Equestrian Safety

Both cars and horse riders have the right to use the roads, they need to be aware of each other and all other road users. 

Riders should ride on the left hand side of the road near the kerb, never riding more than two abreast.  Riding two abreast is recommended if riding a young or inexperienced horse, with the more experienced horse being nearest to the centre of the road.  When traffic approaches it may be necessary to ride single file with the experienced horse taking the lead.

Some drivers aren’t aware of how to pass horse and rider appropriately. Horses are flight animals and though they are trained to be able to be ridden on roads safely, when a vehicle approaches or comes up behind them too fast or too close they may react to this and this could result in an injury to any party involved. Normally the horse rider is more than capable of keeping the horse under control, as most horses that are ridden on the roads are used to traffic.

n the 13th June 2018 - The British Horse Society launched its new innovative VR film at Parliament, in London in order to improve road safety for horses and to raise awareness of the issues horse riders face on Britain’s roads.


Since the launch of The British Horse Society’s (BHS) Dead Slow campaign two years ago, the BHS has been working with many organisations to educate drivers on how to pass horses safely. The Dead Slow campaign messages have been designed to influence drivers and change their behaviour around horses.


The BHS’s Horse Accidents website reported from November 2010 to March 2018 that there were 2,902 road incidents involving horses. The incidents include any near miss or collision with a horse.
Since the start of horseaccidents.org.uk, there have been reports of 39 riders killed, 230 horses killed or euthanized because of their injuries. 85% of these incidents have been where the vehicle has passed too close or too fast to the horse.


The four Dead Slow messages are:
• Slow down to a maximum of 15 mph
• Be patient, I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine
• Pass the horse wide and slow, at least a car’s width (if possible)
• Drive slowly away


The BHS has launched a virtual reality film to show drivers what it’s like to be riding a horse when a car passes too fast or too close. Viewing the film gives you the alarming first-hand experience of being on a horse as a vehicle passes too close. The film also demonstrates what drivers experience when approaching a horse in a vehicle that is going too fast.

In the last scene, viewers are in a car with BBC Sports presenter Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, Lizzie then explains how to pass a horse using the Dead Slow messages to ensure everyone stays safe, including the horse, rider and driver.
Director of Safety at the BHS, Alan Hiscox said: “We believe that we can tell drivers how to behave around horses and they will forget, we can show them and they will remember but if we involve them with our VR film they will understand. This film is groundbreaking and means we can go to any driving event and involve drivers in a unique way.”