Wearing high-viz is essential to ensure you are your horse stay safe out hacking or driving. With lots of different options and colours available, it can be tricky to know what to wear. We’ll talk you through what to look for so you and your horse can stay safe and be seen.
Why is it so important to wear high-viz?
High-viz helps you and your horse stand out to other road users. This extra time could be enough to prevent an accident. Whilst you might associate high-viz with use in low light conditions or on the road, it’s vital to wear it in all seasons and on every ride or drive. You could easily blend into a hedge or shadowy tree line when hacking in the summer. Equally, when riding off the roads, high-viz can help emergency services find you quicker in the unfortunate event of a fall. In addition, research by the Military of Defence found that helicopter pilots spotted riders wearing high-viz half a mile sooner than those without, meaning they could act sooner.
Did you know that riders wearing high-viz are seen 3 seconds sooner by drivers? At 30mph, a car travels the length of a standard sized dressage arena in that time. This extra stopping time could save a life.
What colours of high-viz are there?
When selecting the colour of the high-viz you and your horse are wearing, considering the environment you will be riding in. You want a high level of contrast between yourself and the surroundings for maximum visibility.
Yellow – the traditional colour choice of high-viz and for good reason as it stands out against lots of backdrops. Yellow is a particularly good choice in autumn or lower light conditions. In the summer months, yellow high-viz can blend into green trees and particularly the bright yellow colour of rapeseed crops though.
Pink – a newer colour choice for high-viz. It’s very effective as pink isn’t a colour typically found in nature. Pink is also opposite green on the colour wheel so it contrasts with green fields, hedges and trees.
Orange – this is a popular choice as it stands out against both the blue sky and green fields, so is a great option for horse riders. The colour orange is also associated with warnings which may make you stand out more to road users too. Autumnal leaves are orange though so this colour of high-viz may blend in with these.
For maximum visibility all year round why not mix and match your high-viz colours? Equisafety have a multi coloured range, or you and your horse could wear items in different colours.
Equisafety also has a 'Polite' range which is a bestseller thanks to its eye-catching design.
What high-vis should I wear?
For maximum impact, you will want to be visible to road users approaching you from in front and behind. If you are in an area with lots of aircraft, you may also want to consider some high-viz so that you can be seen from above. As a minimum, the BHS recommends a high-viz jacket or tabard for the rider and leg bands for the horse. Less isn’t more when it comes to high-viz and luckily there are lots of options for both horse and rider:
What else should I consider when choosing high-viz?
High-viz products must meet the British Standard EN1150 to be worn by leisure riders. All the Equisafety products meet this standard and many have higher certifications too.
Fluorescent colours help you stay visible in daylight but in lower light conditions, you will need reflective tape too. The Equisafety products use retro-reflective tape which reflects back light to the source e.g. car headlights. Some of the Equisafety products also use advanced mercury fabric which is made from billions of reflective glass balls. The light that bounces back from this fabric gives the illusion of a bright light and is very effective in terms of visibility.
LED lights also work well in combination with the fluorescent colours and reflective tape.
How can I keep my high-viz effective?
Your high-viz needs to stay clean in order to keep you and your horse visible. Wash at 30° with non-biological detergent and allow to dry naturally. Store your high-viz safely in between uses.
Now you know why it’s important not to be a dark horse. Which high-viz colour will you choose, or will you be mixing and matching?
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