With the days getting shorter and the afternoons getting darker, wearing high visibility clothing is important to stay safe when out riding your horse. Reflective glare from roads and low-lying sun can have a dangerous impact on those we share the roads with. Hi-vis clothing with not only protect you from harsh weather conditions (dependant on the style of clothing you purchase) but it will also help others around you – especially drivers, to stay safe, certainly if weather conditions cause visibility to be low.
As equestrian experts, the team at Ravenhall Rural want you to stay safe when riding your horse, so we have collated a list of reasons why wearing high visibility clothing is essential to all horse riders.
Increased Motorist reaction times
Did you know that wearing hi-vis clothing increases drivers reaction times by 3 seconds? It may not seem like a lot – but those 3 seconds could be vital and give a driver time to slow down before reaching you and your horse. By reducing the risk of an accident and wearing a hi-vis, you can save not only the drivers life, but your own and your horse’s.
For these reasons, we would recommend wearing hi-vis clothing all year round as it can provide the same benefits in the summertime as it does in the winter. Bright sunlight can be blinding – therefore motorist visibility may be compromised. By wearing bright illuminous colours, drivers can spot you more easily and will prepare to stop or make space for you sooner.
Alerting dog owners
Off road horse riders often share routes with dog walkers, so preparing for an interaction with dog walkers is always necessary. Dogs that are unfamiliar with horses can start barking, jump up or even chase after them. This will cause you (as the horse rider) to lose control of your horse, especially if your horse is new to off road riding. Wearing high visibility clothing will alert dog owners to your presence and provide them with an opportunity to get their dog under control. You will then be able to pass each other safely.
You can find safety quicker
If you were involved in an accident, or suffered an injury while out on a hack with your horse – the authorities will be able to find you much quicker if you’re wearing hi-vis clothing. You should always be mindful of the route you’re travelling on if you’re alone and ensure that someone knows your whereabouts. Should an unfortunate event occur which causes you to be thrown from your horse and you are parted from one another, wearing bright clothing will help you to find your horse easier and vice versa.
So… What should I wear?
We advise all riders to wear bright colours and reflective vests where possible. Horses should be fitted with reflective leg wraps, brow bands, breast collars and stirrup bars, so your horse is as visible as possible. However, for the winter months, bright and reflective horse rugs are a good choice, especially if you are expecting harsh weather on your expeditions.
Always remember that we are exposing our horses to a dangerous environment. We owe it to them to make it as safe an experience as possible. To stay safe while riding on the road, make sure you stay alert and always thank drivers if they mover over or slow down to accommodate you. If you spot irresponsible or unsafe driving, try make a note of the number plate and report it, to build a safer community for horse riders in your area.
If you’re looking for any further advice on how to stay safe this winter, contact our team. We offer horse and rider insurance to give you a little piece of mind when using the roads.