Local equestrians, drivers, cyclists and walkers welcomed The British Horse Society (BHS) on Tuesday, February 27 to Llangynidr Village Hall, as they shared valuable insights into just how important it is to pass horses safely.

The charity’s safety team reflected on the power of horses, with a medium-sized horse weighing an average 500kg and able to reach a very high speed, and how they can cause damage to a vehicle if they have cause for alarm.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for equestrians to stay off the roads due to the shrinking bridleway network, even though they would often prefer to do so. Therefore, to avoid injury to a horse, equestrian, or driver, the BHS advises road users to pass horses slowly and widely. This is in line with the advice laid out in the Highway Code, which includes Rule 215 where drivers are advised to leave at least two metres when passing horses, slow down to 10mph and then drive slowly away. It also outlines how ponies, like cattle and sheep, may eat salt on the road or lie next to the road as it is warm.

Other rules explored include rule 213, in which, on narrow roads, equestrians may ride in the centre of the road, explaining why they would; to avoid uneven surfaces, drain covers or oily or wet, icy patches on the road.

The BHS offers clear advice for equestrians too. It’s important for equestrians to evaluate whether they know the correct hand signals for ‘stop’ and ‘slow down’, and to assess the conditions including low sun. In this informative session, attendees saw how conspicuous clothing can help in poor light conditions as well as the bright sunlight, including in the summer when there may also be shadows present.

Operation Snap was also explored, which uses camera evidence from the horse rider, as well as the wider work the charity does around educating drivers. This includes Project EDWARD- Every Day Without A Road Death.

More information can be found at www.bhs.org.uk where equestrians can also record incidents they are involved in via the charity’s Horse i app.