New Riding and Road Safety Code of Conduct

This following code has been drawn up by Lambourn Parish Council in conjunction with Jockey Club Estates and Lambourn Trainers Association to help road users and horse riders understand the need for safety on today’s busy roads.

Laminated copies of the document are available from the Lambourn Parish Council office at the Memorial Hall for those who would like to display one at their premises. The Parish Council office is open to the public 9am – 12noon on Monday to Thursday.

Any queries should be made to Michael Billinge-Jones, Vice-Chairman, Lambourn Parish Council on 01488 72400 or [email protected]

Lambourn Road Safety Code of Conduct

Riders and road vehicles have a right to use Britain’s roads – a right to safe and enjoyable travel. Both have a responsibility to understand each other’s needs. Mutual courtesy and care between riders and motorists is important to prevent intolerance and improve safety – always acknowledging a courtesy does make a difference. For a rider a wave of acknowledgement is not always possible when two hands are needed for control, but a smile and a nod of the head is all it takes!

Good manners make life easier for everyone, and in order to make the Valley of the Racehorse an ordered, safe and enjoyable place to work, all motorists, riders, trainers and their staff are strongly advised by Lambourn Parish Council, Lambourn Trainers Association and Jockey Club Estates to follow this Code of Good Conduct at all times.

Riding staff

• As a rider you will often be able to hear and see further ahead than motorists. If you are aware of potential danger or if you sense an impending action or reaction from your horse, you may request a motorist to slow down or stop
• All staff, and especially head lads and grooms, should be aware of and fully understand this Code of Good Conduct
• It is mandatory under the Rules of Racing for all riders to wear skull caps and for all riders, other than those on hacks, to wear back protectors
• In poor visibility conditions (through poor light or fog), riders and horses should wear reflective clothing or equipment (see Highway Code Rule 51 below). Wearing hi-viz clothing gives up to 3 seconds more for a driver travelling at 30 mph to see you and take appropriate avoiding action
• Mobile phones must only be used in an emergency whilst riding
• Riders should remain quiet unless circumstances dictate otherwise
• Ride in double file if you are on a young or nervous horse, accompanied by a steadier horse between them and the traffic
• Riders should familiarize themselves with The British Horse Society Riding and Roadcraft Manual
• Read the Highway Code and become fully familiar with rules 49 to 55
• We recommend that you take the The British Horse Society Riding and Road Safety Test
• Keep to the left – even when turning right
• Give clear and decisive signals
• Do not ride out on roads known to be dangerous from snow and ice
• Use horse tracks or bridle paths where available.

String management

• Strings should be of a manageable size with an appropriate number of experienced staff in supervisory roles.
• Ride in single file where the road narrows and when approaching bends.
• Lead riders should communicate the string’s intentions clearly to other strings.

Road crossings

• A sensible horse or hack should lead the string to assist at crossing public roads. Anyone stopping traffic should wear a reflective vest, even in full daylight
• No more than 20 horses should cross the road at one time without breaking to allow vehicles to pass. Smaller strings should avoid tacking onto the end of larger strings
• Riders should not assume that vehicles have seen them and will stop. Riders should wait until an approaching vehicle has come to a stop before walking onto the crossing
• Where triggers operate flashing warning lights or traffic lights, these should be activated prior to crossing
• As many riders as possible should thank waiting drivers, but as a minimum the first and last riders in the string.

As a road user you should:

• Look out for horses being led or ridden on the road
• Take extra care and keep your speed down, on all known routes in Lambourn that are commonly used by racehorses
• When you see a horse rider on the road – slow down
• When behind a horse rider – give them plenty of room and be ready to stop
• Do not sound your horn or rev your engine – horses are powerful but vulnerable animals, easily scared by noise and may panic around fast moving vehicles
• When overtaking – pass wide and slow. Allow extra time for an over-taking manoeuvre, and be aware that you will obstructing the opposing carriageway for longer than oncoming vehicles will be expecting. Horse riders are maybe youngsters – so take extra care!
• For increased safety, some riders use double file when escorting a young or inexperienced horse rider?
• Watch out for horse riders’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop. Riders should signal their intentions, but drivers should be aware that horses are unpredictable and a rider on a young or frightened horse may have their hands full
• Treat all horses as a potential hazard and expect the unexpected.

Please use common sense and be courteous at all times. Thank you for your co-operation.

Extract from the Highway Code for horse riders (rules 49 to 54)

Rule 49
Safety equipment: Children under the age of 14 MUST wear a helmet which complies with the Regulations. It MUST be fastened securely. Other riders should also follow these requirements. These requirements do not apply to a child who is a follower of the Sikh religion while wearing a turban.

Rule 50
Other clothing: You should wear boots or shoes with hard soles and heels light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight reflective clothing if you have to ride at night or in poor visibility.

Rule 51
At night: It is safer not to ride on the road at night or in poor visibility, but if you do, make sure you wear reflective clothing and your horse has reflective bands above the fetlock joints. A light which shows white to the front and red to the rear should be fitted, with a band, to the rider’s right arm and/or leg/riding boot. If you are leading a horse at night, carry a light in your right hand, showing white to the front and red to the rear, and wear reflective clothing on both you and your horse. It is strongly recommended that a fluorescent/reflective tail guard is also worn by your horse.

Rule 52
Before you take a horse on to a road, you should :
• Ensure all tack fits well and is in good condition
• Make sure you can control the horse
• Always ride with other, less nervous horses if you think that your horse will be nervous of traffic
• Never ride a horse without both a saddle and bridle.

Rule 53
Before riding off or turning, look behind you to make sure it is safe, then give a clear arm signal.
When riding on the road you should:
• keep to the left
• keep both hands on the reins unless you are signaling
• keep both feet in the stirrups
• not carry another person
• not carry anything which might affect your balance or get tangled up with the reins
• keep a horse you are leading to your left
• move in the direction of the traffic flow in a one-way street
• never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding around bends.

Rule 54
You MUST NOT take a horse onto a footpath or pavement, and you should not take a horse onto a cycle track. Use a bridleway where possible. Equestrian crossings may be provided for horse riders to cross the road and you should use these where available (see Rule 27). You should dismount at level crossings where a ‘horse rider dismount’ sign is displayed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post


For: local positive news, events, jobs, recipes, special offers, recommendations & more.

Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale