Advice regarding passing horses on the road

During the summer months we see more people out using our roads, whether it be walking, on bikes or on horseback, making the most of the longer days and the better weather. It is imperative that we all work together to ensure the safety of everyone.


When passing people out on horseback, slow down and always leave plenty of room.  The general advice would be to leave as much room as you would for passing a car.  Take great care and treat all horses as a potential hazard.

Horses can be flighty and easily spooked, so you need to pass them slowly and quietly, giving them plenty of space.

If you’re driving up behind a horse, and intend to overtake, you need to wait at a safe distance until you have good visibility and can see the road ahead is clear. Only then indicate and pull onto the opposite carriageway, passing them slowly and quietly and only return to your side of the road when you are certain there is sufficient space between your vehicle and the horse to do so.

If the horse is on the opposite side of the road, you should still slow to a walking pace and drive past them without revving the engine or making any unnecessary noise.

Please be considerate when driving and be aware of your surroundings.

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland Board Member Kathryn Shanks was lucky enough to be joined on a recent ride by her Community Police Officer Rory Edwards. Kathryn commented, “We have to ride on the main road through our village for a short distance to access some of the off road tracks, the ponies are generally excellent in traffic, that said, there have been a few hairy moments of late. The speed of the traffic and reckless overtaking decisions has made it quite stressful. I contacted PC Edwards and he offered to come out and run some speed checks and to educate the public in how to pass safely. I am very fortunate and grateful to have the support of my community police team here in Musselburgh.”