If you are not used to rural driving, you may not know how to drive safely near horses and their riders. There will always be some drivers who 'assume' that because a rider and their horse are on the road, then they are both used to busy traffic - think again.
There may also be those drivers who simply have little or no respect for any other road users. These people should be reminded that however well trained, horses can be very upredictable - and could cause a lot of damage to you, your passengers and your vehicle, not to mention their riders.
If you are behind a horse and rider, and even if the road ahead is clear, always slow down before even considering a manoeuvre. Any sudden noises can make a horse 'spook' or panic if they are a little nervous.
Most riders will use signals similar to the arm signals for drivers illustrated in the UK Highway Code, so pay attention to them.
Although riders are generally advised to travel in single file, there may be times when it is safer for them to ride side by side. This may be because either the horse or the rider are unfamiliar with busy roads.
When you decide to pass a horse and rider you must ensure that you have plenty of time to do so SLOWLY. Any other approach could frighten the horse, and it could become difficult to control.
Remember that an out of control horse can cause serious injury to the rider or you and your passengers. Don't take risks, and treat them with respect.
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