It seems sadly more and more frequently we as horse riders are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of riding on the roads.
Whether you ride on main roads or more country lanes you must abide by the highway code and make sure you consider your horses, other roads users and your own safety at all times.
This week marks Road Safety Week across the UK and we have pulled together some further pointers to help keep you safe whilst you are on the road.
Be Safe Be Seen – Always wear a hard hat conforming to the current standards and hi visibility clothing such as a tabard or jacket. Hi visibility attire for your horse is also recommended and hi visibility gear should be worn at all times on the road not just in darker conditions.
Position Yourself – ride on the left hand side of the road near the kerb and never ride more than two abreast. Riding two abreast can be useful when riding a young or inexperienced horse, with the more experienced horse being nearest to the centre, however keep an eye out for traffic and return to single file when vehicles approach with the experienced horse taking the lead.
Be Aware – don’t ride with headphones plugged in or other devices like your phone which can take away your concentration and stop you from hearing traffic or potential hazards. Ensure you are regularly looking behind and remain aware of your surroundings at all time. Choose a route you know and be aware of potential hazards and problems, avoiding them where possible.
Be Clear – when approaching junctions, passing hazards or turning on roads make sure you give clear signals even if you aren’t aware of any immediate traffic. Hold your hand signals in the correct position for at least three seconds and always watch and listen for traffic before making any turns, or changes in direction.
Be Courteous – always acknowledge drivers who take extra care whilst passing you or stop to allow you to pass. This can be done by raising a hand if safe to do so. When riding a young or inexperienced horse it is best to give a gentle nod of the head and smile!
Don’t forget where possible always hack with others, plan your route in advance and ensure you take a working fully charged mobile with you (to remain in your pocket unless needed). Tell friends or family the route you are planning on going and most importantly remain aware and alert at all times, even on the quieter roads.
Before enjoying your hacking make sure you have adequate insurance coverage should the worst happen. Equestrian Liability insurance can cover you for public liability should a member of the public make a claim against you or your horse, whilst having your own personal horse riding insurance policy also means should you have an accident out hacking and be unable to work, your income can remain protected at a time when it is needed the most.
Don’t forget Shearwater Insurance can help find you find the best coverage for all your needs.