Q755: Can you offer any advice for horse riders with regards to being on the road?
Children under the age of 14 are legally obliged to wear a securely fastened helmet, and it is advisable that all other riders do the same as a safety precaution. It is also recommended that riders wear fluorescent clothing, particularly at night time, to ensure that they can easily be seen by passing motor vehicle drivers. You can also add fluorescent bands to your horse's legs and tail. If you use any lighting to increase your visibility, it should show a white light to the front and red to the rear.
Before taking a horse out on the roads you should ensure that the bridle and saddle are securely fitted and that you are confident controlling the horse. If your horse is nervous around traffic, it would be advisable to initially ride as part of a group, until your horse is more confident. When riding on the roads, you must not ride on the pavements and should avoid riding on cycle lanes.
When riding on the roads you should have consideration for other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and should take note of the following safety guidelines:
- Keep to the left.
- Keep both hands on the reins unless you are signalling.
- Keep both feet in the stirrups.
- Do not carry another person.
- Do not carry anything which might affect your balance or get tangled up with the reins.
- If you are leading a horse while walking, you should keep the horse to your left.
- Move in the direction of the traffic flow when on a one-way street.
- Never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.
Regarding the guidelines above, you should also consider how certain actions affect may affect your concentration levels e.g. talking on mobile phones or listening to music through headphones etc., while riding. You should also ensure that you are fully aware of your surroundings at all times.