The Princess Royal appealed to riders to avoid hacking with their “ears full of music and mobile phones” as she spoke on road safety at this year’s National Equine Forum yesterday (8 March).

The forum’s president addressed all those at the 26th annual meeting, at which topics from rider weight to the Central Equine Database were also discussed.

“With the best will in the world, sometimes we do have to ride on the road,” she said. “And I’ve had my share of nearly having my foot taken off by a wing mirror, but it’s how riders respond to that.”

The princess said wearing high-vis gear, on humans and equines, is part of that response.

“But I don’t want drivers to think just because you’re not wearing it, you’re not there,” she added. “It’s not an excuse not to look.”

Princess Anne raised the point that road planning often takes cyclists into account, “including one are where they’ve created an entirely separate road, and very few cyclists use it”, but that elsewhere, such consideration is also given to pedestrians and riders.

“And rider awareness,” she added. “Please, riders, don’t go out with your ears full of music and mobile phones. If you can’t hear what’s going on, you’ll not only not hear a vehicle coming but also what sort of vehicle it is.”

The princess was speaking in relation to a talk given by the British Horse Society’s (BHS) safety director Alan Hiscox on influencing driver behaviour when passing horses on the road.



Mr Hiscox told of the BHS’s Dead? Or Dead Slow? campaign’s successes since its launch in 2016, including working with companies on training lorry drivers and being asked to contribute guidelines for drivers in official DVSA literature.

“We’re working with all the right agencies and stakeholders, and have established some exceptional partnerships,” he said.

“Now I’m asking you to spread the Dead Slow message, with colleagues and friends.”

See next week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out 15 March, for a full report form the forum.