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Responsible riding

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.

  • Last reviewed: 2nd August 2022
Bhs Ridesafe Oct17 8000 Bhs Ridesafe Oct17 8000

Exploring the countryside with your horse is a good way to work on your horse’s fitness, and it is great for your health too.

Top tips for hacking out

  • Make sure you're up to date on the Highway Code
  • Read the Countryside Code for your country 
  • Wear hi-vis, ideally on both you and on the horse, which could be seen from above as well as from the front, rear and side
  • We recommend wearing LED lights
  • Wear the correct clothing and equipment for riding or driving, and the weather conditions. 
  • Take a mobile phone and check it is charged up before you go 
  • Tell somebody where you are going and how long you think you will be out 
  • If you are venturing on a new route, check the Ordnance Survey map before you go so you know where to go  
  • Consider taking a foldable hoof pick and some baling twine in your pocket – you never know when they might come in handy 
  • A leather headcollar under the bridle with a lead rope rolled up and clipped to your saddle is useful if you need to get off to lead in-hand

Riding on the road

  • Read our information on horses & the Highway Code
  • Wear hi-vis, ideally on both you and on the horse, which could be seen from above as well as from the front, rear and side
  • Take our Ride Safe Award to give you the confidence to ride in all the most common environments, keeping you and your horse safe. It is also recognised in the Highway Code and recommended as best practice

Riding off-road

Enjoy the countryside with courtesy, care and consideration for others and for the land. 

Respect everyone
  • Be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
  • Be nice, say hello, share the space
  • Follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available 
Protect the environment
  • Take your litter home - leave no trace of your visit 
  • Do not light fires and only have bbqs where signs say you can 
  • Always keep dogs under control and in sight 
  • Dog poo - bag it and bin it - any public waste bin will do 
  • Care for nature - do not cause damage or disturbance 
Enjoy the outdoors
  • Check your route and local conditions 
  • Plan your adventure - know what to expect and what you can do 
  • Enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory 

Ride Safe

The essential award for all riders. Ride Safe gives you the confidence to ride in the most common environments, keeping you and your horse safe.

Find out more
Ride Safe