Whilst there are many public bridleways and byways in the UK to ride horses on, for many horse owners riding on the road is a daily activity. Our horse insurance team are often out and about on the roads with their horses, so they understand first-hand the difference between drivers that pass them considerately and knowledgably and those that are unaware of the dangers of driving quickly near horses.
We found out what the official advice for drivers when they encounter horses on the road is and how horses on the road should be overtaken.
How to overtake horse riders
The British Horse Society – a leading equine charity that provides a strong voice for horses and people and which spreads awareness through support, training and education - advises drivers who are overtaking horse and rider to:
- Observe a maximum speed of 10mph
- Check the road is clear before overtaking
- Don’t sound the horn or rev the engine
- Pass wide and slow giving at least a 2-metre gap between the car and the horse/s
- Drive away slowly
The British Horse Society has a useful video with this information and further details below:
The Highway Code also contains important information on overtaking horse riders and highlights that horses are unpredictable and flight animals and they can move very quickly if they are startled. There are three brains at work when horses are on the road – the horse’s, the rider’s and the driver’s. Another valid point made in the Highway Code is that many riders out on the roads are children and that they may be being escorted by an adult riding double file on the road – so extra care from drivers may be needed.
The role horse riders play out on the roads is also important to safety. A smile and a thank you to passing cars promotes good relationships between drivers and riders. If it is possible for horse riders to pull in safely to let cars pass then this is often also appreciated by drivers.
Horse riders can also help with their safety out on the roads by always wearing a hi-viz coat or tabard. The sooner drivers can see a rider, the sooner they have the chance to slow down. Even on a sunny, bright day – a dark horse in the shadow of trees on the road can be not clear to spot from a distance.
Before taking your horse out on the road, always make sure you have the correct insurance in place.
SEIB have been arranging insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen.