Ride Safe – BHS – Kenilworth Press Published May 2017
As Winston Churchill so wisely said, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.” Unfortunately since Churchill’s days we have had to learn to share our roads and tracks with not just cars, but cyclists and hikers something that is not always an easy encounter.
There is a lot in the media at the moment about educating vehicle drivers as to the correct way to behave around horses and riders, but equally riders need to understand how to share the environment with a wide range of other users in a way that is both safe and courteous.
This little book, which is the BHS text book for the Ride Safe Award, part of the BHS Stage Two exam is packed with information. On occasion the information inside may seem very basic and obvious, but considering that many riders have not grown up with horses, or had parental instruction to help them this is essential advice.
The book begins with information on the correct clothing to wear, from gloves to high-vis clothing. It continues with information on how to ride on the roads, with a view to not only being safe, but also being courteous to other road users. Something I found especially useful was the information on riding young, or novice horses on the roads and the precautions to take with young riders. Details of rules of the Highway code are given in the book, something that should be known by riders but often is not. I did not know, for instance that children who are Sikh’s who are wearing turbans are not required to wear helmets.
The Highway Code is comprehensively detailed in Ride Safe, something that is of great value to riders who may not understand the rules of the road. Also detailed is how to cope with any of the many hazards to be found on our modern roads and how to signal instructions to other road users.
The clear instructions for riders as to how to behave on the road are just one of the vital subjects dealt with in Ride Safe, but for most riders the dreaded road sections we have to use are generally a means to get to off road riding. Ride Safe continues with detailed information about how to use bridlepaths, both legally and in terms of courtesy to other users. There is also vital information which riders will find helpful on how to open gates, what to do if the bridlepath is blocked and how to share the route with other users.
Horse riders come from an increasingly urban background and so may not have grown up absorbing the do’s and don’ts of riding across agricultural land as did those who grew up in the countryside. This chapter is filled with information about safely in open land and amongst livestock, but also how to be courteous and respectful to the landowners.
A dream for many riders is a trip to the beach. While the vision of galloping across a stretch of sand may seem idyllic, it is fraught with danger and, not only will a fall on hard sand be extremely painful, but there are other beach users to consider. Ride Safe discusses both how to introduce a horse to the beach for the first time, but also how to stay safe.
One chapter I found extremely helpful and relevant to our modern world was section nine which details the problems wind turbines and solar farms present to horses. Also dealt with in Ride Safe is the issue of low flying aircraft, something which causes major problems in some areas.
Other chapters deal with arena safety and courtesy, plus how to deal with the inevitable confrontations and accidents.
Each section ends with a short quiz so that readers can check their knowledge, useful to ensure the information has been absorbed which is especially useful for those doing the Ride Safe Award.
While not an entertaining or fun read, Ride Safe is a marvellous book, one that will both educate and undoubtedly save lives of horses and riders and make for a safe and happy environment for horse riders and those who meet them on the road or countryside.
This review was written by Jacqui Broderick and first shared on the Haynet blogging site on the 10 of July, it can be read in full here