Sanctuary urges road users to take care around horses as winter approaches

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Sanctuary urges road users to take care around horses as winter approaches

The Mare and Foal Sanctuary is asking motorists to take care when they meet riders on the road after a recent near miss close to its Upcott Park farm in Holsworthy, especially as the weather turns and driving can become more difficult due to frosty and icy conditions.

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The Sanctuary has a number of sites across Devon, with farms in rural areas. The difficulty is that on many of these country roads around the sites, the National Speed Limit applies and some drivers just aren’t expecting to meet a horse and rider.

Yard Manager at Upcott Park Tracey Dixon explains, “Locals are used to our staff and horses being out on the roads now and are being considerate road users, but due to a current lack of signage and high speed limits, there is always a chance that accidents could happen, especially with drivers who don’t know the roads.”

The Sanctuary is hoping that they will soon be able to get some new signage around Upcott Park to help promote the fact that riders are on the roads, and make life safer for staff, horses and drivers. In the meantime they have some advice to offer.

“Both riders and drivers have a right to use the roads.  That means there is a shared responsibility to consider each other’s needs. With winter approaching stopping distances may be longer on wet and icy roads, so if drivers could just be aware that riders may be around, it might help reduce the chance of an accident.

“If you meet a rider on the road, we suggest that you slow right down, give the horse plenty of room if overtaking, and avoid revving your engine or sounding your horn as horses can be easily scared by noise and fast moving vehicles.

For riders we advise they wear high visibility clothing, give clear signals, pay attention, and always be polite. To feel confident that your conduct and competence is as it should be while riding on roads, we recommend taking the British Horse Society Riding and Road Safety Test.”


For more tips on how to stay safe on the road go to