Walking near horses


When walking in places where horses are grazing it’s best to exercise the same caution as when walking near livestock, keeping dogs – which could frighten horses – close by and under control and avoiding walking between mares and their foals. The British Horse Society has also produced a useful leaflet on minimising risks when horses encounter dogs.

Horses which chase people or otherwise act aggressively should be reported to the local authority.

Walkers may also come across horse riders away from fields and open countryside for example on bridleways and rural roads. Although horse riders don’t have priority over pedestrians on bridleways (cyclists must give way to walkers and horse riders) use your common sense and be mindful of other path users and follow the Highway Code when walking on roads.

Here are some simple tips to follow to ensure you stay safe when walking near horses on paths and roads:

  • Don’t walk too close behind a horse and its rider, or a horse on a leading rein
  • Give horses a wide berth when overtaking on foot
  • Don’t shout or make sudden movements near horses
  • If approaching from behind let the rider know you are there

The expert view: Animals and rights of way

Find out more about animals and rights of way including what the law is and how to deal with problem animals.