Horses graving in a field
Horses graving in a field

Horses and shoots

There are a number of causes for concern over safety issues between shooters and equestrians. However, a good relationship exists between the two groups and the problems should be easily overcome. 

These guidelines will help to contribute towards the safety of the riders and horses.


Noise is the principal issue to be addressed:

  1. The noise from the guns as they fire.
  2. The sounds created by spent shot as it falls as well as any falling shot birds.
  3. Noises and sudden movements made by gun dogs and beaters working in cover as they approach bridleways etc. (This may include the sound of a flushed animal).

Other risks to be aware of:

  1. Drives situated near to regular riding routes may be responsible for spent shot falling on and around those routes. Care should be taken, where practical, to avoid this.
  2. Shoot organisers should be aware that ‘holding up’ a horse which might be near its home stable can result in a problem for the rider. Commonly, it is really only police horses and some military mounts that will stand for long periods of time.

Dealing with the risks

  • Riders and shooters should show courtesy and consideration towards each other at all times.
  • Riders and shooters should be vigilant at all times.
  • As soon as a horse or horses are spotted, all shooting and beating should stop until they have passed.
  • All guns should be aware of bridleways and it should be the duty of every host to notify guests of their position and of any fields in which horses may be present. Drives should be organised with this in mind.
  • Where possible shoots should liaise with local riders or yards to inform people when formal shoots are taking place; equally riders should look for clues that shooting may be taking place in the area, e.g sounds, cars parked in gateways, BASC stickers in car windows.
  • It may be appropriate to publish the dates of shooting days and to inform local riding centres of any drives which may affect them. Publication of dates would move an element of responsibility to riders.
  • If appropriate, signs or signals should be placed notifying riders that shooting will be taking place. Shooters and riders should ensure that they have adequate third party insurance.