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  • Common incidents

Slippery roads

Some road surfaces can be slippery and can cause horses to slip or even fall.

  • Last reviewed: 28th February 2024
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What causes a road to be slippery? 

Road surface experts have advised that:

  • Over time it is possible the chippings that provide friction on road surfaces can erode
  • The bitumen in the road material rises to the surface creating a slippery surface when a horse’s metal shoe meets the road.
  • There can be problems with newly laid surfaces being slippery if the surface is not dressed appropriately.

What to do if a road is slippery?

Contact the Highways Department of your local council and record this with the British Horse Society here

Tarmac' (asphalt) is often slippery for horses, especially a product known as stone mastic asphalt (SMA). The Society worked with the County Surveyors Society (an organisation of council highway engineers) to produce guidance on its use and remedial treatment. The guide, Horse and Highway Surfaces, was published in 2006, but there has been no significant change since, and the BHS continues to recommend against use of asphalt, particularly SMA, on any road, byway or bridleway used with horses


If you’re a BHS Gold member, you can contact the free legal advice helpline.


Our new horse incidents reporting app, Horse i, allows you to quickly and easily submit details of any incidents you encounter directly to the BHS via your mobile or tablet device.

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.