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Riding Safely

News for January & February 2005



A recently published HSE Research Report1 found that for many employers and employees the whole subject of health & safety was frighteningly complex and the legislation, regulations and requirements were often difficult to understand. In addition they were unhappy with the amount and type of information available and it was rarely tailored to their specific sectors, or occupations, and could be hard to find when needed.


Sentiments often echoed by many of the 6000 equine businesses that employ 54,300 people in the UK.


There is a general absence across the UK Horse Industry of tailored up-to-date pragmatic health & safety information that can be easily understood by both employers and employees.


With 70% of equine businesses employing 5 or fewer employees, equestrian associations and societies need to work with employers & employees to develop, agree and communicate industry-specific health & safety advice and guidance appropriate to the size of the businesses and promote common standards among their membership.


The Racing and Breeding Industry recently released Guidelines on Good Practice supported by a programme of UK wide training courses.


Other sectors of the industry still need to catch up.  This is an issue that must be addressed by the long term strategy for the Horse Industry.

1Obstacles preventing worker involvement in health and safety - Research Report 296


The tragic electrocution of two mares (see the "accidents" section below) highlights the importance of electrical safety.  It's essential that the permanent wiring in buildings, including sockets, switches and lights and portable electrical equipment such as clippers are regularly checked for visible signs of damage and periodically tested.


But a substantial increased level of protection against fatal electric shock and fire can be provided at modest cost by ensuring that the whole electrical system is protected by using a Residual Current Device (RCD).   

For further information see Electrical Safety and You



Defra - Draft Strategy launched for public consultation on the 28th February 2005.

The Government is working in partnership with the British Horse Industry Confederation to devise a long-term strategy for the industry in England and Wales. The aim of the strategy is for the horse industry to set out a vision of where it aspires to be in ten years, what actions are needed to achieve this, and how the Government can help it in following this path.


The draft strategy document was launched for public consultation on the 28th of February 2005. There will now be a three month public consultation period, ending on the 27th May 2005, during which Defra want everyone who is involved with horses in any way to give them their comments. The final strategy is expected to be published by the end of the year.

Read more >>>


The debate has already started on the Horse & Hound Forum



Low Flying Aircraft
"Stop Lowflying" website launched
The North Yorkshire rider who recently formed an action group in a bid to stop lowflying helicopters and jets spooking horses has now launched a "stop lowflying" website.

New Helicopter Hotline Goes Live

Following an announcement from Ivor Caplin, Under Secretary of State for Defence, a new freephone advisory service for members of the public enquiring about low flying military helicopter activity went live from Tuesday 1 March 2005.

Read further details on these stories >>> 


More from Horse & Hound and vote in the survey "Have you been involved in a low-flying incident while riding?"

Companies warned to bin mailshot from fake 'Health and Safety' agencies - January 2005

Companies and other organisations are urged to ignore information they receive from two firms purporting to regulate health and safety legislation.
HSE has received complaints from companies across the country that have been sent requests for payment in return for compliance with health and safety law.

Riding Safely is not aware of any equestrian businesses that have been approached but forewarned is forearmed!

Insurance Working Group Urges Better Record Keeping

The Equestrian Insurance Working Group which met in September 2004  has met again in January 2005 and put forward propoals to relieve the financial pressures caused by increasing insurance premiums to proprietors of equestrian establishments.


Better record keeping holds the key to keeping the lid on insurance premiums for riding establishments.”  This is the conclusion of the joint horse and insurance industries working group, set up to address the problem caused to many riding establishments by steep increases in insurance costs."

Read more on the proposals >>>


More from the BHS >>>



British Horse Society

Tell the BHS about roads

THE British Horse Society (BHS) is asking riders for information about slippery road surfaces. 

It hopes to gather evidence to put forward for a code of practice on surfacing, to be included in the Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance, to be published this spring. 

The BHS met the County Surveyors Society (CSS) to discuss mounting problems relating to slippery road surfaces, most of which appear to be Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA). The CSS represents all the Highway Authorities in England and Wales. 

Find the questionnaire on the BHS website  or send an SAE to: Slippery Surfaces, BHS Safety Dept, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warks CV82XZ.

Source:  Horse & Hound 6 January 2005

All Horse & Hound news items that are reproduced in this newsletter are done so with the permission of Horse & Hound.

British Horse Society Wales launches website

Horse lovers in Wales are now able to learn about equestrian news, information, and events from the comfort of their own homes – thanks to the launch of The British Horse Society Cymru website.

www.bhscymru.co.uk contains a mine of information on all aspects of the BHS in Wales, covering topics such as welfare, training, access and safety.

Read more from the BHS >>>


Child Protection

Instructor checks now Scottish law

Anyone working with children in Scotland must now be checked by law.

Read more >>>


Legal Cases
Claim risk for saddle fitters
LITIGATION against tack shops and saddle fitters could turn yet another sector of the equestrian insurance market into a minefield and hit small businesses with higher premiums.
Source:  Horse & Hound 6 January 2005

Pensioner fined in horse rage incident

A pensioner who carried out a road rage attack on two riders has been taken to court in what is thought to be the first prosecution of this kind in the UK.

Source:  Horse & Hound 24 February 2005

Former trainer sues for damages
A former racehorse trainer, who was paralysed after falling from a rearing horse, claims the horse's owners were negligent and is suing for more than 150,000 in compensation.


Arson youth to face Crown Court hearing

Following on from December......

MAGISTRATES have sent a 16-year-old boy to Crown Court to face charges that he set a stable on fire after hearing details of the case and seeing photographic evidence.

The 16-year-old is accused of playing with a box of matches inside a stable at Helsby, Cheshire (Horse & Hound news, 30 December).

Both defence and prosecution solicitors advised magistrates at Vale Royal Youth Court last week that the case could be adequately dealt with by the youth court.

But members of the bench said they felt their sentencing powers were insufficient to deal with the alleged offences.

Source:  Horse & Hound 14 January 2005

See also Riding Safely News November & December 2004




Four escaped horses die in car accident

THE poor state of the fencing at a BHS-approved riding centre is being blamed for an accident in which four horses were killed and a mother and her 10-year-old son were seriously injured.


Horse killed on B-road

A five-year-old Thoroughbred has been killed after a van collided with it and carried horse and rider 23 yards along the two-lane road.


Electrocution horror claims two mares 

THE Dublin show champion Dimmer Light has been killed with another mare in a freak electrical accident that also nearly claimed the life of their owner's mother.


Riding club secretary dies in dressage fall

A tragic accident during a schooling session has claimed the life of a Sussex riding teacher.


Read more about these accidents >>>



Looking Forward - Diary Dates
7 March 2005: BHS South West Proprietors Conference. Open to all BHS Approved and Non BHS Approved Riding Centres and Livery Yards. Talks on insurance, risk assessment, health and safety and more. To be held at East Huntspill Village Hall, Nr Bridgwater, Somerset. (approx 3 miles Junction 22 of M5). To cost BHS Proprietors & Staff 10, Non Approved BHS Proprietors & Staff 15. For further information contact Mrs Julie Garbutt, Tel: 01278 641758, email: J.Garbutt@bhs.org.uk
If you know of any forthcoming equestrian safety related events please contact Riding Safely
Riding Safely is being continuously updated and the newsletter is sent to subscribers every two months.
Riding Safely can keep you updated of forthcoming equestrian events that have safety related content.  If you're interested  then contact Riding Safely and you'll be kept updated.


BETA's Body Protector Survey Continues......

If you own a body protector then BETA (the British Equestrian Trade Association) want to hear from you!  

BETA are still conducting a survey to obtain information regarding the use and effectiveness of body protectors which in turn will be used to assist their continued development and promotion.

Help now by getting more details from BETA and take part in the survey


Responses to the BETA survey have already highlighted body protector issues - read the interim report from BETA


and what's new on the site....

Safety Tip.....
Organising a show? The BSJA risk assessment may provide some help in providing you with ideas for your risk assessment.
But remember that it may cover some hazards you do not have to deal with and not mention some you do.  Even where the hazards are the same, with your own show, the controls you adopt may need to be different.
You will have to take your own 5 steps when carrying out your own risk assessment.

Site Updates...... 
The "For Businesses" section suggests that businesses check out the 10 actions small businesses must take to ensure they meet health and safety law.
Riding Safely launches a Forum where you can ask a question or share your experiences and knowledge.  You can also comment about any of the items in this edition of the News digest. 
A Search facility has been added to help you find information quickly and easily from the Riding Safely website.

Visit all of the News Archive >>>>>

If you have any safety related equestrian Press Releases or News stories then please

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