We asked the versatile equine gaiter company Golly Galoshes which manufacture florescent versions of their gaiters with highly reflective strips for their top tips on keeping safe on the roads this winter…
The British Horse Society offers road safety training for horse and is a great opportunity for riders to educate themselves on appropriate road safety and hopefully minimize the risk involved when riding on the roads!
Make sure that you wear a good fitting helmet; this could save your life in the event of you hitting the tarmac. If your hat is old or has been dropped or generally knocked about, then its time to replace it.
IT’S COOL TO BE SEEN!
‘Be Seen, Ride Safe’ is supported by their ‘Team Golly Galoshes’ riders: Multi Gold medalist Natasha Baker and event rider Victoria Bax, both of whom wear high visibility out on our roads. Wearing high-viz is cool and clever!
Wearing a body protector isn’t essential, but some riders do get added reassurance by wearing one in the saddle BUT wearing highly reflective and bright clothing is essential to make you visible both on the roads and out hacking in shady woodland or bright sunlight.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wearing fluorescent clothing means that you and your horse can be seen clearly by other road users and more quickly, in fact wearing High-Viz can give drivers a valuable three seconds extra reaction time!
GOLLYS ARE GO!
Golly Galoshes all feature a generous reflective strip, which highlights the horse’s legs and as well as being available in both Navy and Black they also come a variety of bright fluorescent colours – giving you and your horse even more visibility on the roads. They also keep your boots clean, even when its muddy and because they are designed to cover the full length of the lower leg, they are still very visible even after a muddy ride through the woods mid hack!
Riding in appropriate footwear is essential because in the event of a fall you want to ensure that your chances of being caught up in a stirrup are minimized. Choose footwear that has been designed for riding and check that your stirrups are wide enough to allow your foot to sit in them without being wedged in.
Should the horse you are riding be young or inexperienced, then it should be ridden by an experienced horse person and in the company of a sensible horse. Riding two abreast can be useful when there is a younger or more inexperienced horse, however for obvious reasons, return to single file such as when riding through narrow roads or bends. If you can also avoid riding at peak traffic times then do so.
Road conditions should be a big consideration for riders any time of the year, but with autumn comes leaves and mud on the road and of course puddles, then coming into the winter, icy patches and black ice. Be extra cautious when riding out and if you are unsure that the road conditions are not safe, then don’t risk you or your horse – remember its not just you that could be skidding and slipping, lorries and other traffic could have the same issue.
Be aware of light conditions also and don’t get caught out by fading light. Remember on a dull and overcast day, light can fade much quicker than anticipated, so leave yourself plenty of time to get home if your route involves road work.
MANNERS ARE EVERYTHING!
There is nothing more frustrating for a driver than when they slow down for horses and the rider or riders completely ignore them!
Make sure you always thank drivers for slowing down and passing wide, even if it is just a nod of the head and smile if you feel you cannot take your hand off the reins: A big grin and thank-you goes a long way!
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