According to the British Horse Society statistics, 3,737 road incidents involving horses were reported from November 2010 – March 2019, a quarter of these which involved road rage or abuse.* Many riders try to avoid main roads, however sometimes they are unavoidable in order to reach bridle paths and other public walkways, which can unfortunately involve a greater chance of risk.
To help you stay safe on the road, we offer a reminder of some of the things riders can do to help prevent risks.
Wear the right gear – ensure you are wearing headgear that meets current approved standards, and whatever the weather or conditions, it is important to wear hi-viz, fluorescent and reflective clothing when hacking out; this can help reduce accidents as you will be more visible to other road users.
Pay attention! – Horses are unpredictable, especially in new and noisy environments, including roadworks, busy traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. Pay attention to your horse and the surrounding areas at all times.
Take your mobile – ensure you always carry a mobile phone with you when out riding. It would also be advised to have an ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) contact saved in your address book. Always make sure you let someone know your planned route and timings, then stick to it.
Watch the weather – all types of weather may increase risk of an accident, be it a clear sunny day (causing glare of the sun and reflections off the road) or a wet windy day (rain and wind can cause drivers not to look at all areas of the road). Ensure visibility is clear for others and avoid riding in icy or slippery conditions.
Young and inexperienced horses – if you have recently purchased a new horse or you have a young horse, it is important to get to know them, before taking them on the roads. Taking a companion with you for the first few times could help reduce risk of an accident.
Tags – it would be a good idea to attach a tag with your yard details and an emergency contact number to the saddle, in case you and your horse get separated.
Manners – Be sure to make clear and obvious signals when making turns and other manoeuvres, which will help other road users know what you are going to do next.
It is also important to thank other road users once they have slowed down for you. Sometimes road users find horses on the road frustrating. By being polite, this will help them feel better about other horse riders in the future.
Should the worst happen, are you covered correctly? Our specialist Equine team at McClarrons, who are heavily involved with horses outside of work, understand your priorities and the challenges you face. We take the time to understand your specific needs and find a suitable policy for you and your horse(s).
If you would like a complimentary review of your insurances or would like to find out more, please contact our Equine Team on 01653 609152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find out more about our Equine Business Insurance offering, here.