5 reasons horse riders should always wear hi-vis

Advice from the British Horse Society (BHS) recommends wearing hi-vis clothing when riding regardless of whether you ride on or off the road, the time of day, season, or weather conditions. Although it is not a legal requirement, it is in a rider’s best interest as it helps to keep them safe.

There is a diverse range of hi-vis available for horse and rider to suit all styles and budgets.

For riders, hi-vis clothing includes jackets, tops, waistcoats, harnesses, hat bands, gloves, tights, and more.

For horses, hi-vis wear includes exercise sheets, boots, ear bonnets, martingales, bridle attachments, tail wraps, and more.

In this blog we are sharing 5 reasons why horse riders should always wear hi-vis.

1. Increase motorist’s reaction time

Wearing hi-vis when riding on the roads seems an obvious choice. Even on country lanes, cars and other vehicles may be travelling 60 mph which is significantly faster than your horse travelling around 4 mph. At these speeds, milliseconds in reaction time can make the difference between a car safely slowing down or causing an accident. Research from the BHS found wearing hi vis can give drivers an extra 3 seconds of reaction time when seeing a horse. If a car is travelling at 30 mph, this is the equivalent of a dressage arena in extra stopping distance. Remember, lots of motorists will not expect to see a horse when they come round a corner so the brighter you are, the better the chances are of them seeing you in sufficient time.

2. Alert dog walkers and other pedestrians

It’s not just motorists to be aware of when out hacking, the BHS recommends wearing hi-vis whenever riding out, even if off road. Other dangers include pedestrians, dogs, cyclists, motorbikes, shooters, helicopters, tractors, the list could go on. Whether riding on a bridleway, byway, or private farmland, there will be others out enjoying the countryside too. By wearing hi-vis you are increasing your visibility and allowing others more time to react to your presence. For example, if you are wearing dark colours and riding along a hedge line, you may not be visible to a dog walker across the field. By the time they have spotted you, it may be too late for them to recall and leash their dog, which could lead to an accident.

3. You can easily be found if separated

It is even more important to wear hi-vis if you are out hacking alone. If the unthinkable happens and you fall off and become separated from your horse, both you and your horse are in a vulnerable position. If you are unconscious or hurt, you will need to be found by a rescue team. They will be able to find you much quicker if you are wearing a hi-vis. If your horse decides to bolt, wearing hi-vis will ensure he is seen quicker and recovered.

4. Insurance cover

If you were involved in an accident, your insurance company may take into account whether you were wearing hi-vis or not. Some insurance companies will also offer discounts on premiums to riders who opt to wear hi-vis when riding out.

5. Bright light can be blinding

Just because it is bright in the summer months, doesn’t mean visibility is necessarily better. In the morning and evening when the sun is low, the light can cause shade, as well as bright sections of the road. As motorists drive between the two, they may become temporarily dazzled which will impair their ability to see a horse rider.

hi vis for horse riders

(Photo credit: BHS)

Ultimately, the most important reason to wear hi-vis is to keep you and your horse safe. Remember, be safe, be seen.

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