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Riding Safely

Essentials - For Everyone

Essential safety information for everyone involved with horses...
 

"A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle"  - Ian Fleming, The Sunday Times (1966)

 


 

Our “Essentials” page is tailored to provide you with the level of safety information suited to your needs. 

We’ve tried to keep it simple, using just four headings:

 

“For Everyone” is for anyone who has anything to do with horses from riding school client to equestrian professional.  It provides information on protective equipment such as hats and body protectors through to tips on riding out and more.

“For Horse Owners and Keepers” provides information to help you ensure the health, safety and welfare of your horse or horses under your care and outlines your legal responsibilities.

“For Businesses” focuses on what you need to do to comply with health, safety, fire and environmental legislation and points you to some of the tools available. 

“For Students” provides more detailed information and resources for those studying for a career in the industry.

 

You can go directly to these now - under each heading we’ll list the areas covered.

 


 
Learning to Ride
  Getting the right start
Rider Protection
  Riding Hats
  Body Protectors  
  High Visibilty Clothing  
  Safety Footwear  
Riding Out
  Minimising the risk to you and your horse
Handling
  Beware of kicks!
  The Industry
  Introduction
  Key Legislation
  Tools and sources of help
  Equestrian specific guidance
 
For Students
  Introduction
  Extra resources
  National Equine Student Magazine
  Feedback

 
Rider Protection

Riding Hats/Helmets
 
    Riding hats and helmets are just different terms used to describe the same thing - protective headwear.
    Wearing properly fitted and secured hats saves lives. 
    The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) consider that hats to the British PAS 015 1998 offer the best in terms of shock absorbency, penetration and retention.

Other hats also considered to offer a high level of protection are:

The European Standard EN 1384
The ASTMF 1163-95
ASTM Snell E95 (SEI)
Australian/New Zealand SNZ 3838 1998

    A high performance helmet standard offering greater protection from side impacts and aimed at competition riders was launched in 2005.  Helmets in accordance with BSEN 14572:2005 are intended for use in high-risk activities, and not to supersede the current standards.

    Some organisations and competitions impose certain hat standards - check before you ride.

    To work properly hats must must be fitted correctly by someone competent. In the UK, this will preferably be by someone who has received training in hat fitting through BETA or manufacturers such as Charles Owen. It is usual for anyone who has attended  training to receive a certificate.
    You'll probably buy your hat through a saddlers, tack shop or riding school. Ask if the person fitting it has been trained.  Very often certificates are displayed. Remember your life may depend on having a properly fitted hat.
     A riding hat is lined with microscopic bubble wrap. When a hat hits the ground or a hard surface the bubbles burst absorbing the impact. The hard shell spreads the area of contact over a much larger load bearing area. Anyone who has ever played with bursting bubble wrap knows that once all the bubbles are burst it's no longer any good for its intended purpose. That's why a hat should be replaced after being dropped on the ground or following a blow to the head, especially if the wearer loses consciousness.
     Don't buy or use a second-hand hat  - you don't know its history.
     Look after your hat carefully. Don’t leave it on the back shelf of your car exposed to the sun during summer – excessive heat can damage it. Similarly, leave it in a warm, dry place overnight after riding. Don’t be tempted to dry it in front of a fire or on a radiator. To reduce the risk of rusting of the metal components don’t store it in a plastic bag before it is dry. he expected
     The expected life span of a hat for the average rider is five years.

Body Protectors
    Coming soon...
Boots
    Coming soon...
 
Protective equipment used in the workplace
    UK: Any personal protective equipment (PPE) used by staff in the workplace is subject to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations. The main requirement of the Regulations is that PPE is to be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. Examples of “PPE” include: riding helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and clothing affording protection against the weather.

Rider Protection
Riding Hats/Helmets
    Riding hats and helmets are just different terms used to describe the same thing - protective headwear.
    Wearing properly fitted and secured hats saves lives. 
    The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) consider that hats to the British PAS 015 1998 offer the best in terms of shock absorbency, penetration and retention.

Other hats also considered to offer a high level of protection are:

The European Standard EN 1384
The ASTMF 1163-95
ASTM Snell E95 (SEI)
Australian/New Zealand SNZ 3838 1998

    A high performance helmet standard offering greater protection from side impacts and aimed at competition riders was launched in 2005.  Helmets in accordance with BSEN 14572:2005 are intended for use in high-risk activities, and not to supersede the current standards.

    Some organisations and competitions impose certain hat standards - check before you ride.

    To work properly hats must must be fitted correctly by someone competent. In the UK, this will preferably be by someone who has received training in hat fitting through BETA or manufacturers such as Charles Owen. It is usual for anyone who has attended  training to receive a certificate.
    You'll probably buy your hat through a saddlers, tack shop or riding school. Ask if the person fitting it has been trained.  Very often certificates are displayed. Remember your life may depend on having a properly fitted hat.
     A riding hat is lined with microscopic bubble wrap. When a hat hits the ground or a hard surface the bubbles burst absorbing the impact. The hard shell spreads the area of contact over a much larger load bearing area. Anyone who has ever played with bursting bubble wrap knows that once all the bubbles are burst it's no longer any good for its intended purpose. That's why a hat should be replaced after being dropped on the ground or following a blow to the head, especially if the wearer loses consciousness.
     Don't buy or use a second-hand hat  - you don't know its history.
     Look after your hat carefully. Don’t leave it on the back shelf of your car exposed to the sun during summer – excessive heat can damage it. Similarly, leave it in a warm, dry place overnight after riding. Don’t be tempted to dry it in front of a fire or on a radiator. To reduce the risk of rusting of the metal components don’t store it in a plastic bag before it is dry. he expected
     The expected life span of a hat for the average rider is five years.
Body Protectors
    Coming soon...
Boots
    Coming soon...
 
Protective equipment used in the workplace
    UK: Any personal protective equipment (PPE) used by staff in the workplace is subject to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations. The main requirement of the Regulations is that PPE is to be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. Examples of “PPE” include: riding helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and clothing affording protection against the weather.
Riding Out  
 

    Always wear a helmet

...it make sense to do so. Make sure it is fastened securely and meets current standards. For children under the age of 14 when riding on roads this is a legal requirement. 

    Always wear high visibility clothing

For both you and your horse. This will help drivers and pilots of low flying military aircraft see and avoid you. It can also help the emergency services locate you in the event of an accident. Consider a mix-and-match of pink and yellow that can help you be seen better in differing lighting and weather conditions. 

British Horse Society poster advises ‘Be Seen – Be Safe’

    Ride out with someone
...when possible.
    Tell someone where you are going
...and when you expect to be back.
    Carry a mobile phone
...switched to silent for outgoing emergency calls only.  Make sure you keep it on you and not in an attached saddle bag.  Think about keeping it away from your major bodily organs that your phone might damage in the event of an accident.
    Identify yourself
...consider carrying some form of personal information that can identify you in the event of an accident.  Include emergency contact numbers.  If you carry a mobile phone include in your contacts "ICE" - in case of emergency.  This can help the emergency services to quickly contact friends or relatives - but do let them know that you've stored their details as ICE1, ICE2 etc. for this purpose.
    Identify your horse
...consider getting an disc engraved with telephone contact details of your yard, yourself and your vet to attach to the D rings of your saddle. In the event of you getting separated from your horse these contact details will help a finder to make contact.  Remember to make sure that the contact numbers you give will always be answered promptly by someone who can take action. You can get engraved (large dog) discs from your vet.
    Avoid using roads where possible
    Always use approved routes
...only ride where you have been given permission or are legally entitled to do so.
    Follow the Highway Codehighway_code.jpg

An updated Highway Code was launched in September 2007.

The Official Highway Code is published by The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO) and is priced at 2.50. Copies are also available from High Street and online bookstores.  An adapted online version of the Code is also available.  There are rules that relate to horses and animals in the code but the British Horse Society has produced its own guide for the rules that specifically apply to horses. Further background information from the Department for Transport

    Consider taking the British Horse Society's Riding and Road Safety training

The BHS Riding and Road Safety Test is taken by over 4,000 candidates a year and helps to educate riders in road safety in order to minimise the risk involved when riding on the roads.

    Make sure that you're insured

...in case you or your horse cause damage or injury.  If you're a horse owner your insurance may already provide cover but do check. One of the benefits of BHS Gold Membership is that it provides up to 10 million Personal Liability Insurance Cover for all the horses you own, look after and ride.

    If you have an accident...

The BHS is working to improve horse and rider safety on the roads. Please help them by reporting any horse/rider related traffic accidents or near misses.


 

 

 
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