Wether or not you agree with horses riding on the roads or not, unfortunately staying off them isn’t always an option. Here are the most important things you should know about passing horses in the road to make the experience more pleasant for everyone involved. I think this is a must read for everyone, so please share.
1. Move over.
I cannot stress this one enough. For me, it’s by far the more at important thing. Give the horse as much space as you reasonably can. If no one is coming, please give us a half a lane to a lane buffer zone. Horses are prey animals, they don’t always react predictably.
2. Slow down
I don’t typically need anyone to stop for me, but slowing down some is helpful. If you can’t move over really far, this is especially important.
3. Don’t step on it as/immediately after you pass
When you accelerate, the engine gets much louder. Feel free to get back up to speed after you pass us, but please do so slowly. Even most horses that are good with cars don’t enjoy having a car engine revved next to them.
4. Don’t crawl behind us.
I know a lot of people are really nervous about passing horses or they want to watch the horse for a while, but crawling behind us down the whole road is just painful for both the horse and rider. First, the horse feels like it’s getting stalked by a predator if you car is crawling along behind them. The longer this occurs, generally the more stressed the horse will become. Second, the rider is keeping the horse to the side waiting for you to pass – the less time they have to be concerned about this, the better they will feel about the experience.
5. Proceed with caution
Just know that the situation can change rather quickly. Watch for signs from the rider (and if you know horses, signs from the horse) to determine how best to proceed. Be aware of the noises your vehicle makes. Trailers going over pot holes or school busses with chains hanging underneath them may need to go slower since the noise when going over pot holes of frost heaves can startle a horse.