Horse safety on the road

Horse riders have a right to use the road, and both riders and motorists are responsible for each other’s safety. This page has road safety tips for both horse riders and motorists.

Have the right clothing

Riding hat

Always wear a correctly fitted riding hat which has been manufactured to the current approved standard. Make sure it is in good condition and, if you fall on it, have it replaced immediately.


Always wear sensible footwear with a solid heel – never wear wellingtons or trainers.


Always check your tack before you set off to make sure that nothing is broken, and that stitching is in good order, especially on stirrup leathers and girths. Make sure the stirrup iron is large enough to fit your foot/boot. Always wear brightly-coloured reflective and fluorescent clothing on both you and your horse, no matter what time of day, season, or weather conditions.


Always wear brightly-coloured reflective and fluorescent clothing on both you and your horse, no matter what time of day, season, or weather conditions.

Prepare for emergencies

Always carry a mobile phone (or money for a public phone) in case of an emergency, but make sure all mobile electrical equipment you carry is switched off while riding, so that you can hear clearly. In addition, do not wear or use anything which could hinder your all-round observation Always carry the name and number of someone who can be contacted in case of an emergency, as well as details about yourself and contact details for your vet. If required, the police also have a special contact number for a vet in an emergency.

Make sure you have valid insurance

Make sure you have valid third-party public liability insurance cover, which can be obtained through a broker or specialist insurance provider.


Mutual courtesy and care between motorists and riders is important to prevent intolerance and improve safety. A horse rider should acknowledge a courtesy. However, a wave or acknowledgement is not always possible as two hands are often needed to keep control of the horse.

Motorists and horse riders both have a right to use the road. They also share a responsibility to consider each others needs

Horse-riding and road safety test

Finally, remember always to give a life-saver look before any manoeuvre.


As a motorist you should:

  • look out for horses being led or ridden on the road
  • at left hand bends and on narrow country roads – take extra care and keep your speed down
  • when you see a horse rider on the road – slow down
  • when behind a horse rider – give them plenty of room and be ready to stop
  • do not sound your horn or rev your engine – horses are powerful but vulnerable animals easily scared by noise and may panic around fast moving vehicles
  • when overtaking pass wide and slow
  • horse riders are often children – so take extra care
  • watch out for horse riders’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop

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