The dark evenings are slowly creeping in and I have almost completed my ‘pre-winter tidy up’, which included sweeping out and tidying the feed room.
This is a task I had been putting off, but since my husband’s motorbike now shares the same room I have been on the receiving end of numerous moans on the risks of providing our resident rats with a steady food supply and their ability to chew through important wires, so to avoid any further conversations that involved lectures on the inner workings of a motorbike I got it done.
While having a clear out I came across a fluorescent jacket that I used to wear religiously and decided it was about time I made more of an effort to be seen whilst riding out – particularly as many of the drivers who come through our village are either partially blind, which is slightly worrying or simply take no notice of riders on the road.
According to British Horse Society statistics, wearing hi-viz clothing when riding on the road can give vehicle drivers a valuable three seconds extra ‘reaction time’ that could save the life of both you and your horse, or to put it into context, those three seconds are equivalent to a car, driven at 30 mph, travelling the length of a full size dressage arena.
Hi-viz gear is also important when riders are riding off road and research by the Ministry of Defence has shown that helicopter pilots can see a rider in hi-viz gear up to half-a-mile sooner and thus avoid flying straight over the top of them.
It also means that in the unfortunate event that a rider is thrown from their horse and left in open countryside, the police helicopter or air ambulance will see them much sooner and prevent their injuries from becoming more serious.
Hi-viz gear is not necessarily glamorous and my jacket is testament to this (my horses took one look at me and fled to the back of the barn but once over the initial ‘fluorescent shock’ they have come round – wait until they see what I have bought them to wear) but it could save your life.
For further information on just what hi-viz gear is available for both you and your horse and for tips on ensuring that you stay safe while out riding on the roads this winter visit the British Horse Society’s website dedicated to horse and rider safety www.horseaccidents.org.uk
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