Unfortunately not all of us are lucky enough to ride off-road, so most of us come across the dilemma.  Do we ride our precious mounts on the dreaded road or In The School Again???


The answer


We like all traffic have a right to ride on the road and should feel as safe as possible when we do!!!


There is still cases of hoses being involved in incidents on the road both with and without injury to the horses and riders, that not to mention how many near misses go unreported....


HorseWatch Scotland together with the British Horse Society Scotland aim to work towards Prevention through Education.



Highway Code
As a result of BHS lobbying horses featured in the Highway Code since 1992, horses are mentioned more than before.



There are 2.4 million riders in UK.
And over 26 million licensed vehicles on UK roads today.
Incidents There are approximately 8 horse related accidents every day.
Fatalities And on average five riders are killed each year.
2002 11 die.
2005 2 riders, 11 horses and 1 car driver killed but 25 riders seriously injured.
While deaths figures are accurate as clearly identifiable there is no statutory Accident recording for horses not unless hospitalised human injury from scene of accident.


BRITISH HORSE SOCIETY - Riding and Road Safety

The BHS Riding and Road Safety Test is taken by over 4,000 riders a year and helps to educate riders in road safety to help minimise the risk involved when riding on the road.  Training is available to all riders from 12 years of age and it is not essential to own a horse to take the test as many riding schools and centres organise them for their pupils. Similarly, you do not need to attend a centre in order to take the test.


Contact the BHS for more information on what the test involves and the dates set for Scottish riders.



  • Sit your RIDING and ROAD SAFETY TEST - every rider should undertake some form of basic road safety.

  • At very least riders should read the HIGHWAY CODE and RIDING and ROAD CRAFT MANUAL - if you are involved in an incident it is likely you will be questioned by the Police re what the highway code says - this is the law these are statutory rules affecting riders OBEY THE LAW.
    Stopping distance 20mph 6 metres to think 6 metres to brake.

  • Plan your route - leave details of your route with someone and approximate time of return. Avoid busy roads, peak times etc - pay attention to fading light, snow, ice and fog.

  • Check tack, horse’s feet and shoes, emergency equipment eg mobile phone, money, folding hoof pick etc.

  • BE SEEN BE SAFE - wear hi-viz on both rider and horse as this allows a motorist travelling at 30mph an extra 3 seconds to see you.

  • Always be courteous thanking motorists who do slow down always consider other road users - move over to gateway or verge where possible be considerate.

  • If riding in groups - groups should be less than eight in number if more form into groups with a competent leader in each group - if groups need to cross roads then cross together not in dribs and drabs.





Most incidents arise from a lack of understanding, so educating motorists as well as horse riders is important.


  • Always pass wide and slow - Imagine what its like for a cyclist or horse rider. if someone passes too close. Give them room as horses are powerful and easily frightened and can panic.

  • Approach horses with caution as you would a child on a bike - slow down, do not go too near or rev engine when there is a clear view pass wide and slow without accelerating away.

  • Be aware of their intentions from hand signal etc.


Reporting of Equestrian Incidents


A site set up by the BHS to record the statistics of equine related accidents and incidents involving the following:



  • Dog Attacks
  • Low Flying Aircraft
  • Fireworks
  • Road & Trailer Accidents


If you have been involved in any type of accident or incident with your horse, please take the time to report it on this site.  The information recorded is vital ito make the necessary changes to make riding safer.


The site is packed full of useful information and advice, click on the link below to have a look.