Ride .... responsibly - it doesn't matter how quick your reflexes are you need to think ahead about hazards you could encounter on the road ....... and Keep Your Eyes/Vision Up. Be Observant ..... and know what is happening around you. Consider driving conditions ...... particularly as the Seasons change. Each and every road and lane changes every time you ride it.
Horses are powerful animals and have extremely heightened senses. They are ‘flight’ animals, so many revert to their natural instincts at any time. The outcome of this can be extremely challenging for the rider and other road users.
The following tips give advice on riding and driving around horses from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
Hold back whilst getting enough information to pass safely. Do not get any closer than three car lengths and be careful not to creep into this space. Be prepared to slow down further or even stop to protect this space. Avoid sudden movements as horses may react. They can move incredibly quickly
Actions such as sounding your horn, revving your engine and playing loud music can spook the horse. Always drive gently and predictably. Remember there are three brains working, the driver’s, the rider’s and the horse’s
When passing them. We recommend at least a car’s width and make sure this is done slowly – remember always pass “slow and wide,” good advice is no more than 15mph
An inexperienced rider or a nervous animal being coached along by a more experienced companion. Give them some consideration
They will often give you signals asking you to stop or slow down. Riders will often acknowledge a safe pass but remember their top priority is to keep their hands on the reins and maintain control of the horse.
A rider and the horse may both be inexperienced and nervous in traffic
“Dealing safely with horses is a classic example of where applying the rules of good driving helps us to share space safely. Use the information around you – road signs, horses in fields, horse muck on the road or signs to an equestrian centre are all clues to help you anticipate meeting riders on the road. Controlling your speed so that you can deal with the unexpected is very important in rural areas. After that be sensible, don’t get too close and ‘wide and slow’ is the mantra.
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