Riding on the roads.

Discussion in 'Horse and Rider Safety' started by celestialdancer, May 16, 2012.

  1. celestialdancer

    celestialdancer Gold Member

    So who rides on the roads?

    To get to the trail where I'm going to start taking Gracie I have to walk about 500m on a road. It's not really busy, but most vehicles that drive down it are tractors/lorries/work vehicles of some kind.

    In England I wouldn't even give it a second thought because I was brought up with riding on the roads, but over here, who actually does road work to sort of teach the horses it's okay? Or do you just start riding and tell them everything's fine if something pops up?

    Wearing full fluro here (orange jumper, yellow tabbard, yellow tabbards on all four legs), I used to take my old gelding out but he was bombproof (if I can legally say that! :p) on the roads and never batted an eyelid.

    Drivers here are so inconsiderate, they'll toot, honk, speed up, rev etc around the horses. I don't think they realise what danger they are creating.

    So how do you guys go about road training/riding?
  2. BarefootAus

    BarefootAus New Member

    Interesting topic.

    I have been taking my yearling for walks down the road to help get her confident in traffic and intense situations to prepare her for when she's older (and hopefully then I can legally say she is bombproof! That's the plan!!).

    We have generally had a good experience. I stick to wide roads that are fairly straight and when cars do come I will wave my hand to the road to encourage them to slow down, and normally they pass at good distance and help build her confidence -HOWEVER last time we did this it was a nightmare!

    The first car to come past saw us and sped up, flying past at a speed that would have had to be at least 50km over the limit. The next lot of cars to come past were a little more considerate, until one small little sports car cut a corner we were walking through and revved just near us, which upset my little yearling again.

    On the way home we were tailed by some morons in a ute revving and squealing their tyres behind us and then in front of us, and then got on to their mates to join them with motorbikes and come careering past us in a group. In seconds my filly was in a sweat, and it was only when she kicked out at the ute that they left us alone. I think they panicked that they had gone too far.

    I had to take her into the next reserve to wait with her to calm down, and then we continued home with no problems, even encountering a truck that could have potentially frightened her given what had just happened. I think it is a testament to her quiet nature how well she handled it, other horses would have definitely been hurt in this situation.

    The area we were in was a quiet, rural area with many horse properties, but also many 4WDrivers and lots of people with motorbikes, and some hoons it would seem :( I am unsure how to approach this now as I want my filly to get as much experience as she can, but I don't trust drivers to be smart and considerate, and it is far too dangerous to take risks like that.

    I wonder if those signs that tell people that they are in a horse area work? IMO - I have only ever heard negative things about horses on the roads in Australia, particularly WA, and I don't think I will chance it again in a hurry! Instead my partner and I will get her used to cars and motorbikes at home and then on the quiet cul-de-sac on the back of our property, and avoid having to go any real distance on roads in the future.
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  3. Arnie

    Arnie Gold Member

    Yes when I lived in the burbs! All the time and still would now but I actually wouldn't ride on the roads where I live! I'm 35km from town and its all dirt roads. No traffic at all but there are farmers and wind farm workers, trucks etc who do in excess of 130km on these roads and do not expect a horse to be on them, no fluro would help you as they speeds they do and the conditions of the roads its just not wise! So I stick to the farm, its big enough anyway :D.
  4. NaeNae87

    NaeNae87 Well-known Member

    I am very lucky, both mine are good in traffic. I am incredibly thankful that somebody took the time to desensitize them to traffic. Where I used to keep them we had to ride up a decently busy road to get to the trails.

    Some people are absolute twats and rev engines, honk and speed past us however most are really respectful, they pass wide, slow down etc. I too wear hi vis (Fluro pink quarter sheet, tail wrap, breast plate, boots on gk and a Fluro pink vest for me) as I figure the more visible we are, the better.
  5. pso

    pso Gold Member

    I ride mine on the roads- pretty quiet road here*#) so they are kinda used to traffic (parked judges cars around arenas are a whole different story though!!)

    Stay ON the road, and follow the road rules ;)
  6. wattle6180

    wattle6180 Gold Member

    I ride and harness on the roads :) More people slow down to look at the cute pony in harness than they do for the riding on the tall horses tho ';'

    Most peple around here are the local farmers, but we're in a tourist location as well, so I tend not to road-ride on Fri-Sun or public holidays. Common sense :)
  7. Jemima

    Jemima Active Member

    I ride on the road fairly often, we have nice quiet roads here with good grass verges so I like to take my horses out for a good long trot sometimes. I have had a few problems with idiots that don't know any better but both my girls are good about that. We live next to a very busy highway so they see all sorts go past the paddock and I have to cross the highway to get to the roads I have access to. Both of them know they have to stand and wait for a good gap in the traffic!
  8. keridwyn

    keridwyn Well-known Member

    I ride along SW Highway (not as much now, theres not enough daylight in the day anymore!) and some of the back streets near me, and I have found most people are considerate and don't do stupid things. But in saying that, I don't actually ride on the road itself (for SW anyway), I ride a good 6-8m in the reserve, and when I need to cross it, I do it in a nice flat open area where they can see me for a km or more.

    Out in the bush, however. Don't even get me started on the dirtbike riders! :mad:
    I have come across one group, ONE, in the last 10 years I've lived here, where they all jumped on the skids, turned off their bikes, took off their helmets and sat there.
    They were lovely guys about it too, they even had a pat of my horse and let her sniff their bikes! :p

    So I guess like all things, you can meet some really nice people anywhere in the world, but you can always meet D**kheads there too!
  9. Clint James

    Clint James New Member

    Great Topic :))

    Your right Keridwyn, I ride on the road & with Endurance there's always a road to travel on, or cross at some stage. I have been riding out on roads & in the bush here for over 25yrs & in that time I have come to know my area really well, my Horses to!
    But if your inexperienced or have a green Horse, there's no shame in leading them on the road until you or them get confidence, the locals get to know what your doing a little better.

    When I was younger a Horse shyed on me while riding on the road & slipped,
    know ones fault, just a one off! It fell on top of me, I had a broken leg, 4 ribs & a arm & had to walk home,(no mobiles back then) So accidents can happen with out Bikes & Traffic.

    Always remember that Cars, Bikes & people may not always be onto it & watching out for you, we need to always be mindful that they are unpredictable .
  10. celestialdancer

    celestialdancer Gold Member

    Well after last night I think I'll stick to walking around our tiny farm #(

    Yesterday around 5pm my neighbours OTTB got loose, fences were intact, gate was down (no WAY he would have been able to undo the gate). Had two nice people pull into my driveway to tell me my horse was on the road, told them I was grabbing a headcollar and headed off up the road to grab said horse. About 6 cars came roaring up the road, so I flagged them to slow down, and two completely ignored me. Scared the horse, sent him falling into a steep ditch (run off from the river) and as he scrambled up the other side, into a fence and was then stuck in barbed wire.

    Walked into the field, put on my headcollar, asked dad to get wirecutters, got the horse out. Only 5 out of the about 15 cars who drove past had any respect for what was happening. Clearly a bit different to riding on the roads, but I figure if this is clearly a more dangerous situation and hardly anyone showed they cared to the horse or to me, my OH and dad who were running up the road with towels and wire cutters, I doubt they'd have a lot of respect for someone riding on the road? ';'

    Then last night around 1am I woke up to a lady on the road repeatedly slamming her fist on the horn and screaming black and blue about "that f*ing horse almost f*ing killed me, it shouldn't be on the f*ing road, i'll report you!!" Then drove off at the speed of light. So once again, I raced out of my house knowing full well it would be one of my neighbours horses and not my own, and we drove up and down the road, called for the horse/s etc. Finally realised that her OTHER horse had got out (once again, in brand new elec fencing, gate was open) and was in my field. So now I reckon she'll report ME to the police and I'll have to deal with the sh*t.

    Sorry for the vent, it's slightly off topic but I've had enough with drivers not showing respect to animals. The last one's a bit different because it was night time, and Harley literally could have killed the woman if she'd hit him, but it wasn't HIS fault.

    Argh, time to go and write a letter to my neighbour with the bill of $6 for him eating a bale of my hay #(
  11. Clint James

    Clint James New Member

    Im sorry to hear that celestialdancer. Don't worry, the ranger thinks that any Horse that gets out in my area is mine. Just explain it to them, they will understand :confused:

    You did well, sounds like you were in War Horse, with the wire cutters.

    Some people don't understand the potential dangers that can happen with Horses on roads, especially when they get out. Not so long ago Rimes helped us round up two Horses that escaped from neighbours, (man from snowy river style) they were galloping up the road heading for the South West Highway, Cars were passing them if they were other Cars, while they were full steam ahead, not slowing down or cared at all!
  12. celestialdancer

    celestialdancer Gold Member

    Haha, it felt like I was in War Horse! Luckily he stood very quietly whilst we untangled him.

    Horses are classified as a vehicle when they are on the road, and if there was an out of control car, people would slow down and back off, a live animal is potentially 100 times more dangerous!

    Mum wants me to write a letter to the newspaper to try and enlighten our local drivers.

    Would rather take it straight to GWN :p
  13. NaeNae87

    NaeNae87 Well-known Member

    What gets me is, as urban areas are popping up in previously rural zoned areas, cars and livestock are going to come into contact more and more often. Regardless of whether it is horses, sheep or cattle why don't the dpi put a section in the drivers ed books about driving around livestock?!? That way there would be more people aware of how to handle a vehicle around animals. Yes there will still be some absolute knobs out there but I would like to hope that the majority of people would do the right thing...
  14. NaeNae87

    NaeNae87 Well-known Member

    Oh, haha there wasn't when I did mine :) wow... I feel old ....
  15. Kandinsky

    Kandinsky New Member

    I definitely agree with people in general needing better education for driving in rural areas around animals etc. Should be taught in driver education along the lines of a stopping school bus and how important it is to slow down in case a child runs out on the road. I get really angry when people dont acknowledge the risks when I road ride, but like you say, to some non-horsey people it is probably not considered as a risk. Would be awesome if they had horse lanes like they have bicycle lanes haha :)*
  16. celestialdancer

    celestialdancer Gold Member

    I agree it's a learning thing.

    When I did my test, there was nothing in the handbook about animals on the road whether ridden/driven. I know this because I got angry at the lady doing the drivers ed talk :p

    If we just had bridle paths, everything would be fiiiine hahha
  17. keridwyn

    keridwyn Well-known Member

    We can't possibly have bridle paths scattered all over the place willy-nilly CD! They're expensive to maintain, and the SMELL of all that horse poo?... God it makes me start to swoon even THINKING about it! *#)
  18. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    Do horses still have right of way on roads unless signposted otherwise?

    I remember once I was at the end of the driveway and the neighbors dog jumped out of the car when she was opening the gate. It raced over to faux attack, and then she blamed me for being there in the first place and that roads are for cars (and attacking dogs apparently) not horses.
  19. Banjo01

    Banjo01 New Member

    I personally think teaching your horse to ride on the road with light/medium traffic is terrific - if done properly with a calm, experienced rider. It is a good skill that can be used for emergencies too. Where I used to agist the only way to get to any good trails would be to cross a road or two. At first my gelding was a little flighty, especially when some of the innocent dumpster trucks would come chugging down the road ;) but eventually he calmed right down, and got to the point where we could walk along and have noisy motorbikes whizzing past or big trucks travelling forth. I am happy he is calm on the road now - sets me at ease to know that if there is ever a situation I must ride along a road for an emergency etc. he will respond and work responsibly.
    In saying that though, I have seen riding on the road at its worst on numerous occasions. I went riding once with a friend who'd sworn she and her horse were comfortable riding along the road. So, off we went for a trail ride when this big, green recycling truck came around the corner (not travelling that fast either). I thought nothing of it though noticed my friends horse perk up and tense. Immediately she did the same, tensing and clenching her legs. As the truck passed her horse shied onto the road and reared which resulted in her landing on the gravel. Luckily she was only lightly scraped and the horse was okay, but heavens know that if that truck had been travelling faster she may not have been so lucky. Ignorance or inexperience (and sometimes both) really are not wise nor to be tolerated when riding along the road.
    Also, the appropriate clothing and protection precautions must be taken. (Fluro coloured vests, boots etc.) :)*
  20. cupcake

    cupcake Well-known Member

    I was thinking of putting a "L" plate on my hoses arse... And a high vis shirt with "slow down" on it

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