“Promoting safety for horses & riders on UK roads”
©2014 Horses & Road Safety Awareness
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Driving a horse is a great way to exercise it without needing to ride. It is perfect for the smaller equine, larger ones and donkeys too.  Many people will train a horse to drive to give it strength in the hind quarters and also to teach it to work confidently without needing the comfort of a human near by and there are many driving classes at shows for horses.  Road and horse driving etiquette Horse riders: Try to ensure you know your horse is used to carts if you know you will encounter them. Treat the carriage as a vehicle and ensure your horse does not get too close to the wheels. Remember the horse in front can not see behind it with the blinkers. Do not canter towards or past the carriage without letting the driver know you are there and plan to pass. Be prepared to stop if asked. Remember that it takes longer to stop a horse with a carriage, and more space to turn. Give time and consideration. Carriage drivers: Ensure your horse is suitably trained to be in the conditions you plan to drive. Be mindful of riders and do not rush past them. Slow to a walk and ask if it is okay for you to pass. If the horse becomes distressed, stop and let it go past you. You are essentially a vehicle and should act how you expect a vehicle would. Do not canter on the roads. Use the correct hand signals and follow the laws of the road. Drivers and grooms should both wear hiviz vests, and the cart should have a visable sign on the back. Horses can have a hiviz martingale or brow band. All carriages should have reflectors if driving in the dark, red to the back and white to the front. Vehicle drivers: Treat a horse and carriage with as much respect as you would a horse and rider on the road. Slow down to 15mph or slower if needed. Pass them as wide as you would another car. Do not sound your horn or rev your engine if you are coming up behind, this does not alert them to your presence it only causes fear. Only start to pick up speed again when you are well past the horse, not the carriage. The horse will not see you until you are past its head due to the blinkers (eye covers) but it will hear you all the time. If you see the horse struggle, slow down and back off until it is safe to pass. Carriages and the law As per the highway code: Contacts: British Driving Society - http://www.britishdrivingsociety.co.uk/ HorseSolicitor - http://www.horsesolicitor.co.uk/
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“Horse-drawn vehicles used on the highway should be operated and maintained in accordance with standards set out in the Department for Transport’s Code of Practice for Horse-Drawn Vehicles. This Code lays down the requirements for a road driving assessment and includes a comprehensive list of safety checks to ensure that a carriage and its fittings are safe and in good working order. The standards set out in the Road Driving Assessment may be required to be met by a Local Authority if an operator wishes to obtain a local authority licence to operate a passenger-carrying service. All horse-drawn vehicles should have two red rear reflectors. It is safer not to drive at night but if you do, a light showing white to the front and red to the rear MUST be fitted. Law RVLR 1989 reg 4”