Were you aware that in 2002 many Australian riding establishments ceased trading because they could no longer
get public liability insurance at an affordable price, if at all?
Riding Safely has been looking at the crisis that struck in 2002 and how it has recovered to where it is today
Jane Myers ran an equestrian establishment which was forced to close because of the insurance crisis.
She's sent Riding Safely her personal account of what happened......
" Many businesses closed due to the insurance crisis including ours, because we had not been going long enough to ride
out the storm. The situation was awful for some businesses that even though they were well established, had to close
as they simply could not afford the increases, in fact up until the last week or two before the deadline it was not known
if insurance would be able to be obtained at all.
For the last two years the only insurance available has been an overseas insurer with a limit of $5 million cover.
It was not viable for individuals to use (such as freelance instructors) as it was far too expensive; so many of them have
not taught for the last two years.
Eventually the government helped out and gave some money for a code of conduct to be developed. The Australian
Horse Council (similar to the BHS) took it on board and developed "Horsesafe". Things are starting to settle down now
as a reputable insurance company (still very expensive) has decided to reinsure due to the improved safety standards that
have resulted since Horsesafe was developed (standards were on the whole, pretty bad in many places before the code of conduct
was developed and it was a good thing that some places had to close as they were very dangerous however, sadly many good
places had to close too.)
My advice would be to keep a close eye on what happened to Australia and get the powers that be to try to take action
before it is too late. The insurance crisis affected many other pursuits and put many people out of business.
In many ways people could not believe that it was happening and the government would allow it to happen (and therefore they
did nothing until it was too late) but at the same time the government (it has been said) had the attitude that the horse
industry should be able to pull together and find a solution. The horse industry has the same problems here as it does
in many countries including Britain in that it is too fragmented with many groups pulling in different directions."
Jane Myers MSc
12 June 2004
Jane is the author of
"Horse Safe" - a complete guide to equine safety
- ISBN 0 643 09245 5
"Managing Horses on Small Properties"
- ISBN 0 643 0906 73
Available in the UK from: Eurospan
+44 20 7379 0609