A survey has suggested that horse owners feel drivers are taking the joy out of riding.

The survey of more than 1,700 horse owners, conducted by Petplan Equine, in time for Road Safety Week (22-18 November), found that 90% of riders feel drivers do not take enough care when passing horses on the road.

More than 40% of riders said they dislike hacking on the road due to traffic and a fifth said they would like to hack more, but don’t have sufficient access to the countryside.

Petplan Equine marketing manager Alison Andrew said: “Riding is a wonderful hobby. It is good exercise, gets people out in the fresh air and many riders bond strongly with their horse, which adds to the pleasure of the sport.

“It is a great shame that riders are feeling vulnerable on our roads and we are calling on drivers to take extra care, particularly on some of the more minor country roads, to help ensure horse riders feel relaxed and stay safe.”

But nearly 40% of respondents also felt riders should also show more consideration to other road users.

Over half admitted to using their mobile phone whilst riding, with one fifth confessing to texting or tweeting while on horseback.

“Although it is always a good idea to carry a mobile phone with you when out hacking in case you run into difficulties, we strongly urge riders to stop, and ideally dismount, before making a call or texting,” Ms Alison added.