Should Horse Riders Take Road Tests?

Horse and Rider Road Crossing Sign

Should Horse Riders Take Road Tests?

There’s plenty you need to do before taking your horse out on the road, including making sure your tack is all fitting correctly, but it turns out the general public believe riders should have to do a lot more before they become road legal.

Drivers demand proficiency test for horse riders

According to a recent survey undertaken by a national car leasing company, 94% of drivers believe that horse riders should have to sit a proficiency test – much like a driving test –before being able to take their horse out on a public road in both an urban and rural setting.

The demand stems from the frustrations of road users and the momentarily annoyance of being stuck behind a line of horses when driving down country roads.

It was stated in the survey report that the increasing number of young riders is one of the main reasons for the concern and why so many think there should be some sort of minimum standard of horsemanship before taking to the roads.

Out of those surveyed, 70 per cent also said they believed horse riders should at least have third party insurance also, meaning that they would be able to cover any expenses caused by an accident of their doing.

At present, the Highway Code only advises horse riders, rather than coming under law – suggesting the avoidance of busy roads and roundabouts when riding. However, the recognition also comes that riders are just as entitled to use roads as any vehicle.

It’s believed that it’s only right that both drivers and horse riders are taught how to share the road responsibly.

The Highway Code

Riding horses on public roads is referenced in sections 49 to 55 of the Highway Code with certain rules, such as the wearing of hard hats and the prohibition of riding on the pavement, backed up by law. However, most of this is only advisory and currently riders don’t have to prove they or their animals are ‘roadworthy’.

Whether this survey involving just drivers is skewed by experience of having to wait behind or pass riders with extra diligence is unclear, or whether it’s the view of the wider population, but both camps need to have their views and experiences heard before any such considerations take place. So, what do you think – should horse riders have to prove their roadworthiness?

Share this post