Riding on the Road

Riding your horse on the road can be fun, scenic, and a good way to get out of the arena. In this article, find tips and things to remember when riding or preparing to ride on the road. Also included will be laws and rules people in motorized vehicles must and should follow to help horses and their owners have a good road riding experience. Use common sense when deciding whether your horse can safely be ridden on the road.

DISCLAIMER: You know your horse best, so if you need help acclimating your horse to road riding, reach out to a competent horse trainer.

Tips keep you and your horse safe:

  • Wear safety gear including a helmet and protective vest.
  • Wear bright colors so cars and other motor or non-motorized vehicles can easily see you.
  • Prepare your horse ahead of time. There may be obstacles along the way such as ditches that need to be crossed, dogs, bikes, people, motorcycles, and cars.
  • Gradually introduce your horse to riding on the road. The hard surface of the pavement can be tolling on your horse’s feet and legs. Gradually build up how far you ride on the road to prevent tendon and other damage.
  • Ride with people. Riding in a group is much safer than riding alone on the road. Horses are herd animals and are more likely to be comfortable with other horses around them.
  • Don’t take a green horse out alone. If riding a green horse on the road, have someone come with you who has a horse with road riding experience.
  • Be sure to ride single file.
  • When turning, all turn and cross at once, and on the other side of the road resume single file riding.
  • Lunge or work your horse before going out on the road. This can help to get out excess energy before hitting the road.
  • Travel with the flow of traffic if possible.
  • Ride during daylight.
  • If no shoulder is available to ride on, and you must ride on the road surface, stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.

When encountering a horse and rider on the road:

  • Slow down. Vehicles whizzing past a horse can be very frightening. A horse’s instinct is “fight or flight” so they could bolt in this situation, making it dangerous for the horse, rider, and driver.
  • Move over so the horse has plenty of room.
  • Avoid loud noises such as honking or revving the engine.
  • Watch out for hang signals from the rider.
  • Horses always have the right of way.

Remember, always choose the safest option and be courteous of horses. Wear the correct gear and prepare correctly to have the best experience. Be safe, smart and happy trails!

More Information:

GA Code: Persons Riding Animals – Motor Vehicles and Traffic
GA Dept of Ag – List of Horse-related Laws

by: Molly Smith

Molly has been in the horse community for 9 years where she rides and participates in the 4H horse quiz bowl, hippology, and horse judging teams. She owns a paint mare named Pepsi, and enjoys riding and spending time with her. Molly avidly collects Breyer model horses and has a business where she makes miniature tack items.