©2014 Horses & Road Safety Awareness
Horses are more aware of their surroundings than humans are. They can smell, hear and see better than we can and are alert to danger at all times. This means when they are
out on a hack they are looking for predators constantly. Even though they may have a rider on their backs and be very used to humans, the surprise of seeing someone walking
near them may cause them to “spook.”
As riders we do our best to stay safe on all terrain. It is relatively easy to control our horse when we are able to spot something that is coming along or when we can hear
someone approaching. We collect our horse and calmly control them until the person has passed safely, or we signal for them to slow down while we find a safe place to pull off
the road and allow them to pass.
However, quiet lone walkers from behind are silent monsters . The blind spot of the horse is much bigger than most people realise; the diagram featured in the cyclist section
shows how extensive this area is and clearly makes it easy to understand why a horse can’t see you until you are practically level with its head. By which time, it may well spook
and jump sideways, bolt forwards or it may even spin around so it can get a better look at the silent monster behind.
Best Practice For Walkers
As you approach a horse from behind, please let us know you are there by either starting to whistle or softly begining to talk and say anything (nice!) that will alert us that you
are there. We can take measures to alert our horse you are there and we recommend you take a wide berth, making sure it is safe to overtake.
If you are in front of the horse approaching please ask the rider is it okay to continue walking past or would it be better to stand aside and let them walk their horse past. A
horse rider must be the one to manoeuvre around a walker as the walker has the right of way, but on narrow lanes it is mostly easier for the walker to stand aside as horses
won’t be able to move over into the bushes or onto a verge as effectively.
Scenario one –
Small forest lane. A walker in this case would be safer standing aside and letting
the rider walk their horse past. The horse is not likely to stand in the bush or on
the verge for long enough to let a walker go past.
The rider should talk calmly to the horse and if necessary dismount to
A normal country road. In this case a walker is able to safely walk past a horse
with little to no manoeuvring needed by either party. A walker should still ask if
the rider would like them to stop as a moving object can still spook a young or
A rider must also remember to be courteous and say hello or smile and
thank the walker.
Scenario two –
Meeting Horses On The Beach
Riding on the beach is possibly one of a riders favourite things to do. There is a lot of space and it is a safe level
surface to let our horses have a good run without the need to slow or turn. However it is important that everyone stays
safe on the beach. If a walker arrives at the beach and there is a horsebox or signs of horses (e.g. droppings) you
must take extra caution. Keep your children and pets close and look along the beach before going onto it.
If the riders are moving fast along the beach try to keep as far away as possible. If they are out of control or behaving
in an inappropriate manner you are within your rights to call the police or beach warden.
Riders should be aware that they are only allowed on the beach at allocated times of the year, which will be dictated
by your local council or environmental body. Check when these are, as they are in place for the safety of other beach
users. Riders should never go faster than walk when riding near to an entrance and should stay several feet away to
allow others to come onto the beach.
If other horses are on the beach remember your manners and do not gallop past them as the rider may not be as
confident as you.