Horses for Courses not for Roads!

26 Jun

Last year the BHS believes over 3000 horses and ponies were involved in incidents on the UK roads
Some of these accidents may well be caused by riders not doing the right things when they have to take to the roads. Not being in the right place on the road, or not wearing hi-viz aids that might have given the driver more time to see and avoid them.

But from experience the finger points mainly at the drivers. Too much traffic. Too many drivers in too much of an impatient hurry. Too many drivers who don’t have a clue how to drive when horses are in the equation. Too many idiots driving as though they own the road – especially the smaller country roads.

(The Laughable……. ) Highway Code Rules for Horses:

You MUST NOT take a horse onto a footpath or pavement, and you should not take a horse onto a cycle track. Use a bridleway where possible.

Safety equipment. Children under the age of 14 MUST wear a helmet which complies with the Regulations. It MUST be fastened securely.

Other clothing. You should wear

  • boots or shoes with hard soles and heels (No white Stiletoes then, you ‘ Essex girls’ one of which I am)
  • light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight ( No Lady Godiva’s then!)
  • reflective clothing if you have to ride at night or in poor visibility (Horse headlamps, back-lights and indicator’s as sold on Ebay)

'If all else fails, at least your wearing the right clothing'

Before you take a horse on to a road, you should

  • ensure all tack fits well and is in good condition (Nooooooooo really……How obvious was that advice?)
  • make sure you can control the horse (Even if it does need to go to number two’s)

Always ride with other, less nervous horses if you think that your horse will be nervous of traffic. Never ride a horse without both a saddle and bridle. ( On other words – stay off the road! )

Before riding off or turning, look behind you to make sure it is safe, then give a clear arm signal. (Look, Mirror, signal…)

When riding on the road you should

  • keep to the left (oh how very British)
  • keep both hands on the reins unless you are signalling (No Lassoing then…)
  • keep both feet in the stirrups (what about when you want to get off?)
  • not carry another person (what about if it’s a life and death situation?)
  • not carry anything which might affect your balance or get tangled up with the reins (No trips to MFI then?)
  • keep a horse you are leading to your left (Depends if you value your life more than the horses)
  • move in the direction of the traffic flow in a one-way street (or walk your horse backwards)
  • never ride more than two abreast, (Lady Godiva) and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends (and at low speeds with warning lights)

54

You MUST NOT take a horse onto a footpath or pavement, (Marks & Spencers don’t appreciate Horses) and you should not take a horse onto a cycle track. (what if your horse is on a bike?) Use a bridleway where possible. (In a built up area that’s easy! ) Equestrian crossings may be provided for horse riders to cross the road and you should use these where available (see Rule 27).  (Have you ever seen a Lolly Pop Horse Lady?)You should dismount at level crossings where a ‘horse rider dismount’ sign is displayed.

Dismount

(who’s seen one of these signs then?)

'Ask your horse to bow down going through tunnel if too tall'

[Laws HA 1835 sect 72, R(S)A 1984, sect 129(5)]

Avoid roundabouts wherever possible. If you use them you should

  • keep to the left and watch out for vehicles crossing your path to leave or join the roundabout  (like a Carousel)
  • signal right when riding across exits to show you are not leaving
  • signal left just before you leave the roundabout
Serious now:
Moan of the Day: (Are the high way code division suggesting that horse rider’s are thick? Above being common sense, but not qualified regulation) 
Surely to have a horse on the road they should have the following:
  • License
  • Insurance & Public Liability insurance
  • Riding Test 
  • Age Restriction 
On a serious note, over 3000 accidents a year is far too many.
Living by the country we see horses on roads regularly and in some cases very small children who are not in control of their horse and have witnessed a spooked horse with a child in control. If we have more hefty law abiding regulations, I believe the statistics would speak for themselves!
Horses for courses NOT Roads – Stop road accidents by sticking to fields.
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