If you do not drive at all or are too young to drive, your ability to judge speed, time and distance may not be as good as people who do drive. You may well feel that you have time to take that right turn before that car behind you catches up or feel that you have plenty of time to reach the gateway to allow a car to pass, it might not be the case and you end up with an irate and abusive driver. These situations can be really scary and can be avoided with the correct riding and road safety training. You are given training in a school and on road and sit a theory test as well as practical exam, again on road and in a school. It is thorough and well worth every minute.You should already know that horse riders must ride on the left hand side of the road but did you know your horse can legally take up the same space as a car? This doesn’t mean you should ride as close to the centre white line as you can but you do not have to stick so close to the trees, hawthorns and brambles that rip holes in your jodhpurs and shred your skin! Give yourself some room, create your safe bubble with a HV taped dressage whip or crop, if you have space you have more chance of gaining control over your horse should he spook or get scared by traffic. Riding in your rightful space also forces cars to slow down and check the oncoming traffic in order to overtake safely.
Turning right, you must stay left until you reach the shortest route to your right turn at ‘B’. Check the way is clear both ways before turning right.
Roundabouts - Again, you must stick to the left and only signal left when you are approaching the exit you wish to take. When passing exits you are not taking, signal right (this action tells other road users you are not taking that exit).
Hand signals are a vital part of road safety; they alone can tell approaching traffic of your intentions or to tell them to take an action that will avoid incidents. Before making any signals ensure that you look around to see whether it safe to begin.
Turning Right – Hold your reins in your left hand and hold your right arm out straight
Turning Left – Hold your reins in your right hand and hold your left arm out straight.
To Stop– Hold the reins in your left hand and hold your right arm behind you with your fingers and palm facing the traffic. It is advised by the BHS not to wave a driver on after you have asked them to stop, to avoid liability if they have an accident.
Slow Down– Hold the reins in your left hand and hold your right arm out with palm facing downwards and move you arm slowly up and down. It is advised by the BHS not to wave a driver on after you have asked them to slow, to avoid liability if they have an accident.
The Highway Code advises that young riders and riders of young or inexperienced horses ride on the inside of a steady and calm horse and rider. It is perfectly legal to ride two abreast but riders are expected to return to single file on narrow and/or busy roads and on bends.
Clothing and equipment
Children under the age of 14 MUST wear a helmet which complies with BS Standards. It MUST be fastened securely. Other riders should also follow these requirements. These requirements do not apply to a child who is a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban. All riders should wear;
It may be obvious but it is surprising how many riders do not take safety seriously and ride without due care and attention to other road users. Before taking your horse out on the road you must take steps to ensure the horse does not pose a high risk. Good ground training to desensitise your horse to potential hazards it may come across whilst out on a hack is essential. Many people become comfortable with their horse and forget that it can still spook. If you were riding in a lesson, your teacher would correct you, out on the road you are alone and need to correct yourself.•Always put both a bridle and saddle on your horse, wear a hat, hi viz, good riding boots, keep your feet in your stirrups and keep your hands on the reins except when signalling. •Never use your mobile phone whilst in the saddle, this device should be for emergencies only and ensure you have an ICE contact (in case of emergency) number easily accessible should an incident occur.•If safe to take a hand off the reins, say thank you by waving, nodding or smiling. This should be an automatic reaction!•Only ride when conditions are suitable. If you have trouble walking on the ice or snow then your horse will too.•You are responsible for the safety of your horse. If you care for it, you’ll protect it.
1Remember that there are more than 4.2 million riders in Britain and 26 million licensed vehicles on the roads. Every day there are more than 8 horse related traffic accidents – if you don’t wish to be one of this 8, take your Riding and Road Safety Test. To find out where you can take your test, please go to http://www.bhs.org.uk/Training_and_Qualifications/Riding_and_Road_Safety.aspx or The British Horse Society Examinations Department on 020476 840482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org