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April 22, 2022

Horse Safety: How To Stay Safe When Hacking Along The Road

With few trails and rights of way wide enough for horses, many equestrians find themselves having to go on the road when they want to hack their horses. Additionally, when there is off-road hacking available near your stable yard, sometimes the only way to get there is via a busy road. That said, hacking along the road poses some risks that you need to be aware of, and when you’re heading out with your horse, you need to be safe doing it. With the right gear and information, you can make sure both you and your horse can have a fun hack without putting yourselves at risk. Follow these tips for hacking safely, and have a great time doing it.

Be Seen With A Hi-Vis Jacket

In order to stay safe when hacking along a road, some of the most important things you can do are to be seen and wear a hi-vis jacket. You want to make sure that drivers see you coming so they can slow down or stop in time. A hi-vis jacket is a great way to do this, and you can find the right one for you by exploring the range available from Equi Supermarket.

Get Your Horse A Hi-Vis Exercise Sheet

As well as ensuring that you are visible to other road users, it’s vital that your horse can be seen as well. Getting your horse a hi-vis exercise sheet will ensure that they are seen.

Wear A Body Protector

The most important safety gear you need when hacking along the road is a body protector. This will act as a second layer of defence in case you fall from your horse. It can help protect you from harm when landing on hard ground as well as from any debris that may be on the road. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this, either; many tack shops carry affordable options that will do the job just fine.

Inform Someone Before You Head Out

The first thing you should do before heading out on a hack is telling someone. This can be a friend, family member, or your stable yard staff. Let them know where you’re going and when to expect you back. While hacking, it’s important to have an emergency contact that knows where you are and when they should call for help in the event of an accident. That way, if something does happen, there’ll be someone who knows about it and is ready to act as soon as possible.

Report Incidents And Wear A Camera

If there’s a dangerous situation, it’s important that you report it to the police or other relevant authorities so that they can take the appropriate measures. It might be anything from a car going too fast to a loose dog or even a fallen tree blocking the road. It’s also important to wear a camera when you’re hacking along the road in case there are any accidents or emergencies, as you’ll have proof of what happened if something does go wrong.

Take The BHS Riding And Road Safety Test

While this is not a legal requirement, before you go hacking along the road, you should take the BHS Riding and Road Safety Test. This test will help you know what to do when you come across any hazards while riding. It will teach you how to cross a busy road safely and all of the other important rules associated with riding on roads, including how to use the right-hand signals to notify drivers of whether you are turning, if they need to slow down, or if you need them to stop.

How Drivers Can Help

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that horses are unpredictable creatures. They can spook at anything and change directions quickly when they feel threatened. With this in mind, it’s vital that drivers know what to do when they encounter a horse and rider on the road.

• Slow down; you should be passing horses at no more than 10mph, even if it looks like you have plenty of room.
• Be patient; you may not be able to pass the horse and rider straight away. Don’t rev your engine or sound your horn, as this could cause the horse to spook, resulting in injury to the rider or horse.
• Pass wide and slow; if possible, you should also give a horse and rider at least 2 meters of space when you pass them.
• Drive away slowly; even when you have passed the horse and rider, you should not rev your engine. Drive away slowly before speeding up.

When you encounter a horse and rider, you should also be aware that your vehicle could be scary to the horse. Most horses are fine with cars, trucks, and tractors, but larger vehicles such as lorries, vehicles pulling trailers, or motorcycles that make a lot of noise may cause the horse to spook. In these instances, look for the rider’s hand signals as they may need you to stop so they can pass you safely.

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