Rider Safety : Do You Feel Safe Riding on the Roads?
I love hacking my sport horses. It’s a great way to condition a horse after an injury or give him a mental break from his job. My horse Durango is a green horse with not much trail experience. I don’t have anyone to hack with, so we hack solo. Our last outing left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The speed limit is 31 mph / 50 km/h on our country road. There was a huge noisy bike thundering down at least 50 mph / 80 km/h towards us. I expected him to slow down – nope. We were riding on a narrow gravel road and my horse had never seen such a huge beast of a bike before. This guy did not move an inch. My horse tried to keep his cool, but ended up freaking out and jumping into a deep muddy ditch almost falling down with me. Thinking this was an unusual incident, we shrugged it off and kept on keeping on. Next a line of cars is coming towards us, again well over the speed limit on a narrow gravel road. I tried to slow them down by waving my hand and moving into the centre of the road, but that didn’t work – they almost clipped us and even revved their engines when they were passing us – arrghhh…
I am an experienced rider, but I often feel uncomfortable hacking out. I don’t want me or my horse to get hurt by an ignorant driver. There is a growing crisis of loss of land for equine related activities and with ATVs on virtually every trail, it’s harder and harder to find places where we can enjoy riding our horses safely. Is there a lack of awareness among motorists about this issue? Do you remember learning anything about how to safely pass horses on the road in your driving school? I have driver’s licenses from three different continents, yet I do not recall being taught any lesson on horse/rider safety. It’s important that drivers understand that by not respecting such a large animal on the road they can end up badly injured too. A horse through a driver’s windshield is not pretty for both driver and rider. Horses are flight animals and it only takes an instant for something to go wrong. Some drivers actually speed up, beep or yell out the window. It’s an injury waiting to happen.
Here are some headlines from the last couple of months:
What is your experience? Do you feel vulnerable riding on the roads? Did you have a bad encounter with oblivious motorists? Let us know…
Stay tuned for our next post about this issue. Let’s see if together we can drum up some awareness and keep both horses and humans safe on the roads.
Team EcoLicious EquestrianRide Green,
Your Horse. Your Earth. Your Choice.
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