HORSE RIDERS from all over North Ayrshire joined a ride in Kilwinning on Sunday to raise awareness about taking care when passing horses on the road.

The ride was organised by North Ayrshire Riding Club as part of the nationwide Pass Wide and Slow campaign, which encourages motorists to be patient when coming into contact with horses on the roads.

National advice for motorists is to slow right down to 15mph when approaching a horse on the road, ensuring that you only pass if it is safe to do so and you can give at least two metres clearance of the animal.

The campaign has been supported by police forces across the country, alongside the British Horse Society (BHS) who found, in the last year alone, there have been 1,010 road incidents which have left 46 horses dead, 118 injured and 130 people injured.

Their findings also showed that 80 percent of these incidents were caused due to a vehicle passing a horse too closely and 43 percent were caused due to a vehicle passing too quickly.

And on Sunday the members of North Ayrshire Riding Club who meet at Eglinton Park were joined by police for the ride out around the town.

Dr Sonya Campbell-Perry, chairperson of North Ayrshire Riding Club, explained:“I’m someone who has unfortunately been hit by a car when out riding, and thankfully after a brief hospitalization lived to tell the tale.

“It is of huge importance to me as a rider, mother of two horsey teenagers and as chair of the local Riding Club, and as a member of the local community that we raise awareness to other road users of the vulnerability of riders when riding on the roads.”

The North Ayrshire group has been meeting for over 20 years at Eglinton Park and the group provide educational, coaching and competition opportunities for all those with their own horses, or getting access to other people’s horses to increase skill, confidence and safety in their communities.