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Driver Awareness

Horse & Rider

Whether its down to spending more time at home and usual weekend activities being off, one thing i have noticed more of recently is horses on the road. Naturally i am talking about my own local area and not the country as a whole. This is no great shock as we do have a number of livery yards and equestrian centre’s in my area. My running patterns have also changed meaning i may be out earlier than i normally would be.

What has surprised me though is that even in the smaller hours of the morning. With even less vehicles on the road. Some drivers still do not seem to understand how to react when they see a horse on the road. Even with all the reflective attire making it clear and obvious that they are there.

This got me thinking about putting together a piece to help educate. There are people out there who will never have ridden a horse, therefore might not understand the risks.

Easily Spooked

Horses are easily spooked. Known as flight animals their instinctive reaction would be to get away from whatever scared it as quickly as possible. When on a road it is more likely to be caused by revving an engine or sounding your horn when close by. This not only puts the horse in danger but the rider too. The horse could bolt in any direction, in front of other traffic, and lose it’s rider at any point in this process. This is obviously extremely dangerous for all parties.

What to do

Some simple pointers upon seeing a horse;

  1. Slow down and be ready to stop.
  2. Look at the rider in front of you and watch for potential signals.They could be wishing to cross the road and need you to stop.
  3. Ensure you pass wide and slowly, if possible use the other lane.
  4. Be mindful not to rev your engine or use your horn whilst passing.
  5. Only accelerate after you have cleared the horse and in a sensible manner.
  6. Don’t be offended if the rider doesn’t raise their hand in thanks, their safety is more important. They may nod their head or verbally say Thank You if both hands need to remain on the reins

It will add, at most, a minute to most journeys. It will however, ensure safety for all involved.

Remember that it is quite possible that driver, horse and rider could all be nervous.

What would you like to see in a guide to help people understand the importance of passing horses safely?

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