Thames Valley Police launch equine autumn safety campaign

Police launch Operation Fidelity
Police launch Operation Fidelity

Thames Valley Police Mounted Section is launching an equine autumn safety campaign and wants your help.

With the days getting shorter and people still keen to go out and ride their horses, an increase in awareness for the safety of both riders and road users is essential.

Wearing high-vis does not only reduce the risk of harm by making yourself more visible to motorists but also makes you more visible to other potential hazards such as low-flying aircraft, dog walkers, cyclists etc and being seen early will allow these people to take steps to avoid startling your horse.

Advice for horse riders

Always display fluorescent/reflective clothing on both horse and rider whatever the weather or light conditions.

Have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact on both your horse and yourself.

Check that all tack is in a good state of repair and fitted correctly before riding out.

If at all avoidable, don’t ride in failing light, fog or darkness. Avoid icy or snowy roads.

If riding a horse that is not used to roads, ask a rider with a horse who is experienced and calm to accompany you.

Try to avoid riding more than two abreast on the road. If riding two abreast be prepared to go into single file on narrow roads to allow traffic to pass if safe to do so.

Always cross major crossings in a group, rather than trickling across one by one.

Leave details of your intended route and estimated time of return with a responsible person

Ensure you thank motorists for slowing down.

It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the Highway Code before riding on the road and to take the BHS British Horse Society riding and road safety test – visit the BHS website for further information.

Advice for motorists

Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary.

Look out for riders’ signals to slow down or stop.

Watch out for sudden movements, unlike your motor vehicle a horse has its own mind and can be startled.

Don’t sound your horn or rev your engine, as your actions could startle a horse. For drivers of larger vehicles beware that the sound of air brakes could also startle a horse.

Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them.

On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits they don’t intend to use

Above all please be patient.

Bright Rider

This is a way to highlight to all horse riders, especially younger riders, the importance of wearing fluorescent or high-visibility clothing when out and about on your horse.

Educating the younger generation should ensure good practice is kept, raising awareness in drivers around the importance of driving safely near horses.

Police are also asking people to submit poster ideas and designs of those riding horses in your high-visibility clothing and three reasons as to why you wear them and safety tips.

To support our campaign there will be a few winning designs chosen to support our campaign ‘Bright Rider?’ and a handful of lucky winners will get to visit the Mounted Section and meet our police horses, as well as having the posters used as part of the safety campaign.

If you want to enter, please submit your finished poster designs by Wednesday November. 4 to