Can someone settle this argument?

Keira 8888

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 June 2020
Messages
799
Hi guys,

Hope you’re all well.

I was eavesdropping a conversation today from the safety of my hay and I’m curious as to who was right!

One person said that is the absolute law that you cannot lead a horse outside the yard (lane, track or road) without a bitted bridle.

The other person was adamant that the law states you need to be “in control of your horse” - whether that is in a head collar, bridle, bitless bridle, dually etc...

Who was right (according to the law)?

Thanks!
 
Joined
19 July 2010
Messages
22,189
Highway code. https://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/rules-about-animals-horse-riders.html

No mention of bits, so riding a horse in a bitless bridle is fine. In hand the 'make sure you can control the horse' applies, so if you have control in a headcollar that would be OK.

52
Before you take a horse on to a road, you should
ensure all tack fits well and is in good condition
make sure you can control the horse.
Always ride with other, less nervous horses if you think that your horse will be nervous of traffic. Never ride a horse without both a saddle and bridle.
 

PapaverFollis

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 November 2012
Messages
7,881
Personally I wouldn't want to be arguing in court that I was definitely "in control" in a headcoller though. So mine always wear a bit for being led on the road now. However when, a long time ago, I had to lead up a stretch of road to the turnout field... they didn't. And they really should have because the old horse of MrPF's was a menace!
 

dogatemysalad

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 July 2013
Messages
5,341
Number 2, unless you are riding, then a bridle with a bit is required by law, although probably not enforced unless there was an accident.

As an aside, it's illegal to sell a horse without a head collar and lead rope.
 

Lacuna

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 October 2010
Messages
544
Number 2, unless you are riding, then a bridle with a bit is required by law, although probably not enforced unless there was an accident.

As an aside, it's illegal to sell a horse without a head collar and lead rope.
Not to split hairs but the wording of the highway code only states you should never ride without a saddle and bridle, bits are not mentioned. Which suits me as I usually hack out with a bitless bridle at present.
 

Trouper

Well-Known Member
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
1,371
I am not sure the law is that prescriptive about just what bits of tack are required any more than it is with dogs having to be "under control" in a public place.
However, I would not like to be arguing the toss with my insurance company on the public indemnity element of my policy if I had not done everything I could to control a horse in any incident where someone else was (heaven forfend) injured.
 

FFAQ

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 June 2015
Messages
494
Very interesting to click on meowy catkin's link. Always useful to brush up. I have definitely ridden one handed and taken my feet out of the stirrups while riding on the road 😶
 

HorseyTee

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 April 2017
Messages
1,039
Location
West Midlands
Surely it can't be law that a horse must be bitted to be taken into roads else bitless bridles would be illegal to use?

I pop a bridle on but lead off a headcollar so the bridle is there just in case but walking mine is like walking a dog.
It's other people and situations you can't control.
 

scruffyponies

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 March 2011
Messages
1,177
Location
NW Hampshire
A horse doesn't have to be in a bridle / headcollar to be 'under control' any more than a dog must be on a lead. Definitely a headcollar is not enough to 'control' so much as a Shetland pony, so it is always about their training and expectations.
 

Wishfilly

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 March 2016
Messages
1,706
I don't see how it's relevant to court?

If you lose control while leading your horse, regardless of what he is or isn't wearing, you would be liable for damages he caused?

Wearing a bridle does not nullify you from any responsibility.
Well, it depends a bit, doesn't it? For example, if another road user behaved dangerously, and caused you to lose control, they might carry some liability. But if you were say, riding down the road in a head collar, that might weaken your argument somewhat.

It may also impact whether your insurance is willing to pay out.

It would be fairly easy to prove that a competent rider bareback has more control than a novice with the horse in full polo tack! :D
Actually, I'm not sure how easy this would be to prove in court.
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
35,665
Location
W. Yorks
It's a very long time ago now but the first RS that I rode at, we used to ride bareback and lead another pony through the village back to their summer grazing fields when the days' lessons had finished. No-one ever suggested that we shouldn't!
 
Top