Everything Horse magazine February 2014 - Page 34

Riding and Road Safety The Highway Code ... Be Seen ... Be Safe Part 1 An overall view on how to reduce your risk and keep safe on the roads Hacking out, is for a lot of riders, the most surfaces, potholes, blind corners that restrict enjoyable part of their time with their horses, drivers vision and little passing room. especially in nice weather and with friends. Even the shortest journey on a quiet road can have a significant risk. Visibility is often poor In an ideal world all riders would be able to leave their yards having access, that doesn’t even throughout the the day, it doesn’t have include riding on the roads, straight on to to be dark to increase the risk of danger when hacking on the road. It has been noted that bridleways or suitable riding tracks. This is not the case for most riders, they cannot avoid drivers are far more likely to speed on rural roads, there is also a higher risk of drink driving riding on the roads, when hacking. on these roads. The BHS believe there to be In reality no rider wants their horse to put one around 3000 road/horse related accidents per hoof on tarmac, especially the rural roads that are not maintained as well as urban roads year in the UK, over half of them are on the and motorways. Rural roads often have rough rural roads. “Visitbility is often poor even throughout the day, it doesn’t have to be dark to increase the risk of danger when hacking out on the road” CLICK HERE TO BE DIRECTED TO INFORMATION REGARDING THE RIDING AND ROAD SAFETY TEST WITH THE BHS 34 Everything Horse UK Magazine • February 2014 • Issue 5 Vital points to consider before hacking: 1. Preparation and Training It is essential to gain as much knowledge as possible about road safety, before riding your horse on the roads. An important point to remember is that you cannot predict another person’s behaviour, or how your horse will react to a situation, vehicle or object they have not seen before. Even ‘bomb proof’ horses have off days and get spooked. 2. Desensitising your horse Horses are herd animals with a flight instinct if they are scared or upset by an object or noise. The taller something is and the faster it moves the more likely your horse is to find it scary, horses don’t really focus on an object until it stops. So in a situation where a big noisy truck is relentlessly approaching your horse it may have a reason to want to escape. When a horse gets spooked ‘I will get off its too scary’ can be a riders reaction, however when you have 100’s of pounds of frightened horse  it is much harder to control from the ground and Some Top Tips to make it safer whilst on the Road • Make it a habit to wear high visibility and safety clothing at all times. • Always tell someone where you are going, how long you expect to be out. • Take a mobile phone for emergencies, never use a mobile phone or have earphones in when riding. • Identification tags on your hat and your horses tack, in case you become separated. • Always be aware of what is going on around you and what the potential hazards might be. Issue 5 • February 2014 • Everything Horse UK Magazine you risk being dragged in to ۘ