Horse Riders on the Road – Safety Advice for Drivers

This blog post is our first guest post, written by Sandy Robey.  Sandy, an experienced horse rider, has been trained to ride on the roads, and has gained her BHS Riding and Road Safety certificate.  She has a keen interest in sharing any knowledge that could contribute to improved road safety, for both drivers and riders, when encountering horses on the road.  Whilst we are a car body repair shop, our aim here is to help our customers to avoid accidents in the first place, so are pleased to share Sandy’s blog below:

Increasingly, the roads are becoming more and more dangerous for both horses and riders.  Whilst some may believe that horses should not be ridden on busy roads, it is a fact that this does happen, so here is something that might help to lessen the probability of contact between horse and car.

A trained horse rider will know that when riding on the road, the horse’s head should always be slightly bent to his outside, such that his right eye can see what is approaching from behind.  If for any reason, the horse is spooked by what he sees, he will shy away from that eye (i.e. he will move towards the edge of the road).  Conversely, therefore, if he is looking behind with his left eye, he is most likely to shy into the road – so, towards, or in front of, any overtaking car.

As you approach a horse and rider with the intention of overtaking, therefore, make sure you slow down and have a good look at the horse’s head.  Can you see his right eye?  If so, it is likely that he is being ridden by a trained rider,  and it is also very likely that the horse has spotted you approaching!  If this is the case, you can proceed slowly and carefully, leaving plenty of room between yourself and the horse, with some confidence that nothing untoward is likely to happen.  If, perchance, the  horse takes a dislike to your car, he is likely to move away from you.

If, however, you cannot see either of the horse’s eyes – or, worse, you can see his left eye – then you are approaching a dangerous situation.  In this case, proceed very slowly, with extreme caution – ensure a very big gap between yourself and the horse, and be ready to stop at any moment.  If the horse spooks for any reason, he’s very likely to spook towards you, and may collide with your car.  Whilst you cannot avoid this happening, there will be less damage and injury caused if your car is stationary.

Above all, please remember never to sound your horn, or excessively rev your engine – the outcome could well be catastrophic!