certis who spoke to the horse handler, the horse in question was one of the newer members of the stable.
That day, it had been practising with a new trainer when it panicked and ran away, through the unsecured stable gate.
But for Uva, the day's unlikely horse handler, he was just glad that everything went well without further incident.
He was also proud that he had been selected for the EMAS team, a role that he took up two years ago.
“This is the best part of the job, where we get to encounter something different each and every day," he shared.
Top image from Raven Qiu / Certis on Facebook.