In your car – you are a threat
Horses are unpredictable and easily frightened by things they perceive as a threat. This comes from their natural instincts, they are prey animals and as such, their reaction to any threat is flight. A twitch in the ditch may take them back to the Sabre Tooth Tiger that threatened their ancestors – waiting to pounce as they pass.
The bird flying out from behind a hedgerow or the plastic bag blowing in the wind may cause the horse to unexpectedly spook into the road . . . and into your oncoming car. There is little a rider can do about this, natural behavioural instincts are strong.
In some instances, the rider may be busy keeping control of their horse and not able to acknowledge your consideration, but they will be very grateful to you.
The message therefore is, please be careful when passing horses, give them a wide berth and go by SLOWLY and be prepared to stop if necessary! Nobody wants to damage your vehicle and with a little consideration there is room for everyone to live in harmony on the roads. Download the BHS and GEM Motoring Assist leaflet for helpful advice and tips.
Thank you on behalf of all riders and carriage drivers.
You may like to download this leaflet produced in conjunction with the Department for Transport Horse Sense for Motorists for further information.
ROSPA have a very useful leaflet, Drivers and Vulnerable Road Users which offers guidance for all road users about how to help each other stay safe on the roads.
The British Horse Society has produced guidelines for drivers of large vehicles. Download this document here.