Horses and Ponies – Riding on the Road
At some point in time, any horse rider will face the challenge of riding on the road. Therefore, it’s important to learn safe riding practice when negotiating a busy road. The life of you, the horses and ponies you ride, and other road users can be put at risk as a result of unsafe riding.
Learn more about how to horse ride by road in the guide below.
Riding on the Road: How to Horse Ride Safely
1. Never head out onto the road without wearing a riding hat. Failing to wear a riding hat on a busy road could result in a serious injury or even death should an accident occur. Always make sure a riding hat matches up to current safety standards.
2. Monitor the condition of your horse tack on a regular basis – you need to watch out for the signs of wear and tear. Riding on the road can be extremely dangerous, so it’s important to ensure all your clothing is correctly fitted and all equipment is in good working order before heading out onto the road. Sensible riders should also always wear horse riding safety vests so other road users are always aware of the presence of horses on the road.
3. Always ride on the side of the road that matches the direction of traffic – in the UK, this means you should stick to the left hand side of the road. Riding against the traffic flow is extremely unsafe, and it’s simply not worth taking such a risk with the lives of other road users. This is probably the most important of all rules when it comes to learning how to horse ride safely by road.
4. Although when it comes to riding on the road this point may seem a little obvious, it’s best to avoid using a road for riding when visibility is low, such as in the evenings or during treacherous wintery conditions. If you have no choice but to ride on the road during the winter, read our guide to riding horses in the winter.
5. Observe the rules of the road. Bear in mind that other road users may be extremely patient as they give you room and time to negotiate a road with your horse, so be respectful and acknowledge other road users. However, you should ensure you are in full control of the horse as you motion your thanks.
6. There are certain signals that you need to offer when travelling via road with horses and ponies. Use hand signals to gesture your intentions to other road users. Always signal if you intend to move left or right. If you have no choice but to ask a driver to stop, raise your hand with your palm lofted high towards the vehicle.
7. Finally, never head out onto the road without informing a fellow rider or friend of your intentions. If possible, try and alert them to the amount of time you plan to spend riding on the road. Relaying this information could be crucial should a serious accident occur whilst you are out riding.
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