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Be Considerate to the Safety of Horses and Riders at Beas River

Slow down, drivers: Riders on the road

The presence of riders on Kam Tsin Road near Beas River Country Club means it is important for drivers be especially alert. Riding Instructor (Jumping) Melissa Troup tells Roey Gilberg how Members can practise safe driving in the company of horses

In general, what is the most important thing to keep in mind when sharing the roads with riders?

The most important point is for the driver to expect the unexpected when approaching or passing a horse on the road. Horses are animals of flight – their survival in the wild is dependent upon their flight reflex to perceived threatening situations. Thus, they will instinctively flee from a threat rather than use their minds to analyse the danger.

What specific aspects of motor vehicles can startle horses?

Revved engines, air brakes, noise from dogs and children inside the car, the speed of a passing car and the simple nearness of the car – these are all things that might scare a horse.

As a driver, what should you do when you see a rider coming toward you on Kam Tsin Road?

First, reduce your speed to below 25kph. Stay in your lane and keep the engine quiet.

How about if you are approaching a rider moving in the same direction?

Again, make sure to slow down. Be patient and yield to the rider; do not overtake and avoid honking.

Is there any recourse if the rider is proceeding extremely slowly?

If it is absolutely safe to do so, the horse may be overtaken at a slow speed, making sure to allow as much room as possible.

Do darkness and rain affect how drivers should deal with riders on the road?

Generally, riders will not ride in the dark, so this should not be an issue. As for rain, it is fine for drivers to keep their headlights on, as this usually does not bother the horses. However, drivers should still be mindful, as there is always the chance that a horse might be startled – particularly if the driver flashes the lights.

What can drivers do if they are unable to interpret the hand signals of the rider?

If the driver does not understand the rider's signals (see table), it is certainly appropriate to communicate verbally with the rider. Regardless, drivers should always remember to be patient, as it may not be possible or safe for the rider to communicate immediately if the horse is difficult to control at a given moment. This also goes for gestures of appreciation – drivers can expect a raised hand in thanks in response to their patience, but sometimes it may not be safe for the rider to do more than make eye contact and nod their head in gratitude.

Horse rider's hand signals
Turning left or right The horse rider fully extends left or right arm at shoulder level.
Request for a road user to slow down The horse rider extends right arm, palm facing down, and moves arm slowly up and down.
Request for a road user to stop The horse rider turns in the saddle to face road user and extends right arm with palm facing the road user.