It has been a grumble of mine ever since I got back into riding many years ago, that hacking out horses on our busy roads safely is sometimes not taken seriously enough among some of the horse riding community. Thankfully I would say about 80% of the time, I come across riders on the roads wearing at least one item of hi-viz, if not more.
However, there are at least a minority group of riders all over the UK that will not ride in any hi-viz whatsoever. It does beg as to the reason why as it is not difficult to put on – it takes seconds to pop a tabard on. I think in recent years the hi-viz clothing market for horse and rider has really taken off and there are some great products that are out there sleek in design and all at affordable prices for every pocket. Ideally, you should wear an item yourself when hacking out an item on your horse. The range for horses has increased to a variety of products from exercise sheets, tail bands, leg wraps – you name it you can pretty much cover your horse from head to tail in hi-viz!
Yellow seems to be the most popular form of hi-viz but today’s colours now stretch to fashionable hot pink, green and orange. You also need to think carefully about what colour to wear which suit your hacking routes at particular times of the year. Wearing hi-viz yellow trotting by a field of rape will probably be an excellent form of camouflage! Same can be said with orange in the autumn months too. Remember also not to ditch your hi-viz wear through the summer as it vitally important to wear in sunlight too and in shady country lanes where visibility to the driver can be affected.
A study has shown that wearing hiz viz makes you more visible to car drivers approximately three seconds earlier than without it. Those three seconds are vital in avoidance of a potential accident, especially on narrow lanes and dark carriageways shaded by trees. I simply cannot afford to get hurt these days and I would be mortified to be the cause of somebody being hurt in their vehicle because they haven’t seen me riding on the roads. Most of all, I would be devastated if my beloved horse got hurt through a simple act of not wearing something hi-viz so that he could be seen by the motorist and an accident avoided. It is down to every rider to be responsible and be seen on the roads.
So take look at your hi-viz wardrobe and if it’s looking a bit sparse, why not treat yourself to some new key pieces for you and your horse. If the spring/summer fashion catwalks in London, Paris and Milan are to be believed – neon yellow and corals are definitely the colours right on trend!
Written by Samantha Hobden