Aside from the safety point of view, which I'm sure we’ve all had drummed into us from magazines, the BHS, concerned parents and the highways agency, wearing reflective gear and lights while hacking on the roads is really a way of showing how much you care about your horse.
If you think about it, as a human, we can ponder the pros and cons of hacking out, decide where to go and then choose whether or not to wear reflective gear and lights – which we’re reliably informed helps to keep us safer on the roads. However our horses have no concept of the potential danger they are being placed into each and every time we hack out on the road. They rely on us to keep them safe.
Each time we decide not to wear any reflective clothing or lights we put them and in turn ourselves at increased risk. It’s quite astounding to see how much people truly care about their horses, they feed them, exercise them, rug them up and care for them when they get sick. Many of these same caring equestrians then put their equine partners in danger by taking them out onto busy main roads or dark, windy country lanes without any reflective gear!
Research presented at the International Society of Equitation Science annual conference indicated that riders who wore lights as well as reflective clothing while out riding reported significantly fewer ‘near misses’.
Next time you’re about to go hacking out, take a minute to think about which one of you may get more injured as a result of an accident with a vehicle not being able to see you properly - and at the very least, put a yellow tabard on!