Is it time to take a “driving test” on your horse?

According to recent research by a national car leasing company, 94% of drivers are demanding “driving tests” for riders on the road.

Apparently the increasing number of young riders means that there should be some sort of minimum standard of horsemanship before taking to roads.

“Who hasn’t been stuck behind a line of horses when driving down a country road?” said Flexed.co.uk spokesman Johnny Ratcliffe. “It’s momentarily annoying, which results in hostility between both parties.

“It’s only right that both drivers and horse riders are taught how to share the road responsibly.”

Drivers surveyed by the company came out with a variety of responses.

“I’ve got no problem with horse riders — I give them respect and a wide berth and they’ve only held me up for half a minute at most. But you’ve got to worry about training and insurance these days, haven’t you,” one asked.

While a lorry driver said: “Why should these toffs and their snooty offspring have right of way? Roads are for cars, make them stick to the fields.”

However, riders countered: “Quite a few of us have equine insurance. Millions in coverage if there’s an accident, God forbid. And it’s right that riders ought to be trained properly before mixing with cars. Some drivers are such idiots,” said one.

One younger rider added: “I’ll take a test if car owners take a test on driving near horses. Fair’s fair.”

However, although reversing around a corner or parallel parking your horse is unlikely to become law, Sheila Hardy from the British Horse Society (BHS) added: “Each year thousands of people sit their BHS riding and road safety test which equips people with the skills and knowledge that they need to maximise their chances of staying safe on Britain’s increasingly busy roads. We would dearly like to see more riders take the test, or even just attend the training if they don’t like the idea of a test, as in our experience even those who have been hacking out for years or are very experienced car drivers find they learn plenty that they perhaps hadn’t previously known.

“Some of the accident reports we receive at www.horseaccidents.org.uk are very upsetting and show just how important equine roadcraft is. The BHS is committed to keeping riders safe and we do this both by working with riders and also with other road users such as cyclists and drivers. We all need to work together to cut down on unnecessary accidents and deaths on our roads.

“It is unlikely that any sort of test for riders would be made a legal requirement though.”