The British Horse Society has launched a campaign called “Dead Slow”, aimed at appealing for drivers to dramatically reduce their speed when driving near horses. The consequences of frightening a horse can be tragic. But there are often factors involved in trying to control a horse that drivers may never have appreciated previously.
This image here is of an experienced rider Tracey Handley with her horse Harry, and here she describes what can actually happen riding a horse:
“As a horse rider , who has to use main roads to access By ways and Bridleways. It is so important drivers realise just how vulnerable it feels to be riding a horse amongst traffic. And the importance that they slow down to an acceptable speed (15mph), and also give at least a car width (minimum) when they pass. My horse is fine with lorries etc , just as long as they pass wide and slow but all it takes is a bird to flap out of a tree , or a stray bag or even a crisp packet to suddenly appear and a horse will act in a way that can be very unpredictable. Horses are a ‘Flight’ animal so situations can cause them to flee from a situation that they see as danger.
I come across drivers who don’t even acknowledge that you’re there, which is so frustrating. When drivers slow down I always thank them , either by nodding, smiling or raising my hand . It’s not always possible to take a hand off the rein , as the horse may be young or you’re not comfortable by doing this .
I personally have had near misses , where the wing mirror of a car has nearly clipped my horse or leg, and the consequences would be devastating.
I am currently looking to move my horse to another yard as there are hardly any main roads to ride on safely. Drivers are forcing us off the roads and yet the lack of Bridleways and housing developments force us to use roads.
I always ride out in hi-viz clothes and accessories.
Thank you for taking the time to read the above.
Tracey and Harry”
On your 5 Day Intensive Driving Course with BIG TOM Driving School you will get the opportunity to drive dozens of miles on rural roads, the experience of driving on diverse driving conditions is what our course is known for. There is every possibility that horses may be encountered on your journeys, and you will be provided with full guidance on how best to navigate safely around them. However, for more information, check out this handy leaflet from GEM.
A big thank you goes to our guest writer Tracey and we wish her many years of road safety along with Harry.