Horse Riding During The Darker Months
Did you know that horses have excellent night vision?
For those who worry about riding during the darker months then you’ll be pleased to know that your horse will still enjoy itself. What you do need to be concerned about is being visible.
Even when you schedule your horse riding for earlier, darkness can catch you out at any time. Setting out on your ride earlier than usual is good but it only needs for the weather to turn and a happy hack can quickly turn into a hazardous hack.
Before setting off make sure that you have a few things on you:
Carry a torch
Pack a torch in your pocket, this is not for your horse to see because his eyes are adjusted, but for oncoming people to see you. Evenings are a popular time for dog walkers and they’ll appreciate you notifying that a horse is coming toward them, a quick flash or two should do the tick. A torch is also handy to have in case something needs repairing or if you lose something, like a glove!
Make sure you set off with reflective clothing on to improve your chances of being seen. Remember though that any oncoming traffic will not instantly recognise that it’s someone on a horse so that’s why your horse should also have reflective strips added to its tack and reflective boots on.
Stay slow and stay safe. Save all your exhausting activities for the daylight hours, if you’re working all week then save it for the weekend. During the dark evenings just take it slow and safe because you have to have your wits about you. Slow and safe will help you to avoid low branches and other dangers.
Stay off roads
Even if you’re setting off in the light you could come unstuck. To be completely safe just keep away from all roads during the dark months. Motorists eyes can play tricks on them in the dark and they may not realise that it’s a horse and rider in front until it’s too late.
Have a path that you and your horse know well and stick to that during the darker months.
Furnish your horse with clip-on Safety LED Lighting. There are now a few different products on the market using this technology to make sure your horse is seen.
Light up browbands and LED safety harnesses are a great way for the front of your horse to immediately be seen. For the back end of your horse, there are LED safety tail lights. LED safety equipment is good as it doesn’t interfere with your horse’s natural night vision.
Prepare your and your horse first with a test run around a dark paddock. Make sure you and your horse have the equipment on and use your torch to pretend flash someone ahead. Jump off your horse and pretend to look for something on the ground with your torch on. Knowing that your horse will remain calm at all times in the dark will give you confidence.
Tell a friend
Tell a friend or family when you’re off for an evening hack. Tell them your route and add them to your find friends on your phone. Just in case something did happen then they’ll know exactly where to find you and your horse.
Just because the dark months are here it doesn't mean you and your horse can't do anything.
Just follow these guidelines and stay safe.