Riding & Road Safety Test

The Association of British Riding Schools offers a Riding & Road Safety Test for adults, and children aged 12 years and above.

The tests, and the courses leading up to them, are organised and run by individual ABRS approved schools throughout the United Kingdom. The purpose of the training is to encourage riders who wish to hack out to become competent, disciplined and responsible riders with knowledge of road craft, country lore and allied information.

The ABRS Riding & Road Safety Test has taken into account the different environments in which riding schools/centres are situated. Some schools have to share their surrounding roads and lanes with a variety of other road users – from motor cycles to enormous load carrying lorries – before they can reach a bridleway or other ‘off road’ riding areas. Other schools may be lucky enough to have plenty of ‘off road’ riding facilities e.g. parkland, estate or moors. All riders will have to know how to negotiate the various hazards found in urban and main road areas and also know about riding in the country.

Because of the varied locations of riding schools, an area must be provided where a simulated road can be set out. It is important that candidates are able to show competence with a number of hazards as well as the correct positioning and procedures at junctions with right and left turns, procedure at traffic lights etc.

Training towards the test involves theory and practice and can be delivered to suit the schedules of individual schools. The ABRS recommends a minimum of 6 – 8 hours training, though more may be considered necessary depending on the needs of the candidates.

The test involves four elements: theory, safety checks and riding, the simulated road test and the actual road test.

The first section of the test involves the completion of a multiple-choice question paper on the Highway Code, current safety standards, horse behaviour, coping with dangerous situations and procedure for conducting a hack. 10 questions will be listed. Candidates will be expected to achieve at least 8 correct answers in order to go forward to the next stage of the test.

For this section the candidates will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and awareness of preparing a horse to go out on the roads. The Examiner will observe the candidates preparing the horse and ask questions relating to the fit and safety of the tack and the condition of the horse’s feet. Following mounting of all riders there will be a short section that involves riders demonstrating correct procedures for riding in single and double file and how to safely change the file order. The group will also be observed demonstrating how to safely conduct transitions between walk and trot when on the roads.

A set simulated road route will be negotiated by each rider. This route involves the demonstration of how to safely ride a variety of turns and manoeuvres which may include left/right turns, major-minor and minor-major, flared junctions, traffic lights, roundabouts and how to perform a safe U turn. The route also incorporates several hazards, which must be passed with due awareness demonstrated. Candidates must be aware that this simulation represents busy roads so they can demonstrate to the Examiner that they are safe to continue to the test and ride on the road.

Candidates who satisfy the Examiner in the previous sections will continue to the final section. This involves riding a short set road route. This section will vary greatly according to the individual school’s location, but the minimum requirement should show riders making turns to right and left, and if possible, overtaking a stationary vehicle.

They must also deal correctly with any situations that may arise with traffic and pedestrians. Candidates must be successful in this final section to be awarded the Association of British Riding Schools Riding & Road Safety Test Certificate.