Horses, and their unpredictability

Advice for road users regarding horses, many people have never encountered a horse on the road, learn how to react.


Horses and their riders are among one of the most vulnerable groups of road users. We think that it’s essential for all riders to familiarize themselves with The Highway Code, specifically the section related to horses.

Equestrian crossings are for horse riders. They have pavement barriers, wider crossings, Road signs depicting pictures of riders and horses.

Safety Equipment & Clothing

All horse-drawn vehicles should have two red rear reflectors. It is safer not to ride at night, but if you do, a light showing white to the front and red to the rear should be fitted. You should wear boots or shoes with hard soles or heels, light coloured or florescent clothing in daylight, and reflective clothing if you’re riding at night. Always wear a Helmet.

Horse Riders

Children under the age of 14 must wear a helmet. It must be fastened securely. Other riders should also follow these requirements for their safety.


Before you take a horse on the road you should:

  • Ensure all tack fits well and is in good condition.
  • Make sure you can control the horse.
  • Never ride a horse without a saddle and bridle.
  • When riding on the road you should:

  • Keep to the left.
  • Keep both hands on the reigns unless you are signalling.
  • Keep both feet in the stirrups.
  • Not carry another person.
  • Not carry anything that might affect your balance.
  • Keep a horse you are leading to your left.
  • Avoid roundabouts where possible. If you use them you should:

  • Keep to the left and watch out for vehicles that are crossing your path.
  • Signal right when crossing exits to show that you are not leaving.
  • Signal left just before you leave the roundabout.
  • Riding Safely Around Horses

    Horses and their riders are among one of the most vulnerable groups of road users. as a driver that should always be present in your mind, you should also remember a horse is a living sentient being, and so we should not expect it to act in a predictable way, this means you must be extra careful when you encounter one to ensure the safety of the rider

    If you spot a horse:

  • Slow down and be ready to stop.
  • Avoid any actions likely to spook a horse such as splashing them with water, car revving, and sounding your horn.
  • Watch out for signals from the rider to slow down or stop.
  • Accelerate gently once you’ve passed the horse.
  • Go no faster than 15mph around the horse.
  • Horses are flight animals which make them unpredictable and easily scared. If something like a speeding car or a barking dog frightens a horse, its immediate reaction will be to run away from whatever scared it.

    This will be sudden and could take them straight into the road and into the path of your car. Even for an experienced rider a well behaved horse will be a struggle to control a horse in this situation.

    Country lanes are the most common place you’ll encounter a horse.

    For more information, please visit:

    the safe driving for life blog

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