Hobby horses help teach children about passing riders safely on the road

  • Primary school children are being taught how to pass horses safely in a new joint venture between the British Horse Society (BHS) and Canewdon Equestrian.

    The charity and the road safety campaign group launched the Henry the Horse scheme on 18 October at Westerings Primary Academy, along with pupils from Holt Farm Junior School, Essex.

    Mr Hiscox said: “We’re really pleased to be working on this fantastic project, which we hope will eventually be delivered in all primary schools across the UK.

    “Our Dead or Dead Slow campaign which educates drivers and horse riders on how to stay safe when they encounter one another on the road has already been hugely successful, but worryingly, only one in 10 incidents are reported to us each year so the actual number is likely to be much higher.

    “By educating children as well as adults, I really believe we can help to save even more lives in the future.”

    The youngsters, aged between nine and 11, were given a talk by BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox, then took part in activities on hobby horses, with the aim of learning how to pass horses safely, on bikes, on foot and as passengers in cars. Each child was given a game and a rosette to take home, as well as a leaflet to give their parents.

    Claire Lilley of Canewdon said: “I am so happy this important project is finally coming to life. I have been a rider in the area for many years and in that time, I witnessed a tragic car accident involving my friend and her horse, Angel, who was sadly killed.

    “Together, with the help of our local councillor, Julie Gooding and MP Mark Francois, Canewdon Equestrian has raised so much awareness on the importance of driving safely around horses and after an initial pilot lesson with some of the local children, it became very clear that not only did they enjoy it, but they had a huge part to play in educating the general public.”

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    District councillor Ms Gooding said her background as a youth worker made her aware of “the power young minds have when educated at an early age”.

    She said: “I suggested working with schools to raise awareness of the dangers that can affect vulnerable road users.

    “Working with Canewdon Equestrian, we devised a fun interactive programme to include role play in all aspects of road users, given that horses are a flight animal.

    “The British Horse Society has supported our initiative and developed it to be acceptable with other road safety authorities.”

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