The British Horse Society
Horse Incidents database and research

The British Horse Society has been collecting horse incident data since 2010 via their www.horseincidents.org.uk webpage; this includes incidents involving horses and other road or off-road users, dogs, low-flying aircraft or drones, fireworks and slippery road surfaces. In March 2021 they launched an additional free app called ‘Horse i’ which enables equestrians to quickly and easily submit incidents that have negatively affected their safety. Read more about their research below.

A closer look at equestrian road safety

In a survey conducted in 2020, 68% of equestrians in the UK (3,465 out of 5,122) reported having had a near-miss and 6% (310 out of 5,122) an injury-causing incident while using roads with their horse in the previous year. The BHS data collected over the last 10 years shows that 40% of the incidents reported involved road rage and speeding and 80% involved drivers passing the horse too closely. See a summary of the data below (click to enlarge image)

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What constitutes an incident?

An incident can be any unplanned event that YOU feel has compromised your safety and the safety of your horse. This can be anything from aggressive or intimidating behaviour by other road users, a situation that had the potential to cause injury even though it did not at the time (a near miss), or a situation that did result in injury to either you or your horse.

What information is needed to make a report to the BHS?

Unlike with a police report, the BHS does not need specific information about an individual or vehicle involved in the incident (such as video evidence, the car registration number or the make and model of the vehicle). The main information that is needed is the location, date and time of the incident, as well as who was involved, what happened and any consequences.

What happens with the information?

Collecting this information helps the BHS build a picture of the experiences equestrians are having while using the UK road network as well as helping identify incident ‘hotspots’, such as particularly dangerous stretches of road or road crossings. This provides an evidence base that can then be used to lobby local authorities to take action - such as authorising the BHS to put up signage (e.g. Dead Slow signs), reconsidering the speed limit or installing traffic calming measures. Without this information, the BHS cannot help facilitate change.

Current road safety research

The BHS, with funding from the Department for Transport, has been carrying out a large-scale equestrian road safety project over the last year. The first part of the project included the Equine Activity Survey which established how frequently equestrians used roads and off-road routes with their horses and what impacts their ability to do so. The next step was to hold regional focus groups and interviews with a diverse group of equestrians to gather their input around road safety issues. This helped us identify common themes and informed the development of this final survey. We received a fantastic response to our Equine Activity Survey (nearly 6,000 useable responses) and we hope that you can help us do the same with this survey.

If you’ve used roads with a horse, pony, donkey or mule in the previous year, the BHS would love to hear about your experiences as well as your thoughts about road safety. All survey responses are completely anonymous. Responses will be collected up until 9th July 2021. Click on this link to take part in the survey https://r1.dotdigital-pages.com/p/51LF-7HA/equestrian-road-safety-survey

To take part in this survey you must:

•  Be at least 18 years of age

•  Reside in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

•  Have used roads with a horse or pony in the previous year (this can be in any capacity – riding, carriage driving, leading in-hand, etc.)

Please help us share this survey with the wider equestrian community because everyone’s input is so important to help make the UK road network safer for all. Please take this opportunity to have your voice heard.

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You can read about BHS project outputs so far at the following links:

Equestrian road safety in the United Kingdom: Factors associated with collisions and horse fatalities - https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/12/2403

Public roads as places of interspecies conflict: A study of horse-human interactions on UK roads and impacts on equine exercise - https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/4/1072/htm

How you can help

  1. Report your incidents either using the Horse i app (available for both Android and iOS devices) or via the www.horseincidents.org.uk webpage.

  2. Share with your fellow equestrians to help raise awareness.

  3. Support BHS road safety campaigns and research

  4. Complete the equestrian road safety survey and share with your friends and family! https://r1.dotdigital-pages.com/p/51LF-7HA/equestrian-road-safety-survey