Staying safe on your horse this winter

3 minute read

Winter brings out two types of horse owners – those who love the cold fresh mornings and no flies and those who dread the never ending rain and mud! Regardless of which type you are it is likely that you will continue to face the harsh realities of riding on the roads. Sadly with the advent of increasing traffic sharing the roads with vulnerable road users, such as horse riders, accidents are becoming more common place.

We share our top tips on safe riding and what to do if you encounter difficulties on the road:

  • Make sure you are there to be seen. Ensure that you always have some form of high visibility safety wear on both you and your horse. Consider not only the position of the” high viz” but also the colour depending where you ride and what time of day. For example, pink has been considered more visible when riding on high hedged country roads.
  • Consider investing in a Hat Cam. The Police will follow up poor behaviour by drivers if a clear registration plate can be seen. It can also act as a deterrent if drivers think they are being filmed.
  • Always make sure you are appropriately dressed – a hard hat to the appropriate standard, suitable footwear with a heel and gloves. It is a legal requirement for children under the age of 14 to always wear a hat when riding on the road
  • Report all incidents of poor behaviour directed towards horse riders by other road users to the British Horse Society
  • Consider the time of your ride and the weather conditions. As we all know, dark heavy cloud and rain can make a winter day considerably darker than the time would suggest, therefore if in any doubt wait for another day.
  • Make sure you are always in possession of Public Liability Insurance. Members of the British Horse Society and World Horse Welfare are automatically covered under their membership as are those who are part of the Harry Hall Club. You are also usually able to add Public Liability on to your standard veterinary fees policy but you may need to specifically request this addition. Please do not assume it is automatic
  • Riders are allowed to direct traffic. For example if you feel a driver is approaching to fast you are entitled to ask them to slow down by holding your arm out nearest to the middle of the road at 90°(just like you would when you signal to turn) and slowly wave it up and down
  • If a commercial vehicle shows particularly good conduct, let the company know.
  • If an accident does occur please seek legal advice. Falls from horses onto roads can often result in bad falls and injuries and whilst not all may attract a personal injury claim those that do can help fund necessary rehabilitation to help you get back in the saddle.
  • It is not always necessary to be able identify the perpetrator of an accident. The Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) compensates victims of accidents caused by untraced drivers therefore it is always worth reporting an incident of poor driving to the police, particularly if ultimately causes the rider or horse to be injured, and seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor
  • Finally, if you are able, always thank drivers for slowing down. Presenting a positive image of horse riders on the road will encourage drivers to continue to be mindful and lead to greater harmony on the road

Read our previous article for further reading on the changes to the Highway Code that give more protection to vulnerable road users.


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