What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about horse riding? It could be at a ranch designed for serious horse riding or a romantic ride by the beach at sunset. Riding a horse on the road, however, might be something you don’t see every day.
Is It Legal to Ride a Horse on U.S. Roads?
Several countries, including the US, allow horse riding on public roads. Traffic rules that include the use of equine vary from state to state.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation explains non-motorized transportations, like horse riding, are at risk of traffic accidents. Certain factors affect the risks of non-motorized road users of getting involved in accidents, including:
- Unpaved shoulders
- Behavioral factors, such as improper riding habits, the low expectancy of encountering non-motorized users, and traveling along direct routes
Ride your horse on the side of the road as much as possible, which is on the left side where you’re facing the traffic. Stay in the gutter or get off the road completely if possible not only for you and your horse’s safety, but also for the other motorists.
How Can You Ride a Horse on the Road Properly?
Apart from knowing the traffic rules, you have to consider other factors to help you ride your horse safely on the road. For example, you have to prepare your horse’s equipment, from the correction bits to its saddles. Your outfit is also important to help motorists recognize you.
Here are three factors you need to remember:
- Wear clothing and a helmet that is brightly colored and reflective
- Ride on roads with a wide shoulder
- Learn to use hand movements to signal other drivers when needed
Proper training plays a crucial role, as well. Horse riding experts say everything has to be right when riding a horse on the road. You should keep in mind that people are unpredictable; they may do something that will hurt or distract your horse.
Like other vehicles, you shouldn’t also ride your horse while intoxicated. Otherwise, traffic officers will arrest you. In March, for instance, California police arrested a man for allegedly riding a horse on a highway while he was drunk.
When Should You Ride a Horse on a Road?
Walking your horse on roads gives your pet time to exercise and experience a different environment. It’s ideal to ride your horse when it’s not rush hour to minimize your accident risks. Motorists during these traffic hours often feel frustrated, plus the loud, congested traffic may not be good for the health of your horse.
You should avoid riding near schools, too. Children and parents in the area may frighten your horse during peak hours. Stay away from high traffic hours and locations as much as possible.
Horse riding is a great way to explore different places without contributing heavily to pollution. Practice proper riding on highways by wearing the right clothes, using proper gear, and choosing the right time and location to keep your ride safe and comfortable.