When you hack out do you know the rules of the road? Take a look at some of these highlights to prevent disasters while out riding.
Remember when riding you are considered part of the motor vehicle act and you should be riding on the same side of the road as vehicles. For example, pedestrians walk facing traffic, while horseback riders should ride with the flow of traffic.
Where we live there is not much traffic and we ride on the right hand side of the road as if we are ‘vehicles’.
Stay at a safe distance from the horse in front. This means no crowding. If your horse feels crowded then it may get nervous.
Be seen. This is very important. Wear a reflective vest so cars can see you. And even a reflective blanket/sheet for the horse.
It does take a bit of education.
Wearing reflective clothing helps identify you, as a rider, as a possible hazard. I know in my neck of the woods, horses are not too common and some drivers do not slow down as much as I would like. They often drive by slowly and then accelerate. This sometimes sends small stones up, which spooks the horses. Wearing a reflective vest will help keep the cars slower for longer and make them realize they do have to be cautious around the horses.
Training Your Horse to Be Safe on the Road
All of my horses have been safe on the road because we have our pastures adjacent to the road and I have taken the time to train them not to be afraid of traffic.
One instance a truck with a (noisy) hay wagon was being pulled along the road. I recognized this as a disaster waiting to happen. So I got the driver to slow down and had a chat with him. All the while the horses were trying to munch on the hay debris left on the hay wagon. So as I chatted with the driver I let the horse sniff and eat the hay off the wagon. Crisis averted and more importantly – it turned out into a positive experience.
Have you ever taken the time to teach your horse a vehicle is something positive? I have, in the past, taken a green horse out and have had a friend drive my vehicle beside the horse. At different points along the road I would have the driver of the vehicle stop and feed the horse a treat from the vehicle. This way the horse associates the vehicle with something positive.
What have you done to encourage safe riding along the road?