15 February 2016
Advice from the BHS on the subject of Harvest Time Highway Etiquette
This actually applies to all road riding and is only common sense but perhaps worth reminding folk.
Horse riders encounter farmers and enormous tractors throughout the year. However, this risk is
heightened during harvest time when large combines, trailers and balers are moving from field to field at
their busiest, possible most stressful, time of year. BHS has received several reports of horses unseating
riders as a result of heavy machinery being driven in a business like fashion down narrow country roads
through www.horseaccidents.org.uk The sheer size of the vehicles can be frightening for horses, and the
combination of additional machinery exacerbates this. Here are a few tips to minimise the hazards:
- Be relaxed. “What’s in the brain, goes down the rein!” Stay relaxed in your posture, maintaining close
contact with your horse through your seat.
- Make sure you are visible; wear your usual hi-viz gear plus a hi-viz hat band or hi-viz leg bands on your
These can be seen over hedgerows and round an otherwise blind bend which may give the machinery
driver the opportunity to slow down before they meet you.
- Be courteous: encourage and acknowledge drivers who do slow down and pass you considerately with a
smile and a nod, or a wave in thanks, if it is safe to take one hand from the reins.
- Observe and heed and hand signals the driver may make to let you know their intentions. A large piece of
farm equipment will require large turning circles and may have to pull right out into the road to make a
turn in either direction.
- Remember these machines are doing a job, often working to deadlines. Ride courteously and as soon as it
is possible to do so, position yourself so the driver may pass. Acknowledge that this is what you are doing
with the appropriate signals to pull off the road or by trotting on to a suitable passing place.
- Plan your route carefully and try to avoid riding out next to fields you know are being, or are going to
be, worked on. If you live in the area you will get to know where harvest activity is taking place.
- Talk to other local riders and use the information they can give you about potential alternative routes.
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