British Horse Society Launches Safety 2000 Campaign

The British Horse Society is campaigning to reduce the alarming number of accidents on the roads involving horses.

There are two aspects to the campaign:

1. To train riders how to ride safely on the road

- by taking the BHS Riding and Road Safety Test
- by wearing fluorescent and reflective gear so that they can easily be seen

2. To get drivers to be more considerate to riders on the roads.

- by explaining that horses can be unpredictable and can suddenly take fright
- by producing posters and leaflets explaining about horses on the roads
- by making a short video freely available showing how important it is for motorists to understand about horses on the roads

• There are over 3,000 accidents involving horses on the road each year. In many cases the horse has to be put down as a result of its injuries. About 16 riders are killed on British roads each year.

• No rider rides on the road out of preference—it is not pleasant and they would much prefer to be on a bridleway. but horses have to be exercised and more often than not, riders have to use roads in order to reach bridleways.

• Many drivers now using country roads are not country people and are not familiar with horses and their habits.

• Even the most bomb proof experienced horse can suddenly take fright and dart sideways.

• Horses can be unnerved by horns, revving engines, or by being passed too closely.

• Sometimes riders ride two abreast for good reason:

a) The horse on the inside is inexperienced and being trained to cope with traffic.

b) The rider on the inside is young and inexperienced.

c) By riding two abreast the riders are making sure that drivers don't attempt to overtake until the road ahead is clear. The BHS doesn't recommend this, but it is often the safest alternative.

• The British Horse Society run a Riding and Road Safety Test (somewhat akin to the Cycling Proficiency test) to train riders to ride on the road correctly. About 7,000 people take this test every year.

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