Road-sharing horse riders’ plea to motorists in Moreton Bay Region

After 40 years of riding, Heather Boreham is tired of sharing the bitumen with risky road users.

These days she trail rides for fun. Getting there can be a bit of a risk, as she has to tow a float or ride to nearby bushland.

She said she has had some close calls – which is exactly why she is calling on all road users to play it safe.

“Unfortunately many riders and motorists are unaware of the potential dangers,” she said.

But the issue doesn’t lie exclusively with car drivers. Trucks, motorbikes and even cyclists can spook a horse, and the results can be disastrous.

“I’ve seen some horrific accidents,” Heather said.

“I’ve had cars come on too close, I’ve had trucks put on their air horn beside me, I’ve had cars driving too close and beeping their horn basically just to see what we’ll do.

“Motorists need to be alert to minimum braking distances and everyone should be courteous and friendly.”

But it’s not just up to trucks, cars and other vehicles to keep the roads safe – horse riders also need to take responsibility for their actions, Heather said.

“Riders, where possible keep off the road and road shoulder by riding on the verges. If you need to ride on the road itself ride on the left with the flow of traffic.

“They need to be aware of hand signals that we can use but it is motorists that will do the damage.”

Pony Club Association of Queensland president Simon Irwin said it was a requirement for pony clubs across the state to teach youngsters how to ride on the roadside safely.

“Most riders are not exposed to riding on the road in many parts of Queensland. A parent will take them to a pony club ground in a float so it cannot be taken for granted that people will have learned the skills at home,” Mr Irwin said.

“It forms part of the work for the various level certificates that riders undertake.

“Ideally it needs to be made a part of driver education as well as the riders.”

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