This week on social media, we have been talking horse and rider safety. Whether that is out hacking on the roads and the countryside or competing at any level, taking safety measures when on and around horses is vital.
In shocking figures released by The British Horse Society, two horses are killed every week on Britain's roads. Since November 2010, 315 horses and 43 people have been killed on the roads. These shocking numbers are on the rise, so as horse riders who ride on the roads we must do everything we can to raise awareness of how to pass a horse and rider safely, but also wear appropriate clothing and take care.
Appropriate clothing means always wearing Hi-Viz clothing on the rider and if possible the horse too. This should be worn in all weather conditions, not just in the winter or when it is getting dark. Using different colours for different conditions can improve the visibility even further.
Spring is the time when nature blossoms with colour, so choosing the right colour Hi-Viz to wear is important to make sure you and your horse stand out from the background. Pink is possibly the best colour to wear in Spring, as it will stand out against the green hedgerows, yellow oil seed rape and the blue skies.
In Summer time you may think that general visibility is good, so why wear a Hi-Viz? Well, the trees and hedges that are not in full bloom with leaves create dark shadows on the roads, which may stop a driver or other road user from spotting you and your horse. A great colour to avoid this, however, is Orange. Orange stands out really well against the dark shadows or even the drying fields, so is great to wear in Summer.
As the season starts to change, the trees turn orange and leaves start to fall, we head into Autumn. In this season the orange will start to blend into the trees, so Yellow is a good colour to turn to. Yellow will stand out against the darkening skies and auburn colours of the trees.
When we think of Winter, many of us will think of grey. The dark skies and fewer daylight hours means that riding out on the roads can become more dangerous and Yellow is great for this. The other conditions we see in Winter is frost and ice, where Pink and Orange will stand out well against the pale, frosty background.
Not only is it important for you to be seen from the ground all year round, but wearing Hi-Viz means you are instantly more visible from the sky too. Lowing flying aircraft can cause problems for horse and riders, but the aircraft cannot try to avoid you if they cannot see you.
Making sure you're visible to any potential dangers is the first stage and precaution we can take when riding on the road, but there are other things to be aware of and keep in mind, as can be seen in the graphic below.
The other aspect of safety around horses if protective equipment, like hats, body protectors and air jackets. It is important to wear a hat when on board a horse, but also when handling them too. Your hat is there to protect your head and should always be replaced if you have had a fall or the hat has been dropped, as damage to the hat may not always be visible from the outside.
We have a range of hats and body protectors from Gatehouse and Champion available in store, with knowledgeable staff on hand to fit them correctly to you, as well as Point Two Air Jackets.
Image from Champion Riding Hats