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Take extra care when riding on the roads

This advice is for horse riders and carriage drivers who have no other option during the coronavirus pandemic than to ride on the roads. This advice is also for when the strict ‘lockdown’ is lifted and riders will again begin to ride on the roads.

The Government’s measures to delay the spread of coronavirus significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the roads, but there has been evidence of an increase in the number of people cycling, and also vehicle speeds increasing on the roads.

The BHS Safety Team stress to all riders the importance of taking extra care whilst exercising your horse on the roads, at this time, when no other option is available.

  • If possible lunge or walk your horse in hand before going out on the roads. Ask yourself, “Can I control my horse?”
  • Make extra checks on your horse’s tack for safety.
  • Try and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Do not ride out in poor visibility.
  • Maximise the likelihood that other road users will detect you. Wear conspicuous clothing (Hi Viz) at least a ‘vest’, and Hi Viz leg bands for your horse. Consider wearing more at this time i.e. a Hi Viz hat band, gloves, breastplate and tail guard. Consider wearing lights on your boots and on your arms. Accentuate the width of your horse.
  • Consider the time of day when riding on the road. Although there is less traffic on the roads, there is still an element of ‘rush hour’ with people driving to work.
  • Chose a quiet route if you can.
  • Exercise your horse in company with another horse and rider (Social distance rules) or with someone walking alongside you, if possible.
  • Be extra aware. Listen for vehicles, check behind you more often. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED ALL THE TIME. Look out for anything unusual. Take as many precautions as you can.
  • Constantly re-assess what is happening around you.
  • Keep both hands on the reins at all times except when signaling.
  • Give clear and assertive signals to drivers.
  • Acknowledge driver’s careful driving by smiling or nodding especially if you can’t take your hands off the reins to signal thank you. 
  • Have an ID tag on your saddle.
  • Have ‘In case of emergency’ numbers entered on your phone.
  • Do not use your mobile phone unless in an emergency, and do not listen to music with ear buds whilst riding.
  • Read the BHS Ride Safe Guide and update yourself with the Highway Code guidance for horse riders.
  • Consider wearing a helmet-cam or body cam. Most Police Forces are accepting film of incidents.


If you have an incident report it to the BHS


Please read our information and advice for horse owners and business owners during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak



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