Public Roads as Places of Interspecies Conflict: A Study of Horse-Human Interactions on UK Roads and Impacts on Equine Exercise

Organisation: British Horse Society (BHS)
Date of Publication: April 2021
Date Uploaded: 8 June 2021

This study identifies how frequently equestrian riders use roads and what impacts their ability to do so.

More than 6,000 UK equestrians completed an online questionnaire about their exercise behaviours, road use and experiences of road-related incidents.

Most equestrians use roads regularly. In the previous year, 68% of equestrians experienced a near-miss and 6% an injury-causing incident.

The results found that regional differences in road use and near-miss experiences coincided with off-road route availability. Road use was associated with the proximity of off-road routes, and road-using equestrians covered longer distances. Near-misses were associated with increasing frequency of weekly road use.

Younger equestrians were more likely to use roads, but also to experience near-misses. Injury-causing incidents were associated with increasing road-use anxiety or ceasing to use roads (due to strong feelings of danger, compromised safety and conflict with other road users), the proximity of off-road routes, having a near-miss, and riding while leading a ridden horse; often a child.

Targeted campaigns encouraging responsible road use, better off-road access and inclusion of equestrians in planning and development initiatives would create safer equestrian spaces, particularly for young people.

For more information contact Dee Pollard, Research Analyst at BHS.

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