Hacking on busy road.

pistolpete

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I absolutely love my new posh yard, the people and facilities are excellent. The only but.. is hacking out is via the field which at the moment is still a bit boggy of course this will improve as the ground dries, or out front onto a main road into a small suburb. I did my first solo attempt this morning, very happy to say no problems as my horse is pretty good in traffic.
Who hacks on the busier roads routinely? I have always tried to avoid them wherever possible but now can't really. Obviously going out in a group feels safer but that's not always possible.
Hints and tips appreciated to stay safe on the road. Hi-viz worn of course.
Thanks.
 

Nudibranch

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I always ride alone and sometimes have to use a relatively busy road to make a circular route. I would prefer not to but there are plenty of straight lengths so traffic can see us a a distance. I prefer to move onto the verge before the bends and wait for traffic to pass, then trot round them smartish before the next car comes!

The only tip I have is to carry a schooling whip with a bit of hi viz ribbon on the end, it definitely makes the cars pass wider.

I will not ride my youngster on that road for toffee though... not until he is totally reliable and has some experience behind him.
 

AmieeT

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I hack on the main road that links 2 cities- it can get very busy! Usually I avoid the traffic but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Learn all of the hand signals if you don't know them already. Always carry a whip- not to whip the horse, I lay mine across his side if he sticks his bum out too far and he's learnt to bring it back in- like Nudibranch says a long one will make traffic go wider. If you have an opportunity to allow traffic to pass, take it- this helps avoid them becoming impatient.

Thank EVERYONE that passes wide and slow for you. Smile, hand signal (if poss) and nod your head. It makes people think better of equestrians and makes them happier to give us the time.

Ax
 

lhotse

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I have to ride up and down a hill on a busy B road to get to the lanes at the top of the hill. There is also a bad bend on the hill. Am currently in talks with the council to get some signs put up. I have been at my yard for over 20 years, when we moved there, the road was very quiet but since they have opened the ringroad, it's used as a commuter route from our smallish town to the ringroad. It is also used by a large number of quarry lorries, often at the rate of one every 3 or 4 minutes. My horse is pretty good in traffic, and with lorries if they slow right down (met the Morrisons petrol tanker on it yesterday!!) but unfortunately, some people think it's ok to pass at the national speed limit (the road only changes to 30mph at the bottom).
I am lucky that I do have access now to a gateway opposite the lane at the top so I can ride straight back through the fields. However, this can sometimes prove stressful too, as it's right on the bend and I have to get off to unlock the gate. I have to be careful to judge the timing correctly incase something big comes flying round the bend and spooks the horse.
Now that the mornings are a lot lighter, I try to ride up the hill before the traffic (schooltime is an absolute no no, nutters with children and no brains!) then I can come back through the gate on the way home.

As far as hi-viz, I always wear a tabard, hi-viz long sleeved cycling top and if the day is a bit dull, or I think the road might be busy, the horse wears leg bands too.

I have found a cunning way to slow traffic that is heading towards me too fast, if you start to pat your horse in an exaggerated way, it seems to send a signal to the driver that the horse might be nervous, and they do seem to slow down more than if you give an arm signal. My horse likes it too!

ETA, I always thank everyone, even the ones who don't slow down in the hope that next time they will!!
 
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Spot_the_Risk

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Keep the horses head turned slightly to the right - horse will see vehicle approaching from behind with the right eye, and therefore his bum will move slightly left to keep his view. Seeing the vehicle with the left eye can cue horses backside swinging into the road!
 

Honey08

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I have a trick that I learned in Italy, where the traffic was ridiculous. While the car that isn't slowing down is still a way off I do a "pretend shy" into the road a bit. I always have time to get back in before the car comes, but usually, when idiot car driver realises this ton of horse may damage his shiny new car, they slow down. Naughty, but it often works.
 

Hippona

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I have a trick that I learned in Italy, where the traffic was ridiculous. While the car that isn't slowing down is still a way off I do a "pretend shy" into the road a bit. I always have time to get back in before the car comes, but usually, when idiot car driver realises this ton of horse may damage his shiny new car, they slow down. Naughty, but it often works.

With my highland....who is rock steady....cars tend to whizz past too close..
On my Arab....who is bit prancy looking.....they give us a wide berth.
Odd that :)
 

lhotse

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I too have a grey arab who is fond of flicking her head and long mane around, this I find slows cars down in itself. I actually think that cars do slow down more for a grey horse than a darker colour, maybe it's something to do with the general public's love of grey horses!! Milton, Dessie, Shadow fax!!!
 

Hippona

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I too have a grey arab who is fond of flicking her head and long mane around, this I find slows cars down in itself. I actually think that cars do slow down more for a grey horse than a darker colour, maybe it's something to do with the general public's love of grey horses!! Milton, Dessie, Shadow fax!!!

Maybe so! Possibly they're slowing down to admire the beauty :)
 

littleshetland

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The up side of riding on a busy road is you feel glad to be alive when you get home! I find holding my finger up to pursed lips (as in 'ssshhhh') works very well with noisy motorbikes. Lots of smiles and thank yous with the occasional 'up yours' gesture to those who truly deserve it.....

Stay safe!
 

wattamus

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I do a fair bit on the main road but I tend to stick to the grass verge along side so I don't cause too many problems for motorists which they seem to appreciate :)
 

MungoMadness

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We have to cross a 60mph road to get off the premises.

Crossing it is fine, there's big wide verges and the road is very long and straight and it's not too busy.

Riding wise, it's ok as it's so straight people see you from a mile away. I don't like it at all though, you get all sorts of traffic and it's not fun. But doable.
 

Bobbly

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I always ride alone and sometimes have to use a relatively busy road to make a circular route. I would prefer not to but there are plenty of straight lengths so traffic can see us a a distance. I prefer to move onto the verge before the bends and wait for traffic to pass, then trot round them smartish before the next car comes!

The only tip I have is to carry a schooling whip with a bit of hi viz ribbon on the end, it definitely makes the cars pass wider.

I will not ride my youngster on that road for toffee though... not until he is totally reliable and has some experience behind him.

This ^^^^ is pretty much exactly what I would have said except my hi viz for my youngster says on the back 'YOUNG HORSE IN TRAINING PLEASE BE PATIENT' over three lines and 'PLEASE SLOW' on the front.
I have to ride a bit of busy A road, fine for my connie but not yet braved it on my mare!
 

happyclappy

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i have no choice but to start out on an extremely busy and fast main road before being able to get on any tracks. also obviously have to end my ride on the same road. insist on plenty of hi vis
 

deb_l222

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To be honest I would kill to move to a yard where I never had to ride on a road again. My lad is excellent in traffic, so that's not the issue, it's just the sheer volume of traffic these days (makes me sound really old).

For the most part drivers are really courteous and I always respond with a nod or a wave but I'd much rather be off-road.
 

TrasaM

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The up side of riding on a busy road is you feel glad to be alive when you get home! I find holding my finger up to pursed lips (as in 'ssshhhh') works very well with noisy motorbikes. Lots of smiles and thank yous with the occasional 'up yours' gesture to those who truly deserve it.....

Stay safe!

Oh I'm not the only one who does the finger to lips 'shush' signal then :D also works on bin lorries to ask them to stop the crusher till we get past.

I might give the pretend shy a test too.

I hate riding on the road. It's not so bad on Asbo cob but the IDx mare is another matter and she's not keen on big lorries whizzing past. Sadly Ive now had too many rides where seeing the yard gate fills me with relief :(
 

pistolpete

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Thanks everyone, braved it again today with my newly modified schooling whip with a length of hi viz threaded onto it. We did okay! Big lorry got a tad close but only on the busiest stretch for a couple of minutes. All these tips really helped, thank-you!
 

SuperH

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The only tip I have is to carry a schooling whip with a bit of hi viz ribbon on the end, it definitely makes the cars pass wider.

I started doing this after I was hit by a car squeezing through the gap between my horse and an oncoming van last summer. It is such a simple thing and has made a massive difference, since the modification so far only one car has touched my 'car smacking' stick and we see a lot of traffic.
 
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