For many equestrians, hacking out is part of a weekly routine, and for some, riding on the roads is their only option. Whether you are riding on the road or off-road, it is important to know your responsibilities as an equestrian to keep you, your horse and others safe.
Off-road access in England and Wales
Please be aware, access to the countryside in Scotland and Ireland is very different from England and Wales. You can find out more information below:
Off-road access in Scotland
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 amended the nature and extent of access rights in Scotland, granting many different types of user freedom by establishing a statutory right of access over land in Scotland.
Off-road access in Ireland
Access to safe off-road routes in Northern Ireland is sadly extremely limited compared to mainland Britain. However, the places that do exist are in some stunning locations and are critically important for equestrians.
How to plan a ride
Planning a route
If you’re venturing out riding or carriage driving, you should know where you can go, and what your rights and responsibilities are for where you live.
For many equestrians, hacking out is part of a weekly routine. Whether you are riding on the road or off-road, it is important to know your responsibilities as an equestrian to remain as safe as possible.
Riding on beaches
Riding along the sandy stretches, taking in the coastal views and filling your lungs with the fresh sea-air. Riding on the beach can be a wonderful experience – on your own horse or through at a BHS Approved Centre.
Hill & upland horse riding
Many of the bridleways and traditional riding routes in the uplands are ancient tracks linking one valley with another.
Reporting an access or off-road issue
Our team works hard to defend, extend and promote safe, easily accessible off-road horse riding and carriage driving for everyone. The information applies to England and Wales.
Cyclists and horse riders
Equestrians and cyclists are both vulnerable road users. We both share similar risks when riding on the road, and we need access to more safe off-road riding.
Riding through livestock
Livestock, horses or dogs can sometimes prevent people using a right of way if the behaviour of the animals is threatening or dangerous.
We don't think of our lovable companions as predators or prey, but by nature, dogs are predators and horses are prey animals – a combination that can cause issues.
Equestrians and runners are both vulnerable road users, and we share similar risks when using the road and off-road tracks.
Bird Scarers and Gas Guns
Many farmers use bird scarers and gas guns to protect their crops from damage by birds. However, passing horses may also get scared or spooked by these, which can cause distress or injury to both horse and rider.
We urge all riders and carriage drivers to report every incident they are involved in, regardless of severity, via our horse incidents reporting hub online or our Horse i app. This allows us to collate statistics on incidents across the UK, to help better understand the rate of equine-related incidents and, ultimately, to use this data to lobby for change in safety laws.