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Virtual Reality Film Aims to Improve Safety for Horses and Riders

The British Horse Society has launched a new virtual reality film to raise awareness of the safety issues horse riders face on the roads.

The film, which forms part of the BHS’ ongoing Dead Slow campaign, aims to give drivers first-hand experience of how it feels to be riding a horse when a car passes either too fast or too close.

The film also demonstrates what drivers experience when approaching a horse in a vehicle that is travelling too fast.

In the last scene, viewers are in a car with BBC Sport presenter Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, who explains how to pass a horse in a safe manner.

The BHS’s Horse Accidents website shows that from November 2010 to March 2018 there were 2,902 road incidents involving horses – ranging from a near miss to a collision.

Since the website was launched, the BHS says there have been reports of 39 riders killed and 230 horses killed or euthanised because of their injuries. 85% of these incidents have been where a vehicle has passed too close or too fast.

Since the launch of the Dead Slow campaign in 2016, the BHS has been working with many organisations to educate drivers on how to pass horses safely, including many in Wales.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS recently gave an emotive and powerful presentation at the Road Safety Wales Conference.  During his presentation he said “We believe that we can tell drivers how to behave around horses and they will forget; we can show them and they will remember – but if we involve them with our VR film they will understand.

“This film is groundbreaking and means we can go to any driving event and involve drivers in a unique way.”

He also reiterated the four Dead Slow campaign messages, which are designed to influence drivers and change their behaviour around horses:

  • Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
  • Be patient
  • Pass the horse wide and slow, giving at least a car’s width where possible
  • Drive slowly away
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