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The BHS is calling for all riders to wear luminous and fluorescent clothing every time they ride on the road, regardless of the time of year or the weather, as part of its “Be Seen – Be Safe” campaign, which aims to reduce the numbers of road accidents involving horses.

“A rider wearing Hi-Viz clothing will be seen by a motorists up to 3secs earlier than a rider who is just wearing normal clothing,” explains BHS head of safety, Sheila Hardy.

“This gives the driver about the length of a standard dressage arena extra to act and could make the different between a horse or rider being injured, or even killed, and an accident being avoided.”

The difference between a rider wearing Hi-Viz clothing and a rider wearing standard riding wear is illustrated by the image above right, where the rider on the right simply blends into the hedgerow, while the rider on the left is clearly visible.

Free poster

The society has produced a free poster, which is available to download from its website, to encourage riders to help themselves by taking sensible precautions to improve their own safety.

The poster includes advice specific to this time of year when roads tend to be slippery and daylight hours short, as well as tips which are relevant all year round.

“The majority of horse owners work full-time and have to exercise them either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Since the clocks have changed this means riding out in the half-light and riding a dark coloured horse in dark coloured clothing is courting disaster,” continues Sheila.

“There are numerous Hi-Viz products on the market, for horse riders, carriages and the horses themselves, and they can save lives. Riders also need to remember that bright sunny days can be just as dangerous as dark winter mornings.”

The poster can be downloaded free from the BHS website in A4 or A3 format.