Hacking tips from the team at SEIB
The team at SEIB is made up of horse owners and riders who know just how important it is to be safe as you hack. Here, Nicolina Macenzie at SEIB shares the insurance companies top three hacking tips:
1. Be seen and protected
The importance of wearing high-vis cannot be stressed enough and there are lots of great high-vis products to choose from.
“The BHS claims that by wearing high-vis you can give drivers a significant three seconds of extra reaction time that could save the life of both you and your horse,” says Nicolina. “As brokers we’re often asked if riders are covered for an accident on the road if they don’t wear high-vis clothing, hats and sometimes standard tack. We advise all of our clients to refer back to the Highway Code and make every effort to take reasonable precautions in regards to safety wear when riding on the road.”
To ensure maximum protection, the team at SEIB strongly recommended that riders wear riding hats that meet the British Horse Society stipulated standards and that high-vis should be worn on both you and your horse and your tack should be in good, safe and working condition.
2. Be courteous
As well as looking to other road users to act sensibly, we as riders have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe too. “We need to uphold our own reputation as sensible road users by thanking the drivers who pass our horses safely and by using the correct hand signals to let drivers know when they do not,” says Nicolina.
“Your horse must be able to deal with cars, motorbikes, lorries, the odd plastic bag and the dreaded wheelie bin, whilst you must be aware at all times and be courteous to other road users. If you have a young horse, choose a sensible hacking buddy until your horse is more comfortable on the road.
Riding in a large group on the roads can be extremely exciting for our gees and potentially lead to accidents. It’s best to minimise the road work as much as possible when you are riding in a group, but of course this isn’t always possible, so it’s essential to think about other road users and ride as safely as possible.
“Being a courteous rider doesn’t just apply to other road users, but land owners too. Farmers often permit us to ride around their land, but we must be mindful that their land is their business and we should stick to the agreed paths and tracks.”
3. Always be aware
It’s easy to lose focus when you’re hacking with friends, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t take much to spook our horses. “Chat to your hacking buddy when you’re on a safe track but don’t lose focus of your surroundings and fellow countryside users,” says says Nicolina. “We share our rural areas with a wide range of users. From dog walkers to cyclists, we all have an equal right to explore the UK’s beautiful landscape.
“As riders we can’t plan for every eventuality when dealing with our horses but it pays to be as safety conscious as possible, especially when hacking. We have to take precautions and accept that the responsibility is split equally between us and the other road users we meet when we’re out. With this in mind, ensure that you take all safety measures you can when you head out of the yard gates, set an example and other riders will follow suit. If you’re a driver, slow down to 15mph and pass widely, slowly and patiently.”
If you have any questions about how safety precautions can affect your insurance policy, or to receive a free no obligation quote, please contact our equine experts on 01708 850000.