Horse Riding


Horse Road Safety

Road Riding Safety

If you ride regularly, then you'll probably find yourself riding on roads and among traffic at some stage.

Anyone can ride a horse on the road, regardless of age, so it pays to know a few road rules and safety tips.

Did you know that horses ridden on roads are considered 'vehicles'

It's only after the rider has dismounted that he or she is considered a pedestrian and the horse an animal.
Horses are allowed to be ridden on all roads unless there's a sign indicating otherwise, for example most freeways and tollways have signs stating no pedestrians, bicycles or animals beyond this point
As horses are slower then cars, you must ride as close as possible to the left-hand  side of the road and travel in the same direction as the traffic. Unlike cars, a horse and rider is allowed to travel on footpaths and nature strips unless the local Council has laws against it.
A word of warning though, some pedestrians and home owners might object!.
As an offcial vehicle on the road, you're not allowed to ride on median strips, nor go across traffic islands or roundabouts.
The rules at roundabouts are the same as cars, always give way to your right and if it's a double lane roundabout and as the slower moving vehicle keep as far to the left as possible.

Do you know you're supposed to give hand signals?

Yes, you might know where you're going (and feel like a dork having to signal) but drivers will appreciate being given some indication!.
If turning left, hold your left arm out straight at shoulder level and vice versa for right-hand turns. If stopping, lift your arm up into an L-shape.

If you're riding along a two way road (one lane going either way) you MUST ride single file. You can only ride two abreast if there's more than one lane, but you should keep within 1.5 metres of each other.

And guess what
You're not legally allowed to use your mobile phone (or send text messages) while riding along roads !. If you get a call or want to make one, you need to pull off the road or dismount to take the call.

Unlike vehicle drivers, there's no age limit for riders on roads, but they should be fairly experienced.
Remember you'll be in traffic with drivers who won't have a clue about horses, let alone how unpredictable they can be and may drive too close, or be impatient to pass you, tooting their horn.

It's inevitable that sooner or later some hoon will try to stir your horse by revving his engine or tooting the horn, you read about this happening to riders all the time on the internet. This is a good reason why you should avoid taking youngsters or skittish horses on the road. It's just not worth the risk.
One the other hand, most drivers are considerate and will give you space, when they do, acknowledge their courtesy with a friendly wave.

If your horse shies or starts playing up, GET OFF IMMEDIATELY.
Always play it safe rather than battle it out with cars and trucks whizzing by.
Trucks with flapping plastic represent a dangerous predator to your horse. Remember his vision is superior to our, he can see to the side which means he sees vehicles approaching from the rear long before we can.
Horse shoes are also slippery on concrete and it's an accident waiting to happen.

Riding Horses on The Road

It must be one specifically designed for horse riding-bicycle and motorbike helmets are designed differently and they are not interchangeable.

If just leading your horse, you're considered a regular pedestrian and it's okay to lead horses on the road provided they don't cause a traffic hazard and you stick to the left as closely as possible.

As for traffic lights and intersections, you need to obey regular road rules by stopping at red lights, giving way to stop signs and roundabouts etc (don't forget to give clear hand signals).

A lot of riders use pedestrian traffic lights, or push the button at intersection lights while still mounted but this isn't receommended, traffic is too unpredictable!

Riding at night is not advised as you will be almost invisible to motorists, especially if you have a dark horse. By law you don't need to have any form of lightening on your horse, but there are some safety items (reflective horse riding gear) available for night riding, including reflective vests, quartersheets and bandages.

In Australia it's compulsory to wear an Australian Standard approved helmet when riding

Horse Road Rules

* Be aware of the traffic around you. Drivers have the benefit of rear view mirrors, you don't, so keep checking traffic status behind you, especially if you're changing direction.

Horse Signs

* Avoid riding on roads at dusk and at night, as you will be almost invisable to drivers. Invest in some reflective clothing/horse safety gear.

* Don't ride on the road if your horse seems unsettled (this especially applies on windy days!)

* Don't canter on bitumen or concrete, it not only jarrs your horse's legs, it can be very slippery.

* Don't ride too close to any vehicle, even parked cars in case a driver suddenly starts the engine or opens the door, startling your horse.

* If your horse shies, dismount and lead him past the feared object. DO NOT force a battle on the road!

* Always ride in the same direction as the traffic is flowing.

* Give clear hand signals

* Make eye contact with drivers when changing direction, this way you can check they've seen you and will slow down.

* If in doubt, DON'T, this means if there's a gap in the traffic and you're not sure you'll make it through, DON'T GO! Wait until there's a safer gap.

* Don't be in too much of a hurry. Don't compromise safety for the sake of saving a few seconds.

Riding on the road is often unavoidable when we need to get from A to B, but with some common sense and a good knowledge of the road rules, chances of arriving safely are good!

Beware of Horses

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