No matter where you’re riding a horse, safety is always of paramount importance. But, when you’re on the road, there are some additional risks that you need to be aware of to make sure you and your horse remain out of harm’s way.
If done correctly, riding a horse on the road shouldn’t present too many issues. However, there are a number of risks associated with taking a horse on the road. So, it’s absolutely vital that you don’t become complacent in any way and you’re as safe as possible.
But, what sort of steps should you be taking to make sure that you remain safe while riding a horse on the road? That’s exactly what we’ll be taking a closer look at in the following post.
So, to avoid suffering a serious injury, or having to file for a hit and run injury claim related to riding a horse on the road, make sure to pay attention to the tips listed below.
Tips for Staying Safe When Riding a Horse on the Road
Always Follow the Highway Code
The Highway Code has a section relating to horses on the road, which you should always make sure you refer back to whenever you plan to ride on the road. The Highway Code contains all the information you need to know about the specific rules relating to riding on the road, as well as codes of practice and traffic laws.
For instance, it provides information about equestrian crossings, safety equipment, and riding at night, all of which need to be carefully followed.
Always wear Appropriate Clothing
When you’re riding a horse on the road, you need to make sure that you have all of the appropriate clothing and equipment. This might include a riding helmet, high-visibility clothing and flat footwear with a solid heel.
It’s also important to tailor your clothing depending on what time of day you’re planning on riding on the road. If you’re riding during the day you should use light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in the daylight, and reflective clothing when riding at night or in poor visibility.
Keep an Eye on Weather Conditions Where Possible
Riding on the road in poor weather conditions could be a potential safety risk, so it’s important to be aware of the conditions that could crop up.
It goes without saying, but you should try to avoid riding if it’s raining heavily, snowing, or visibility is restricted by mist or fog.
Avoid Busy Times of the Day
If you’re out on the road, you’ll want to make sure that you avoid busy times of the day, such as the traditional rush hour. When you have to ride on busy roads with plenty of traffic, there are a number of additional hazards you’ll be forced to contend with.
Your fellow road users will also have more room to manoeuvre when they come to pass you, making the circumstances much safer for everybody involved.
Make Sure You’re Riding an Experienced and Trusted Horse
When you’re out on the road, you’ll want to be sure that you’re riding a horse that’s experienced and you know that you can trust. Going out onto the road on an inexperienced and nervous horse could end in disaster, especially if you’re not used to riding on the road yourself.
If you have no choice but to ride an unproven horse, it may be a good idea to accompany them with more experienced ones.
Always Accompany Young Riders on the Road
Young riders out on the road are immediately at risk, as they have much less general road sense and riding proficiency. You should therefore be sure to always accompany young riders on the road so that you can keep them as safe as possible.
This could involve riding ahead of them so that you can spot potential hazards and deal with them in the right manner.
Make Sure Other Road Users are Aware of You
You should always be polite and courteous to other road users, as this helps to ensure that they’re fully aware of you and that they’ll be as cautious as possible when passing.
Mutual courtesy between riders and motorists is also important as it creates a much more positive reputation for riders in general, which will improve safety in the long-term.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
You always need to be on your toes and ready for any possible emergency situation while you’re riding on the road. That will often include carrying a phone on you at all times to ensure you can contact someone if something does end up happening.
You should also have the name and number of someone who can be contacted in case of emergencies, as well as details about yourself and contact details for your vet should something happen to both you and your horse.
Focusing your attention on the road is absolutely critical if you want to be as safe as possible while riding. That will include avoiding any potential distractions, such as using a phone or having headphones on.
Take a Training Course
If you’ve never ridden a horse on the road before, or even if you think that you need a refresher, it’s essential that you take a training course so you can get practical experience in a safe, controlled environment.
The British Horse Society run a Ride Safe assessment which provides guidance on situations relating to riding on different surfaces, negotiating unexpected hazards, and understanding common signs on the road.
Are You Ready to Ride a Horse Safely on the Road?
In this post, we’ve gone over some of the most important tips you should keep in mind if you plan on riding a horse on the road safely. As with anything related to riding horses, practice does make perfect, so make sure you always stay patient and never rush into anything you don’t feel fully comfortable with.
Have you got any more tips for fellow horse riders? If so, be sure to leave them in the comments below!