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  • Riding out & hacking

Equestrians on the road

Most of us will ride or carriage drive on the road at some point.

  • Last reviewed: 21st July 2022
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Whether road work is your only option for hacking out, or to reach an off-road route, follow our helpful tips to stay safe when on the road with your horse.

Of course, however well-prepared we are for riding or carriage driving on the road, we rely on other road users to take care when encountering horses. Read our advice for motorists here.

Helpful tips to stay safe on the road

  • Familiarise yourself with the Highway Code rules to make sure you follow the guidance on how you should behave on the road and interact with other road users
  • Be alert at all times, keep your eyes and ears open
  • Be polite - make eye contact with drivers and thank those who make any effort to accommodate you
    • Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself
  • Wear hi-vis and reflective equipment, 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 a minimum of a tabard or jacket for a rider, and leg bands for the horse.
    • Consider wearing LED lights
  • Take the BHS Ride Safe Award
  • Remember to use the appropriate hand signals to make other road users aware of your intentions to manoeuvre
  • Be responsible
    • Take a mobile phone and make sure it is charged up before you go - remember, it's not safe to use your phone when on the roads, this should be for use in emergencies
    • Tell somebody where you are going and how long you think you will be out - if you don’t return, they can raise the alarm
  • Report any incidents of dangerous or irresponsible driving to us and to the police

The Highway Code

The Highway Code was updated on 29 January 2022. The BHS have worked hard over the last three years; lobbying and collaborating with Cycling UK, DVSA, Living Streets and the Department for Transport (DfT) to suggest the much-needed Highway Code improvements and to represent equestrians in the review. 

Visit the Gov.uk website for more information on the changes to the Highway Code.  

Key Changes

  • Vehicles must now pass horses at no more than 10mph and must allow at least 2 metres of space when passing
  • Hierarchy of road users – pedestrians are listed as the most vulnerable road user, followed by horses and cyclists. This new rule highlights that, irrespective of method of transport, those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  • Our Dead Slow messaging is now incorporated within the Highway Code
  • Feral and semi-feral horses on Exmoor, Dartmoor and the New Forest are now included

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
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