Close to two horses are being killed on British roads every week, the latest statistics from the British Horse Society (BHS) show.
More than 845 incidents involving horses were reported to the BHS’s incidents website in the past year. Of this number, four people have died and 115 were injured, while 87 horses were killed and 117 injured.
The statistics show an increase of 109% in the number of incidents since the previous year – although this is partly the result of a new partnership with the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society and the verderers of the New Forest, encouraging them to report all incidents involving semi-feral ponies and horses to the BHS.
BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox told H&H this increase, taking into account the Dartmoor and New Forest ponies, is positive for the BHS’s ongoing Dead or Dead Slow road safety campaign.
“This will really highlight the issues on our roads,” he said.
“People need to realise it’s not just ridden horses. We’re working with other agencies to highlight the semi-feral ponies who are killed or injured, but also carriage horses and loose horses – our dead slow message applies whenever you see a horse on the road.”
Of the reported incidents, 73% occurred as a result of vehicles passing too closely.
MPs have the chance to ask why equestrians were ‘ignored’ in the recent Highway Code review announcement
Recent online survey by www.horseandhound.co.uk shows that more riders than ever are victims of road rage
The BHS’ Dead Slow campaign, which has involved work on educating drivers with bodies from the Driving Instructors Association to major supermarket chains to bus companies, sends four key behaviour change messages.
These urge drivers to, if they see a horse on the road, slow down to 15mph or less, be patient, pass the horse wide and slow, if safe to do so, and drive slowly away.
The BHS has also been working with parliament, including on a reworking of the Highway Code to ensure horses and riders are included in the guidance.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.