Wearing lights when out riding on roads could be safer than wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing, research suggests.
Rose Scofield, from Duchy College in Cornwall, Britain, conducted a questionnaire-based study to investigate the value of bright reflective clothing in reducing the risk of near-misses between horses and vehicles.
She distributed questionaires through equine websites and forums, receiving 426 replies.
Participants answered questions regarding the fluorescent or reflective equipment they and their horses were wearing, and whether they had been involved in near-miss incidents.
Scofield grouped the responses according to whether the respondents had experienced a near-miss with traffic or not. She then examined whether they had been wearing reflective and/or fluorescent clothing.
Scofield, whose findings were outlined to delegates at the recent annual conference of the International Society of Equitation Science in the United States, found that riders who responded to the questionnaire used some reflective equipment or clothing when riding on the road.
However, when she analysed the data, what she found was perhaps surprising.
Reflective clothing, worn either by the rider or the horse, appeared to have no significant effect on the likelihood of a near-miss incident.
However, significantly fewer near misses were reported by riders wearing lights.
“This suggests that wearing lights should possibly be recommended when riding on the roads to enhance the safety of both rider and horse and contribute to the welfare of the leisure horse in particular,” Scofield said.
“The use of lights by a rider and horse combination may prove a sound contribution to the welfare of the leisure horse in avoiding possible road accidents.”
Road safety: is there a relationship between ‘near misses’ and the use of rider and horse reflective/fluorescent equipment?
Rose M. Scofield, Hannah Savin, and Hayley Randle,
Duchy College, Callington, Cornwall, UK
Proceedings of the International Society of Equitation Science (2013) p30