The British Horse Society is urging England football supporters to be aware and considerate of horses during the World Cup.
Flying flags on cars has potential to cause a dangerous situation for a horse and rider on the road when the flapping noise of the flag could result in a frightened horse putting the rider at risk as well as the possibility of causing damage to vehicles.
Four years ago, during the last World Cup, a rider was hospitalised in Cornwall when the horse she was riding was spooked by the noise of flapping flags mounted on the bonnet of a passing car. The horse bolted and the rider fell, being narrowly missed by a second car.
Sheila Hardy, Senior Executive (Safety) at The British Horse Society, said: “The BHS understands fans wishing to show their support for the England team by flying St George’s flags on their vehicles and we by no means want to dampen the excitement.
“However, we would ask everyone to be aware that horses are likely to be startled by the loud flutter that car window flags generate and to pass any horses they encounter on the road with due care and attention.”
The Society is advising drivers with car-mounted flags to slow down even more than usual and give horses a wider berth when overtaking. It also asks supporters to consider flying flags only on the driver’s side of their vehicle to allow more room between the horse and the flag. This will help reduce the chances of other incidents such as the one in Cornwall.