New research from the British Horse Society (BHS) has revealed that 68 horses have died and 125 have been injured in incidents on UK roads.

The society has taken the new statistics as an opportunity to educate the public on safe road practices in the presence of horses and their riders.

The BHS research revealed that 3,552 road incidents involving horses had been reported to them in 2022, along with 139 reports of injuries to people because of road incidents.

26% of riders also revealed that they experienced road rage or abuse from drivers while on the road with their horse.

“As the number of vehicles continues to increase resulting in busier roads, this means these routes are becoming much more dangerous to use, especially for vulnerable road users like horse riders and carriage driver,” the BHS said.

“Our aim is to reduce the number of incidents and fatalities involving horses and riders of the road by educating all road users and campaigning to make drivers aware of what to do if they encounter a horse on the road.”

‘Dead Slow’

The BHS have collaborated with Cycling UK, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Living Streets and the UK’s Department for Transport to create a Highway Code improvements.

The BHS’s ‘Dead Slow’ campaign, launched last year, includes advice and guidance for both motorists and riders on how to stay safer on the roads.

“Equestrians have the same right to be on the road as motorists or any other group,” BHS said.

“Understanding, respect and consideration by all road users is required to ensure road safety for everyone.”

According to BHS advice, motorists should do the following when they encounter a horse and rider on the road:

  • Slow down to a maximum of 10m/ph;
  • Be patient – Don’t sound the car horn or rev the engine;
  • Pass wide and leave at least two metres between the car and the horse where possible;
  • Pass slowly and drive away slowly.