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The importance of road safety when out hacking is growing more essential every day.
Despite recent changes in the highway code that were created to increase the safety of horses and their riders, there has been a rise in horse fatalities and rider’s injuries on UK roads.
There has been a 21% increase of horses killed on the roads in 2022, compared to the previous year.
This is a worrying thought, especially when many riders live in an area where their main hacking options include riding on the road.
However, there are safety measures we as equestrians can take to prevent any accidents and unwanted dangers.
The highway code states that riders should wear safety equipment, including helmets, boots/shoes with hard soles and heels and reflective gear at any point of the day when hacking on a road.
Reflective clothing, like hi vis vests increase the visibility of the rider and allows the car more time to slow down and not cause any distress to the horse.
These are small changes each rider can take that could potentially save not only your own life, but your horses as well.
If you are an individual who does not hack out on roads, but is looking to see what you can do to help keep horses and riders safe, here are some tips:
- Stay at least 2 metres away from horses when passing them on the road
- Drive no faster than 10 miles an hour
- Proceed with caution, being careful ensures the safety of the horse and rider much more than driving recklessly
For more about road safety, check out the up-to-date highway code here: https://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/rules-about-animals-horse-riders.html
For more information about how to help with road safety, check out: Horse & Hound magazine, 2nd February 2023, page 4
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