Now that lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, the number of riders looking to take their horses out on the road is likely to increase. Horses are powerful animals and have extremely heightened senses, so passing them in a car or on a motorbike needs to be done safely to protect the horse, rider, and yourself.
Unfortunately, the British Horse Society has reported that nearly two horses are killed each week on UK roads. With that in mind, here are some tips from Richard Gladman, Head of Driving and Riding Standards at IAM RoadSmart, on how best to pass a horse safely.
If you’re approaching a horse from behind:
Most riders, and occasionally their horses will be in hi-vis so you should see them and able to slow down in good time. Remember in the countryside they could be around any corner.
When passing the horse and rider make sure you give plenty of space. We recommend at least a car’s width and ensure it’s done slowly. Remember to always pass “wide and slow” and to stick to 15mph or under. Take a look at this video explaining it from the British Horse Society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJfZM41oUOE
If a horse is approaching on the other side of the road:
Richard Says “Horses are intelligent animals that may have anxieties just as we do, driving in a manner that allows the horse to stay calm and the rider to remain in control is the safest thing for all of us. A few moments out of your day to make sure everyone is safe is worthwhile. Riders are encouraged to take the BHS safety course and make sure they are well prepared. As drivers we can do our part by making sure we share the road space safely.”
If you see any incidents involving a horse and rider please contact the police with any information you have. You’re also able to report an incident through this website: https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/safety/report-an-incident