Skip to content
back to home
  • Common incidents

Equestrians and Runners

Equestrians and runners are both vulnerable road users, and we share similar risks when using the road and off-road tracks. 

  • Last reviewed: 7th July 2022
Mount Stewart Credit Andrew Towe Of Parkway Photography Mount Stewart Credit Andrew Towe Of Parkway Photography

Horses can move quickly forward, backwards and sideways, and can weigh up to three-quarters of a tonne. If a horse is passed too quickly or too close, they may react and potentially cause injury to both the horse rider and runner.  

Advice for equestrians

  • Be aware at all times and expect the unexpected. Keep a regular lookout behind you so that a runner doesn’t pop up suddenly and surprise you. 
  • Look out for narrow pinch points in the track or road ahead. It may not be safe to pass each other in a narrow space and it might be safer for one of you to wait where there is a wide enough space to pass. 
  • Remember, many people may not be familiar with horses and how to pass them safely. If a runner does try to pass you when it is unsafe, it is a good idea to calmly explain why it is unsafe to pass and ask them to wait for you to move to a safer place. 
  • Be considerate to other road/track users and pass them in walk. 
  • Be visible – wear hi-viz clothing to help cyclists see you from a distance.

Advice for runners

  • Alert the horse rider if you are running from behind by calling out in advance 'Hi, is it ok to pass?' 
  • Give the horse and rider time to react. The rider might not be able to hear you straight away so it is a good idea to wait until they have noticed you before passing. 
  • Slow down or stop if the horse rider asks you to. The rider may feel that the horse is about to react to something, meaning that the horse might suddenly move forwards, backwards or sideways. 
  • Pass wide and slow. If possible, pass with at least a car's width as a horse's leg could reach out at least six to eight feet. 
  • Look out for narrow pinch points in the track or road ahead. It may not be safe to pass each other in a narrow space and it might be safer for one of you to wait at a wider point. 

Running with dogs

Both horses and dogs offer us companionship and enjoy exercise with us and so they need to share common areas safely.  

If you enjoy running with your dog, please have a look at our page, dogs and horses, for further advice on exercising them safely in common areas. 

Report an incident

Anyone can report their incidents or near misses to us; you don’t have to be a BHS member. Reporting your incidents helps us to better understand the rate of equine-related incidents and near misses across the UK.

Submit a report
Access Car Passing Riders Slowly