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Broken coat colours a safety bonus for road-going horses – study

roadsafety1Fluorescent or reflective riding equipment can reduce the risk of near misses on the road – as does riding a horse with a broken coat colour, British research suggests.

Researchers used an extensive questionaire to build profiles of British leisure riders and their environment.

Some of the questions delved into the safety status of equestrian leisure riders on the road in a bid to identify what steps they could take to improve safety and avoid near misses with traffic.

The questionnaire covered the wearing of fluorescent or reflective equipment, horse colour and patterning, demographic information, the season, time of day, and the environment where near misses had occurred with traffic within the last year.

Duchy College researchers Rose Scofield, Hannah Savin and Hayley Randle, who presented their findings at the recent International Equitation Science Conference in Denmark, found that British horses were ridden on roads for a number of reasons.

These included a lack of choice, getting to off-road riding areas and, interestingly, that novice riders often reported feeling safer on country lanes than in open fields.

The trio reported that, in general, near misses with traffic were likely to occur in summer and also in the early morning. Riders wearing lights, the education of other road users, and practical use of fluorescent or reflective equipment could decrease the incidence of near misses, they found.

Additionally, horses with a broken coat colour experienced significantly fewer near misses than horses of a single solid colour.

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