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Safety tips for on or off road horse riding

Let someone know where you are going and when you can be expected back.

Take a mobile phone or money to make a phone call in an emergency, but do not talk on your mobile phone whilst on your horse.

Only use recognised bridleways, not public footpaths or private land.

Update yourself on the Highway Code, which has specific sections on horse riding.

Always keep a rein contact to remain fully in control of your horse on the road.

Ride on the left hand side of the road, even when at junctions that you want to turn right at.

Do not ride on the kerb or pavement.

Never ride more than two abreast, but it is best to ride single file when traffic approaches you.

When riding single file, keep a horses distance between each horse.

Riding on grass verges is okay, but it is worth checking local bye-laws, in case some verges are forbidden to be used in this way.

Do not canter on grass verges.

Look out for hazards and traffic approaching that might upset the horse.

Always wear a hat that conforms to the current standards.

It is advisable to wear a body protector whenever you ride your horse. It will not prevent accidents from happening or even injury, but will give your back better protection against serious injuries.

Not all drivers are familiar with horse riders and horses. They do not always understand that they need to slow down or give you a wide berth upon passing. So please thank the drivers that do slow down or give you room as they pass you. They will appreciate it and do the same for the next rider that they meet. Even if you cannot take you hands off the reins, just a smile or a nod is enough.

In case of an emergency it is worth carrying something with your name, address, vets name and phone number and an emergency contact number for you on it. This should be the minimum amount of information you carry, as it would also be wise to include a picture or description of your horse in case you get parted.

When you ride on bridleways you should give way to walkers and ride slowly through fields of livestock.

If you ever have to lead your horse on the road, you should walk on the left hand side of the road with your horse on your left (you should be between your horse and the traffic).

Always wear your riding hat and make sure it is fastened up correctly under your chin.

Do not ride on roads (quiet roads or otherwise) without a correctly fitting bridle and saddle. Riding bareback or with 'just a head collar' has no place on the road.

Have a basic understanding of first aid for both horse and rider.

We recommend the British Horse Society Riding & Road Safety Test for all riders using roads to ride on.
© Pennine Prospects 2012.
Routes compiled by Walk England.
© Photography by Steven Morgan,
all images © Pennine Prospects.
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