Horse riding for pleasure has become an increasingly popular pastime in recent years, with at least seven percent of the Great British population having ridden in the previous 12 months (The British Horse Society). Its popularity is largely due to the fact that this is a fun and exciting activity for all the family, where people can explore their local area in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.
To get started you will need to take lessons. A list of British Horse Society approved riding schools and instructors can be found on the BHS website.
Where to ride
Bracknell Forest caters well for horse riding with public rights of way to the north of the borough and Swinley Forest to the south providing a wide range of riding possibilities.
Bridleways, byways and restricted byways are all open to horse riders.
Please note that horse riding is not normally permitted on public footpaths or pavements and please be aware of other users of public rights of way.
Binfield Bridle Circuit
This 10-mile circuit in the parish of Binfield is located to the north of Bracknell Town and consists of byways, bridleways and quiet country roads which form two loops, each approximately 5 miles in length. The Binfield bridle circuit passes through attractive rural scenery leaving the more busy roads behind. In addition, there are several off-road sections suitable for cantering.
The horse-riding trails are all signposted with a special Binfield Bridle Circuit signpost and a map describing the route is available as a download on this page.
Horse riding tracks are available on land owned by The Crown Estate at The Look Out and Windsor Great Park/Windsor Forest.
Visitors wishing to bring their horses to ride in Swinley Forest (the forest surrounding The Look Out) are welcome, but they will need to purchase a permit from The Crown Estate. Visitors also require a permit to ride at Windsor Great Park. Enquiries need to be directed to:
The Crown Estate Office
The Great Park
Tel: 01753 860222
Contact the Forestry Commission for permits to ride on their land in Crowthorne.
Car drivers and horse riders both have a right to use the road. By considering each other's needs and following some basic advice, drivers and riders can help avoid accidents involving horses on the road.
Research by the British Horse Society shows that wearing fluorescent and reflective clothing gives drivers three more seconds, (an extra 25 feet of braking distance). This could be the difference between you and your horse staying safe, or a nasty accident. The BHS offers a range of help and advice for keeping you and your horse safe to enjoy your rides. From advice on what to wear, to avoiding low flying aircrafts, they have got it covered. The leaflet Horse sense for motorists contains further guidance for both drivers and riders.
Any incidents relating to horses (including dog attacks) can be reported online to The British Horse Society.
Riding and road safety test
Taken by more than 4,000 candidates a year, the Riding and Road Safety Test helps educate riders in road safety in order to minimise the risk involved when riding on the roads. The test is available to all riders from 12 years of age and is supported by the Department for Transport. It is the only test that any rider will undertake that has the potential to save not only their own life but that of their horse and other road users as well. Further details can be found from the British Horse Society.