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My gripe is the stupid ignorant and uneducated comments made by some people. Horse riders constantly get moaned at for being on the road thereby causing motorists to have to slow down. I often hear, "horses shouldn't be on roads, that’s what bridle paths are for" or "horses should be ridden in fields or woods, not on roads because the hold up traffic and cars have to slow down". With this in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Bridle paths - There are hardly ANY in the UK, especially compared to the amount of footpaths. Instead of moaning, how about doing something constructive and writing to your local council and suggesting that more bridle paths be created, this will help get some of the horses off the road and therefore hopefuly make them safer?
Getting to the few bridle paths that there are isn't straight forward as we often have to ride on the road! Do you think we actually WANT to ride on the road when you consider the fact that a fair portion of drivers are actually quite horrible to us? We can’t certainly can't ride on the grass verges because then the council would complain. In fact if we’re caught riding on them we could even be fined.
Fields and woods are often private property hence, we can’t ride in them. Trust me we would all love to, but the sad fact is they’re quite often just not accessible to horse riders.
If you have passed a horse slowly and considerately on the road, and the rider has not said thanks, nodded or smiled to acknowledge your consideration, then I apologise on their behalf and of the UK riding community. That kind of ignorance is also wrong and I have in fact myself on more than one occasion called out the window it won’t kill you to say thanks you know!!"
On the other hand, if you have just zoomed past a horse and rider at anything over 30 to 40mph (depending on what type of road or circumstance) with absolutely no consideration), then I hope you get you deserve...
Most of us riders are drivers too and we all slow down for horses. It doesn’t hurt to reduce your speed. But what might hurt would be a one ton horse coming through your windscreen because it was too much of a hardship to show some consideration!
We all have to co-exist out there on the roads, so all we are asking for is some consideration - and on our behalf we will try to be courteous too.