South Australia’s equine advocacy group Horse SA has released an updated safety booklet giving guidance to riding horses on the roads.
The new booklet, Horse Safety on the roads in Australia, has a foreword by equine researcher Dr Kirrilly Thompson, who in 2015 published findings from a survey where more than half of all riders (52%) reported having experienced at least one accident or near miss in the previous 12 months.
Thompson, who is vice-chair of The Horse Federation of SA and Pony Club Australia’s Participation and Development Manager, spent a decade of her academic career conducting research on horse rider safety. “The roads are potentially dangerous for all users – some are just vulnerable for different reasons,” she says.
“Unlike other road users, horse riders need to accommodate a sentient decision-making animal into their road-use experience. Riders must be continually assessing themselves, their situation and their horses – who can behave differently from day to day, if not minute to minute.”
The guide covers all aspects of road riding including preparation, hand signals, emergency dismounts, travelling in a horse trailer, leading a horse on the road, and a skills checklist. Guidance on using other areas such as bike lanes and shared pathways and recreational trails are also included.
Horse safety on the roads in Australia is an educational resource and is not a replacement for the country’s road rules, or state, provincial regional or local regulations or by-laws. All horse riders and handlers should be familiar with the road rules specific to their own area.
Horse SA has also released a single-page companion guide on sharing the road with horse riders, aimed at helping others to know how they may best pass horses on roads, pathways and trails.
Riders are urged to share both guides with their non-riding friends.