You have read up on the Rider Road Rules and are familiar with the laws on riding horses on the road in your area. Here are some additional safety tips that are not road rules, but are great ideas to help keep you and others safe on the road.
Before your ride:
- Do not ride a horse on roads if you cannot control them in an enclosed area first. Make sure you are a competent and confident rider before venturing out on to the roads.
- Can you execute a one rein stop?
- Do not to ride inexperienced horses on busy roads. Choose quiet roads until they are more accustomed. Riding with another experienced horse as a buddy may help.
- Is your horse safe around not just cars, but also heavy vehicles, motorbikes, bicycles, joggers, prams, dogs, and other wildlife? Consider all possible hazards before venturing out on to the roads.
- Try to choose safe routes that do not include narrow roads and blind corners.
- Avoid roads where it is not safe for cars to pass.
- Check all tack and make sure it is in good repair and strong. You do not want to be riding on a busy road and have tack failure.
- Wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing if you ride in the early mornings or evenings when the light is poor.
- It is not recommended to ride at night, but if you do, having lights as well as reflective clothing is advisable.
- Use reflective leg bandages and gear on your horse.
- Wear an approved riding helmet.
- Wear gloves.
- Make sure your horse has appropriate footwear for riding on rocky or hard road surfaces. They may need boots or shoes to walk on roads comfortably. High impact riding on hard surfaces can cause laminitis.
- Make sure the road surfaces are not slippery or too hot to ride on safely.
- Try not to ride in inclement weather. Any condition where visibility of drivers is reduced is dangerous i.e., rain, fog, smoke, or snow.
- Carry a phone with you, not in a saddle bag, in case you are separated from your horse.
During your ride:
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Be kind and courteous to drivers. Do not assume they are familiar with road rules or horses.
- Stop and let cars pass if safe to do so.
- Use the “lifesaver look” – Look, check all is clear, look again LOOK, LISTEN, AND THINK AHEAD at all times.
- Do not become complacent while riding. Keep your hands “on the wheel” at all times. Only use one hand to signal to drivers.
- Use precise hand signals to drivers. Make sure they can see you. Make eye contact.
- Be careful passing parked vehicles. Watch for opening doors and dogs.
- Dismount and lead your horse if situations become dangerous.
- Do not remount unless it is safe and easy to do so.
We hope these safety tips are useful. Be safe and happy trails!
Written By Neely H.