Road Safety (for the driver) (part 1)

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In urban centers a horse is not a common sight, either being rode or driven. Some larger cities have carriage rides but out of safety for the horse those rides tend to stay in parks or on smaller streets. If you venture out to the country it is possible to come across a rider out on a road hack, a relaxed ride down the road, generally as a break from more intensive schooling work in the arena, or even a horse drawn vehicle. There are a few things driver must keep in mind when driving their car or truck by a horse.Horseridders 1 download

Horses are prey animals; this means they tend to think anything “scary” is out to have them for supper. A large moving noise machine in their mind could be there to mow them down and eat them. To us we cannot see why cars are such a terrifying thing.

Some horses have been “bomb-proofed” which means they are calmer around things that most would spook at. Not all horses have been bomb-proofed and sometimes those which have been are still spooked when away from the barn since they are in a new environment.

In Canada horses have the right of way on the road (expect for highways over 100km/h) and this means they are allowed on the road with you, the driver. Also, Canadian law states that the safety of the horse and rider is the responsibility of the vehicle operator. Care must be taken to not cause trouble with the animal(s).

Horseridders 3 downloadWhen driving up to and passing a horse the driver of the car should:

-        Keep an eye on the rider/driver/handler of the horse for any signs

-        Slow down a fair distance before approaching

-        Maintain the slowed speed while passing

-        Give the horse more room than given to a bicycler as if they feel they are being “closed in on” they may run or kick out

-        Stop the car if the rider falls or horse is acting up unless the horseman signals otherwise

Horsemen will generally thank you with a nod or wave for driving safely around them. Not all riders will be able to thank you as they may have their hands full with a misbehaving horse or for another reason not obvious to you.

Keeping everyone safe on the roads allows for everyone to enjoy the roads.

AlexCarpenter-603x800Alexandra Carpenter

Alexandra Carpenter

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