Whether you plan to ride your horse or pony on the road for a couple of minutes or for a few hours, knowing the rules of the road is an essential requirement.
Road accidents involving horse and rider are widely publicised in the media, which has resulted in several initiatives being launched by various equestrian bodies such as the British Horse Society (BHS) as well as government campaigns such as ‘Think!’. The key to road safety is education for both rider and driver, so that both parties can safely use roads in rural areas.
We’ve put together some important tips to help both riders and drivers share the roads without incident.
Road safety for riders
- Avoid riding at dawn/dusk when visibility is compromised or poor weather conditions e.g. fog.
- Fluorescent clothing is essential and there are plenty options on the market for both horse and rider which include flashing LED lights and hi viz materials.
- If you’re riding a young or nervous horse, try to have an experienced horse and rider accompany you on any outings.
- Leave details of where you intend to go and your ETA back at the yard.
- Never ride more than two abreast.
- Check weather conditions and daylight hours before you set off.
- Ride to the left of the road, as close to the kerb/verge as possible.
- When approaching a junction, maintain the left hand side road position, even if you intend to turn right, this will allow plenty of space between any oncoming cars turning into the junction.
Road safety for drivers
- Reduce your speed, a new campaign from the BHS recommends 15mph or less when passing a horse and rider.
- Ensure you follow any signals from the rider to either slow down or stop.
- Don’t drive closely behind the horse and don’t rev your engine or sound your horn.
- Pass wide and slow and don’t accelerate until you are well ahead of the horse and rider.
- Horses are unpredictable animals – allow plenty of space in case they are spooked.
The BHS offer a Riding and Road Safety test which can help to improve rider’s confidence and knowledge on the rules of the road.
To access more tips, guides and advice for you and your horse, visit the Equestrian section of the ArdMoor blog.