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Traveling by horseback in the city: Is it legal?

Posted at 5:29 AM, Sep 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-21 07:42:51-04

It’s certainly not something you see everyday in town, people riding horses, but in the rural areas, you see it all the time…Welcome to Texas!

That brings up the question; is it against the law to ride a horse on the roads here in Texas?

If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Many of us don’t know if horseback riding is legal in the city limits.

“Number one is most cities don’t allow you to ride inside the city due to the different traffic precautions,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Nathan Brandley.

According to the Department of Public Safety in Texas, the law is different when it comes to riding a horse in traffic because of personal safety issues, animal safety issues, and vehicle safety issues.

“But along the side of the road in the counties, you will see people riding horses. The rules are basically this: a horse is a non-vehicle form of travel, which is fine. You just got to be able to make sure you don’t block any traffic or pedestrians’ right of way, that is totally fine. Not recommend to usually ride horses after dark alongside of the road, and you need to be at least 16 to be operating the horse while you are out there in the traffic area,” said Brandley.

Whether you are riding with or against traffic, the rules of the road remain the same. Riders should acknowledge stop signs and lights, yield signs and be extremely careful at intersections.

“This is Texas; don’t be surprised if you do see somebody riding a horse out in the county somewhere. Just use extreme caution while riding a horse. You have to be aware of your surroundings, other vehicles, and just like driving a vehicle, riding a horse out there, you have to be on guard. You don’t want to be struck or hit by a vehicle, and you don’t want to do anything that will cause a crash while you are riding,” said Brandley.

In areas of heavy traffic, it is often best to dismount and lead the horse across. It’s better to avoid an accident than to create one.

Drivers need to consider the riders’ well-being, and riders need to be courteous to motorists.

Horses are a means of transportation and are considered non-motorized vehicles. Whether you are riding  with or against traffic, the rules of the road remain the same.