A new Travel Safely campaign has been launched by the British Horse Society (BHS) in Hampshire this month to promote better safety awareness to owners.

The idea came about last October when Hampshire Fire and Rescue large animal rescue team talked at the BHS Hants annual meeting about their experiences with traffic accidents.

Committee member Kayti Harvey said: “It was very thought provoking as well as quite frightening — some of the photos were graphic and quite horrific at times.

“I felt that putting on something to highlight to our members the potential pitfalls and practical steps that can be taken when travelling would be a real benefit.

“It will highlight the importance of choosing and caring for your transport, training your horse — as well as what to take with you, and what to do and not to do when the worst happens.

“As the rescue team said — how many people put their £5,000 horse in a £800 trailer which hasn’t been serviced since it was new? Did they even know they needed to service it?”

The first outing of the campaign will next week at Winchester-based Sparsholt College’s open day on 16 May.

The day runs from 10am-4pm and will provide information on how to prepare and travel horses safely — and also what to do if there is an accident or emergency.

There will also be demonstrations throughout the day by Hampshire Fire and Rescue, who attend a number of trailer and road incidents involving horses and horse transport — mainly due to incorrect loading or the vehicle not being suitable for purpose.

Ms Harvey added: “It is a subject that affects just about every horseowner. With the increase in traffic, increase in legal requirements for towing and travelling livestock and the decrease in available off-road hacking situated locally to every livery yard it is important to make every ride with your horse a safe one.”

BHS senior welfare executive Lee Hackett said: “It’s the first initiative of its type that I’m aware of and will hopefully prove to be a model that can we used across the country. We support it fully.”

For more information visit: www.bhshampshire.org.uk/travel or www.sparsholt.ac.uk