Tips for riders
We have put together some handy tips for riders from where you can ride to what to wear . As well as all the handy tips below, when heading out for a ride there are some things that you shouldn’t forget.
Always tell someone your intended route and estimated time of return
Check your tack before you set off
Take with you:
- First aid kit including sun cream
- Mobile phone for emergencies or in case you lose your way!
- Drinks and snacks including something for your horse
- Extra layers and a waterproof jacket
- Don’t be a dark horse – Be seen to be safe, both yourself and your horse should have reflective or fluorescent gear
What to Wear
Riding Hat: The most important piece of equestrian clothing is the riding hat, which should conform to the current safety standards. The current BHS-recognised standards are EN1384:1996 with CE mark, BSEN1384:1997 with CE mark, PAS015:2011 with BSI kitemark, ASTM F1163:2004a with SEI mark, E2001 with Snell certification label and AS/NZ 3838:2006 with SAI global mark. The hat provides protection for your head should you fall or be kicked. It is recommended that the hat is also worn whilst handling any horse. Please see the BHS website for more information.
The hat should fit securely but comfortably and should have a chin strap which should be adjusted correctly and fastened when the riding hat is worn. The size of the hat should be determined by measuring the circumference of the head just above the ears.
Riding Boots: The two types of basic riding boots are the full length riding boot and ankle boots known as jodhpur boots. The long riding boots can be restricting and uncomfortable in hot weather but they do offer protection to the rider’s legs and ankles. The Jodhpur boots are generally more comfortable to wear but they offer no protection to the rider’s legs and so they are most often worn with half chaps or gaiters that cover the lower leg.
Riding Jackets: A riding jacket is usually worn for formal equestrian events rather than for everyday riding. The jacket should not restrict movement and with the vent at the back of the jacket it should lie smoothly over the back of the saddle.
Jodhpurs and Breeches: Close fitting riding trousers with reinforced areas around the inside of the knee, they should be comfortable and allow the rider to bend their knee without them cutting into the back of the leg. Jodhpurs end at the ankles and are suitable to be worn with jodhpur boots or long riding boots, whereas breeches end half way down the calf and are suitable to be worn with long riding boots only.
Chaps: Chaps can be full or half length. Full length chaps help to keep the legs warm and dry whilst riding which can be very useful in the winter. They can come in a variety of materials and consist of two independant leg covering attached to the waist by a belt and are worn over jodpurs. Half chaps cover the leg from below the knee to the ankle where a strap goes under the boot. They are worn with jodpur boots and offer some protection to the lower leg.
Body or Back Protectors: These protectors are designed to give protection to the back and chest area of the rider should they fall or be kicked. The protectors are foam filled and are worn over the top of clothes. Although the protectors are designed to give protection, injuries cannot be entirely provented but the body protector can reduce the severity of possible injuries. Any body protector should be fastened tightly and correctly and should conform to the current safety standard which is BETA 2000.The protector should be replaced at least every 3-4 years as the foam padding may start to degrade.
- DO NOT panic if your horse slips and falls. Stay calm and let him find his feet. Check he is uninjured and remount on non-slippery ground.
- DO NOT trot on slippery surfaces.
- Do take extra care when crossing farmland. Obtain permission from the land owner if crossing private land.
- If you join the British Horse Society. As a full member you enjoy FREE Third Party Legal Liability Insurance as well as many other benefits.
Riding on Roads
- Do thank motorists that are courteous to you.
- Do read and learn from the BHS Riding and road safety manual.
- Do take the BHS riding and road safety test read the appropriate sections of the highway code.
- Do ride on the left hand side of the road.
- DO NOT ride out on roads known to be dangerous from snow or ice.
- DO NOT attempt to accustom a green horse to the road without a steady horse present.
- DO NOT take a mounted group of more than eight horses on the road. If there are more of you, form into groups, each with a competent leader and shepherd.
- DO NOT ride more than two abreast on the road.
- DO NOT ride on the road in foggy conditions or after dark.
- Give clear and accurate signals and remember other road users.
- DO NOT trickle over a major crossing. Always cross in a group.
- Acknowledge and return courtesy, a smile and nod are enough if your hands are full.
Where can I ride?
On the Rights of Way network, horse riders may use bridleways (BW’s), byways open to all traffic (known as ‘BOATs’) and restricted byways (RB’s), roads used as public paths (‘RUPPs’). In addition, there are a number of un-surfaced, unclassified roads that can be used. It is not legal to ride on footpaths unless you believe you have the right to do so or you have been given permission by the landowner. These can all be found on our interactive map.
There are some permissive routes. These can be found on the Natural England website.
Horse Riders are welcome on the network of bridleways and surfaced forest roads within Forestry Commission woodlands in Shropshire. Please see their website for more details. There are also some commons where riding is permitted.
Follow advice and signs. Download and print out our Finding Your Way Advice Sheet to take with you. It shows all the up to date signs and symbols. This sheet is out of date and does not include restricted byway.
How do I find out which routes I can ride on in Shropshire?
A copy of the legal Definitive Map may be consulted at Shropshire Council’s Countryside Access office in Shirehall, Shrewsbury – please contact us if you would like to visit.
In practice the various classes of Rights of Way are shown on modern Ordnance Survey maps. The best are the Explorer series (orange covers). These are available at most bookshops or direct from the Ordnance Survey. Those that cover Shropshire are as follows:
OS Sheet Number 201 Knighton and Presteigne, 203 Ludlow, 216 Welshpool and Montgomery, 217 Longmynd and Wenlock Edge, 218 Wyre Forest and Kidderminster, 240 Oswestry, 241 Shrewsbury, OS Sheet Number 242 Telford, Ironbridge and The Wrekin, 243 Market Drayton, 257 Crewe and Nantwich.
Rights of Way are also shown on the Landranger (pink cover) series, but there is less detail (for instance field boundaries are not shown), and therefore they are less suitable for finding your way across the countryside. Beware of old maps – they do not show definitive Rights of Way reliably.
You can also download and print out our Guide for horse riders and cyclists on bridleways and byways in Shropshire to take with you. It shows all the up to date signs and symbols.
Please follow the Countryside Code– a set of rules for everyone enjoying the countryside.