There are times when you will see horse riders using Queensland roads. Indeed, many riders would prefer not to use roads but at times, it is unavoidable. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will therefore be treated to a horse riding marvel whenever horses need to move from one place to another by road. This brings into focus road safety when horses are involved. Many road users have no idea how to treat riders and in many instances, they assume that horses are comfortable using the roads. The truth of the matter is that many horses are fearful when they see strange cars and people using the road. Their flight mechanism will kick in and when a horse panics, they can wreck havoc. Horses have extremely fast reflexes and owing to their weight, they can cause great harm to road users and vehicles.
How do horses ride calmly on the road?
In most cases, you will find horses riding in pairs. This is strategic to ensure that the horses feel comfortable and safe. In addition to keeping the horses calm, riding in pairs is also important for the riders to avoid undue panic. There are many things that road users can do to make the road experience for all parties conducive and safe. It all starts with the right information. Thankfully, the Queensland Horse Council provides great resources on this. It is possible for all people and horses to stay calm. However, the following tips will have to be followed accordingly.
– The first thing as a road user is to assume that both the rider and the horse do not have any experience. This will prompt you to take extra care when using the road alongside riders.
– Whenever you are passing horses, every motorist and cyclist should always slow down. Loud noises from your car will definitely spook the horses. Therefore, try to approach calmly by slowing down even if it is in the middle of a very busy road.
– If you find a horse that is restless on the road or one that is upset, you should turn off your engine. Again, this will help create a calm environment in which the horse can cool down. Also, if you find a horse that is resting, turn off your engine if possible to reduce the distraction.
– If you come across child riders, it is wise to take extra precaution. Chances are that they will not have as much experience as their much older counterparts. Children are also prone to panicking more than adult riders.
– When you approach horses and riders from behind, you should always be careful and slow. Make sure that they know or realize that you are coming their way. Horses do not like surprises and keeping your speed low will most likely create the right mood when approaching from behind.
– There are certain hand signals that riders use to communicate with you. A Queensland Horse Council fact sheet contains all the details about these hand signals. Get familiar with them and become a better road user in the presence of horses.
– Near horses, avoid any loud noises or sudden movements. Exhaust and engine brakes should also be avoided as much as possible.