The British Horse Society (BHS) and Canewdon Equestrians are launching a new initiative today (18 October) to teach primary school children between the ages of 9-11 years old on how to pass horses safely on the road as pedestrians, cyclists and passengers in a car.
The launch will take place at Westerings Primary Academy, along with pupils from Holt Farm Junior School in Essex, where a tragic road accident took place in 2016 resulting in the death of a horse and injury of its rider. Following today’s launch which is supported by local councillor, Julie Gooding and MP Mark Francois, it is hoped that the scheme will be rolled out by the BHS to primary schools across the UK.
The scheme has been developed after alarming statistics revealed over 845 road incidents involving horses and drivers have been reported to the BHS in the last year, with 60 of those happening in the South East of the country, leading to the death of four horses and one person.
The Society collates statistics each year as part of their Dead or Dead Slow campaign to understand the rate of incidents involving horses and riders on UK roads, enabling them to educate all road users and lobby government in making the roads safer for not only horses and riders, but drivers and passengers too, which have played a huge part in implementing.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society says: “We’re really pleased to be working on this fantastic project and one that we hope will eventually be delivered in all primary schools across the UK. Our Dead or Dead Slow campaign which educates drivers and horse riders on how to stay safe when they encounter one another on the road has already been hugely successful, but worryingly, only one in 10 incidents are reported to us each year so the actual number is likely to be much higher. By educating children as well as adults, I really believe we can help to save even more lives in the future.
Claire Lilley from Canewdon Equestrians added: “I am so happy that this important project is finally coming to life. We started Canewdons Equestrians in November 2016 following a tragic accident involving two horse and two riders, hit by a car on a short stretch of road on Lark hill Canewdon. Laura’s horse Angel was sadly killed having taken the full impact. Together, with the help of our local councillor, Julie Gooding and MP Mark Francois, Canewdon Equestrians have raised so much awareness on the importance of driving safely around horses and after an initial pilot lesson with some of the local children, it became very clear that not only did they enjoy it but they had a huge part to play in educating the general public.”
To find out more information about The Road Safety Awareness Project and to donate to the BHS, please visit: https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/safety/henry-the-horse