FARMING: Helping to stay safe when riding at night

As the nights are drawing in and the days are so much shorter it is worth considering yours and your horse’s safety when riding on the roads. Road Safety Week was November 16-22 and so here is a quick reminder to help you stay safe.

By Amy Smith
Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:00 am
Be seen at night to stay safe.
Be seen at night to stay safe.

If you are not a horse rider but you are a driver then it is also something worth thinking about.

It goes without saying that you should wear a correctly fitting and up to standard riding hat at all times when riding a horse and especially when on the road.

Fluorescent and reflective clothing are also vital so that you can be seen from further away, other road users can see you up to three seconds sooner. Always keep your phone on you in case of emergency and consider an emergency contact tag on your tack in case you fall.

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If the visibility is poor or it is getting dark, consider whether it is safe to ride on the road.

If you cannot avoid it then stirrup lights may increase visibility.

Another thing to consider is that you must be able to stand still, turn and go forwards when needed to get away from traffic as well as remaining in good control of your horse at all times.

If you are riding a young horse then bringing an older horse with you to “nanny” can improve safety and confidence.

You should never ride more than two abreast and should stay on the left hand side of the road, using hand signals where appropriate and having an awareness of other road users.

The Highway Code has all of the rules for riding on the road, how to approach obstacles and how to perform manoeuvres safely.

When you are in the car passing a horse on the road be aware that they are often unpredictable and can be flighty. Drive slowly and give at least 2m room. If the rider signals that it is not safe to pass then wait until they have pulled in or there is plenty of space.

Big lorries and trailers can add an extra amount of “spook” to the horse so be extra careful and leave lots of room.

Be aware when accelerating away that this noise can scare horses so do it carefully and slowly, and if you have air brakes try and keep these from making noise!

Make sure you are using correct hand signals, be considerate of other road users and be aware of your surroundings. Most importantly stay safe and have fun!

Our Alnwick clinic is an RCVS accredited Small Animal General Practice and Farm Animal General Practice, welcoming dogs, cats, birds, exotics, poultry, small mammals, cattle, deer, equine, pigs, sheep, goats and camelids.

We offer continuity of care if you wish to see a specific vet please let us know.