Equestrian Needs Ltd


Horses do have blind spots and can be easily startled if something suddenly appears in their line of vision. Their hearing is extremely accurate and they often hear things in the distance which we can’t.

If your horse senses danger, it may stop dead to look at the object, it may snort if it moves and it may step sideways or backwards to avoid getting too close. Horses do have a flight instinct so may turn and flee which can mean you as a rider temporarily lose control. If a vehicle passes too close and it startles your horse, it may well kick out catching it’s hoof or body on the car.

  • Ensure that you can control your horse in all situations and that it is obedient to your aids (get your horse listening to you before going on the road) e.g. halt to trot, move sideways.
  • Will your horse standstill for longer periods? you will need to be able to wait on the side of the road ready to cross or to allow vehicles to pass.
  • Traffic and hazards can spook horses, so make sure young or nervous horses are introduced to road work slowly and with experienced equine company. Do your preparation before taking to the roads, get him used to various sights and sounds in the safety of an arena. Remember the roads are not a place to school any horse.

Consider if you could ride safely if:

  • Dogs suddenly run barking
  • Livestock behind fences make a noise
  • Plastic bags, wheelie bins or other objects flap or make a noise
  • Water or grit is thrown up from passing vehicles
  • Sharing a path with walkers and cyclists.

When riding, always look for possible hazards and plan what you are going to do about them if you get too close. If you are unsure, take an experienced companion.

Road Safety Tests

The BHS offer a Riding and Road Safety Test which can also be taken through the Pony Club by members at ‘C’ standard, helping to prepare children 12 and above for riding on the road.

Click here for the BHS Test

Click here for the Pony Club Test