March 25th, 2017 marks the National Equestrian Safety Day and, with the evenings about to become lighter, enticing more riders to go out on the roads and competition season really kicking off, there couldn’t be a better time to talk about safety for both riders and drivers.
Luckily, there are plenty of things that riders and drivers can to ensure that the roads can be a safe place for all users and, to keep you in the know, we’ve outlined just a few so that you can stay safe in the spirit of Equestrian Safety Day.
Pass slow and wide
When on the roads, horses can get spooked by cars. This can easily lead to road accidents and riders being thrown from their horses
For optimum safety for drivers, riders, and horses alike, as a general rule, drivers should drive slow when passing a horse and give them a wide berth.
If you’re a rider who needs to signal to a driver to slow down, hold your right arm out straight and lift it up and down.
When riding on the roads, you should be aware of the obligations you have in terms of The Highway Code.
The Highway Code is packed full of information for riders in terms of the rules of the road and safety precautions, so it is essential that riders are aware of the rules and regulations that apply to them.
If an accident happens
In the event of a road accident involving a horse, it is common for both the horse and the rider to become injured.
Any accident or near miss should be reported to the police as soon as possible and the emergency services should be contacted immediately if necessary.
If possible, warn oncoming traffic of the incident as they approach. This will prevent any more accidents from happening.
Regardless of how much riding experience you have or whether or not your horse frequently spooks, accidents can happen, especially on the road.
You should try to keep a first aid kit on your person in case of injury, and basic first aid should be carried out on both the horse and the rider if necessary.
Horse Safety Tips For Riders
- Have as many riding lessons as you can so that you feel more confident and you’re as experienced as possible.
- If you fall off your horse, make sure you replace your helmet straight away. You might not be able to see the damage to the helmet, but the fall could have created a weakness.
- Try to avoid riding on the roads if visibility is impaired, such as by fog or other poor weather conditions. If you absolutely must ride in poor visibility, make sure to wear high-vis clothing.
Horse Safety Tips For Drivers
- Never rev your engine or sound your horn around horses as this can spook them.
- When driving near a horse, be sure to slow right down and be prepared to stop if necessary.
- Be aware that the rider may signal to you to slow down or they may signal to let you know their next move.
If you’re interested in dressage, check out our post on eight competitions in 2017 for you to showcase your dressage skills.