Horsefinder.co.uk launches safety initiative for riders

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In an initiative to reduce accidents involving horses on Britain’s roads, an equestrian website is giving away high visibility vests to its customers. The initiative from Horsefinder.co.uk will aim to encourage riders to adopt a better safety regime, and reinforces that horse riders have a duty of care as road users.

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While many drivers slow for horses, there’s no guarantee a horse will be seen and this creates a huge risk of accident and injury. We’re encouraging horse riders to take an important but basic step and wear BS EN1150 compliant high visibility clothing

“More than 3 million people ride horses in Britain, and they’re increasingly located in suburbs and populated areas,” said Katie Sanders, founder of Horsefinder.co.uk. “They have no choice but to take their horses onto the roads, and this is often at night or when there’s poor visibility due to weather conditions.

“While many drivers slow for horses, there’s no guarantee a horse will be seen and this creates a huge risk of accident and injury. We’re encouraging horse riders to take an important but basic step and wear BS EN1150 compliant high visibility clothing at all times when on horseback or leading horses.”

She added: “In a society where litigation and a blame culture is on the up, horse riders need to remember they have a duty of care as road users and must be able to demonstrate best practice in the event of an incident.”

To help encourage rider safety awareness, Horsefinder.co.uk is giving away a high visibility vest to every new customer, with a choice of sizes ranging from children’s to large. It has also created a dedicated safety section on its website: blog.horsefinder.co.uk/horse-safety/

The true scope of road incidents involving horses is not known, but the British Horse Society believes there are as many as 3000 horse-related accidents on our roads each year. The vast majority of these go unreported. It is only those accidents which result in hospital treatment that are recorded, but there are scores of human and horse injuries or deaths that fail to make the headlines.

Katie Sanders is keen to stress that the free vests should be seen only as a complement to overall good rider safety.

“Horse riders of all ages and experience should take rider training and have this assessed by a third party, such as taking the British Horse Society rider and road safety tests that are supported by the Ministry of Transport.

“They should also adopt protective equipment such as body protectors as well as quality helmets, and use other high-vis apparel such as ankle bands and stirrup lights. We also advise riders to have appropriate public liability insurance.”

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