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BHS launches innovative VR film in order to improve road safety for horses

13 June 2018

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The BHS launches today (13 June) a virtual reality film at Parliament to raise awareness of the issues horse riders face on Britain’s roads.


Since the launch of The British Horse Society’s (BHS) Dead Slow campaign two years ago, the BHS has been working with many organisations to educate drivers on how to pass horses safely. The Dead Slow campaign messages have been designed to influence drivers and change their behaviour around horses.

The BHS’s Horse Accidents website reported from November 2010 to March 2018 that there were 2,914 road incidents involving horses. The incidents include any near miss or collision with a horse.

Since the start of horseaccidents.org.uk, there have been reports of 39 riders killed, 230 horses killed or euthanized because of their injuries. 85% of these incidents have been where the vehicle has passed too close or too fast to the horse.

The four Dead Slow messages are:

  • Slow down to a maximum of 15 mph
  • Be patient, I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine
  • Pass the horse wide and slow, at least a car’s width (if possible)
  • Drive slowly away

The BHS has launched a virtual reality film to show drivers what it’s like to be riding a horse when a car passes too fast or too close. Viewing the film gives you the alarming first-hand experience of being on a horse as a vehicle passes too close. The film also demonstrates what drivers experience when approaching a horse in a vehicle that is going too fast.

In the last scene, viewers are in a car with BBC Sports presenter Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, Lizzie then explains how to pass a horse using the Dead Slow messages to ensure everyone stays safe, including the horse, rider and driver.

Director of Safety at the BHS, Alan Hiscox said: “We believe that we can tell drivers how to behave around horses and they will forget, we can show them and they will remember but if we involve them with our VR film they will understand. This film is groundbreaking and means we can go to any driving event and involve drivers in a unique way.”

The project is generously supported by Petplan Charitable Trust and filmed by First Car. Filming took place on a closed road and specially trained horses and riders were provided by The Knights of Middle England.

You can find out more about The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign here.

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