Horse and Road Safety

Working with the equestrian community we aim to encourage a high level of safety awareness among riders. We have developed a booklet to try and simplify the different manoeuvres which riders need to learn to increase safety on the road.

Things to consider

Before you go on the road you should be conscious of your safety and ensure you have considered the following things:

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.


  • 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 the event 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.

Riding and roadcraft manual

  • Study the BHS Riding and Roadcraft manual and read and learn The Highway Code, paying particular attention to the relevant sections for horse-riders.


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


  • Always show courtesy to other road users – a smile or nod of thanks is all that is required as this means you do not have to take your hands off the reins.
  • Learn some basic first aid for both horse and rider.

Horse-riding and road safety test

  • Finally, remember always to give a LIFE-SAVER LOOK before any manoeuvre.

Horse-drawn vehicle

  • The average horse drawn vehicle is the same width as a car.
  • A combination of carriage and horse is longer than a car so please do not cut in too sharp following overtaking.
  • Wide and slow is the best way to overtake.
  • A carriage can be pulled by a single horse, a pair (horses side by side), a tandem (one horse in front of the other), or even a team which can consist of multiple horses. so all this needs to be taken into account when overtaking.
  • Unlike the ridden horse, it is not possible to pull over onto a grass verge to allow traffic to pass.
  • The carriage must be fitted with reflectors on the rear.
  • Lights should be used if out in poor visibility or after lighting up time (very rare that a horse-carriage combination would be on the roads under these conditions anyway).
  • It is sensible for HiViz to be worn by carriage drivers and a HiViz sign on rear of carriage.
  • It would also be sensible for the people on the carriage to wear riding helmets.
  • Although a horse and carriage can back up, it is not the easiest or fastest manoeuvre, so if meeting on a narrow lane, please don't expect the horse-carriage combination to back up.
  • If a hill is steep, a horse-carriage combination prefers not to trot down it, so please be patient and allow it time.
  • Drivers use normal hand signals as shown in the highway code - don't confuse the right turn for "overtake".
  • Drivers have to follow the normal rules that apply to any vehicle using the highway.
  • Horse and carriage do not require vehicle excise tax because it is not a motorised vehicle.
  • Only overtake a horse and carriage when you have a clear view of the road ahead, the same as you should for any vehicle using the road.
  • If the driver signals you to stop, please do so because there will be a very good reason.

Related resources


14 April 2010

Horse Riding Leaflet

This resource provides information regarding equestrian safety.