Police are encouraging car drivers and horse riders to work together to prevent accidents involving horses.

As the good weather returns and bridal paths and rural roads see the return of riders police are trying to raise public awareness to improve safety on the roads for horse riders and motorists.

A force spokesman said: “Car drivers and horse riders both have a right to use the road. By considering each others' needs and following some basic advice, drivers and riders can help avoid accidents involving horses on the road.”

Motorists are advised to pass horses wide and slow, look out for riders’ signals and slow down and be ready to stop if necessary.

And riders are advised to be mindful of road users, ensure that they can be seen and not to ride on the roads in failing light.

The Department for Transport’s current ‘THINK!’ horse sense campaign offers the following advice for drivers.

• Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary

• Look out for riders' signals to slow down or stop

• Watch out for sudden movements, horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable

• Don't sound your horn or rev your engine

• Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them.

• On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits they don't intend to use

Advice for horse riders:

• Always display fluorescent/reflective clothing on both horse and rider whatever the weather or light conditions

• If at all avoidable, don't ride in failing light, fog or darkness. Avoid icy or snowy roads

• If riding a horse that is not used to roads, ask a rider with a horse who is experienced and calm to accompany you

• Never take a mounted group of more than eight horses on the road

• If riding two abreast, move into single file as soon as it is safe for the motorist to overtake. Don't ride more than two abreast on the road

• Always cross major crossings in a group, rather than trickling across one by one

• Leave details of your intended route and estimated time of return with a responsible person