In the past year, 426 road incidents have been reported to The British Horse Society, resulting in the death of one person and 21 horses.
Overall, there's been a 29% increase in incidents involving horses.
81% of incidents occurred because the driver didn't allow enough room between their vehicle and the horse, whereas 1 in 5 incidents resulted in the car colliding with the horse. Almost 40% of riders were subject to road rage or abuse.
The BHS has been actively campaigning to improve horse and rider safety while on the road and launched its Dead Slow campaign in order to educate drivers on how to safely pass a horse on the road.
The campaign urges drivers to slow down to a maximum of 15mph when they meet a horse and rider on the road, and to leave at least a car width between their vehicle and the horse, passing wide and slow, without revving their engine or sounding their horn.
The network of safe off-road bridleways and byways for riders are under threat, with some routes becoming completely inaccessible for horse riders. Quite often, horse riders are riding from a riding school to a bridleway or from one bridleway to another, forcing them onto the roads.
The BHS also launched a horse accidents website in November 2010, where people can report any incidents that they've had with their horse. Since the launch of this website, there has been 2,510 road incidents involving horses. Within these incidents, 38 riders have died and 222 horses have either been killed at the scene, or put to sleep as a result of their injuries.
Despite the increase in the number of incidents on Britain’s roads, the BHS believes that this is due to more people being aware of their horse accidents website and reporting their accidents.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS: “We strongly believe that this increase is due to more people being aware of our horse accidents website. However, it’s unacceptable that horses and riders are still dying on our roads.”
“When we launched Dead Slow, a number of riders reported to us that they’d noticed drivers being more considerate, but we still have a long way to go. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure safety for all road users, including horses and rider”.