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Riding Safely

News for July & August 2007

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   The UK's only Equestrian Safety Newsletter
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In this Edition...

   Be prepared...

   Use your head...

   Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) 

   Summer floods 

   Australian Equine Influenza outbreak

   Horse Strategy Action Plan update presented at 2007 NEF

   New Criteria for Safer Cross Country Jumping

   Eventer killed at horse trials in Germany

   Teenage event rider killed in rotational fall

   BE to pull plug on sub-standard events

   Eventing safety group meet in London

   New Australian research on falls and injuries in eventing

   BHS petition calls for bigger say for equestrians in access law-making

   BHS Riding and Road Safety Test achieves QCA Accreditation

   New Highway Code confuses horse riders

   BHS access officers save Lincolnshire route

   Highways Agency targets ragwort near pasture

   Grant for disabled riders

   Horse stabbed to death in barn

   Second Dorset horse death with suspected knife wounds

   Fury as horses released on to road

   Horse cruelty cases rise by 33%

   Ragwort epidemic sweeps the country

   Strangles survey reveals spread and ignorance of disease

   Longer insurance for long-in-the-tooth horses

   Fire Kills 44 Horses

   Horses die in stable fire

   Suspected arson attack at stables in Coventry

   Woman dies after being kicked in the show ring

   Horse put down after road smash

   Driver hurt after van collides with horse

   Queen's former horse rescued  

   Fire crew saved my horse’s life

   Drivers warned to check horsebox floors

   How safe is your lorry flooring?

   Rider hurt in fall from 'Ferrari' horse loses 30,000 action
   Couple lose appeal over pony fall
   Action underway to amend Animals Act

   Appeal against ban on keeping horses quashed

   Horse riders set to sue over RAF jet injuries

   Record fine for illegal shoeing

   'Madman on horse' gets two years' probation

   Smokefree England

   241 lives lost is unacceptable

   Myth of the Month

   New Minister for the Horse

   New Chairman for the British Horse Industry Confederation

   New Chief Executive for the International League for the Protection of Horses

   The British Horseracing Authority takes over

   Racing stable safety a priority - $500,000 StableSafe initiative launched in Victoria 

   Synthetic surfaces have helped decrease horse racing deaths

   BHS Safety Conference  – 15 September 2007

   BHS embraces equine facilitated learning - 17 September 2007

   National Riding Festival 2007

   BBC Programme investigates horse related accidents - 10 October 2007

   ABRS AGM and Conference – 15 October 2007

   BETA Conference & Autumn Exhibition – 14 & 15 October 2007

   Breaking the Strangles Hold - campaign update

   ILPH tackles obesity in horses

   BETA's Body Protector Survey Continues...

   The British Grooms Association


   Training Resources

   Sources of Help

   Gloom lifts for riding schools 

   Air Ambulance service for Hampshire and Isle of Wight

   Horse & Country TV launches on Sky on 2 July

   TV series highlights work of ILPH

   57% in survey admit to have ridden without a hat

   Horse rides to rescue as owner attacked in field by raging cow

Be prepared...

What's the link between the introduction of new legislation, the recent floods and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease?  Simple; over July and August we saw all three.  We also saw a horse industry that was ill-prepared to respond centrally, or to provide any guidance or help. 

On the 1st of July a new law was introduced to make virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England smoke-free.  But there is inconsistency in how the law is being interpreted by local authorities - one council insisted that "no smoking" signs be placed on every stable door.  We shouldn't have this nonsense; the horse industry must ensure that it's involved with the proposals and consultation for new legislation, so that any new laws can be sensibly and uniformly implemented across all equestrian businesses.  The Smoke-free Regulations shouldn't be open to interpretation - for equestrian businesses, one size should fit all. 

It's unlikely that anyone could have foreseen the severity of the flooding suffered by so many in July and August.  The only organisation formally to offer help - by telephone - was the British Horse Society.  As this edition of Riding Safely is published, there is still no definitive guidance available for horse owners and equestrian businesses - although it is understood that Defra may have something in the pipeline.  It's a sad fact, but we are beginning to see the effects of climate change, and flooding is likely to recur in the future.

Amidst the astonishing scale of the biosecurity lapse at Pirbright, horse owners, equestrian businesses and industry organisations reacted responsibly in trying to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease.  But the outbreak caused considerable panic, confusion and disruption to the equestrian community.  "Where can we ride?", “Can we go to shows?", "Should we hold our show?” were some of the questions asked, often with inconsistent answers being provided by Defra. In fact the general consistency, quality and level of information provided to horse owners by Defra in the early stages was undeniably poor.  Various horse organisations provided what information they could - British Eventing were particularly good - but again, the horse industry was ill-prepared to respond centrally.  Subsequently, the British Horse Industry Confederation has made a request that the horse industry be represented on the Exotic Animal Diseases stakeholders group. 

But while it's easy to make Defra the whipping boy for the inadequacy of providing and communicating information, the horse industry must also shoulder some responsibility.  The last outbreak of FMD was in 2001.  Good quality information was provided for horse owners at the time.   Much of that information is still available on the internet today.  Most of the information hasn't changed, but why wasn't it published for quick and easy access during this outbreak?  Bearing in mind the financial cost to the equestrian community of this latest episode, shouldn't the horse industry have ensured that it was there? The Exotic Animal Diseases Contingency Plan (which includes FMD) is up for annual review, with over 150 equestrian organisations being invited to comment.  Let's hope they look deeply to make sure that there is provision within the plan to provide adequate information in a timely manner to all interested parties. 

These may seem harsh words for an industry that is now beginning to work well together.  In partnership it is tackling and solving problems.  One need look no further than the recently launched Emergency Services Protocol - guidelines to help the emergency services cope better with equine incidents and ensure that any horse involved in an accident receives proper care as quickly as possible.  After many years of fragmentation, the industry, partnered by Defra, also deserves credit for developing and implementing longer-term strategies.  But perhaps now it’s time to shift its focus temporarily to identifying and mitigating the threats -- those shorter-term risks (such as flooding and FMD) -- that might adversely impact heavily on the health, safety and welfare of people, and horses, and ultimately, the future sustainability of all equestrian businesses.  Maybe it's time now for the industry to be better prepared...


Ken Law





Your Right of Reply.....

You can comment about any of the items in this edition of the News digest in the Forum or or by contacting the Editor at editor.ridingsafelyuk@yahoo.co.uk

A typical headlight

Use your head...

With darker mornings and evenings now upon us, there might be in the odd occasion when you need to use a torch around the yard.

The problem:  Hand-held torches aren’t always suitable as many yard activities require both hands and trying to hold a torch at the same is sometimes just asking for problems. 

The Solution:  Enter the headlight!  Readily available, they are small, lightweight, bright, robust and offer good battery life. 

What to look for:  Look for ones that use LED’s, these are solid state bulbs, and unlike the normal filament bulbs, aren't susceptible to breaking if the headlight is dropped and should never need replacing.  Also choose a headlamp that has just one or two high powered LED’s, preferably with a lens in front of them.  You'll usually find these to be much brighter than those offering sometimes up to 12 LED’s.  Being able to get batteries easily is important, so choose one where you can pick up batteries at any shop.  Typically these will be AAA batteries. 

Expect to pay: around 10 - 15.

But remember:  Headlamps around the yard should be used on the odd occasions.  If you're using one a lot, then you need to ask yourself if you need additional fixed mains lighting.  But they are great for keeping in your pocket for the odd occasions and worth their weight in gold if you ever have a power cut.


Your Concerns
What are the health & safety issues that concern you most?  List them in the Forum or by contacting the Editor at editor.ridingsafelyuk@yahoo.co.uk

The current situation

The situation regarding FMD is constantly changing. It’s recommended that you visit the Defra website at regular intervals to get the most up to date information >>> http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/fmd/latest-situation/index.htm 

Guidance for Horse Owners 

There is a guidance for horse owners at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/fmd/rural/horses.htm


Explananation of the Zones

        Protection Zones are declared in the vicinity (a radius of at least three kilometres) of an infected premises — usually, a farm where diseased livestock have been found.

        Surveillance Zones are declared in the vicinity (a radius of at least ten kilometres, but outside the Protection Zone) of an infected premises.

        Outside of any Protection Zones and Surveillance Zone, some activities are also prohibited in a Restricted Zone. During an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the whole of Great Britain is likely to be declared a Restricted Zone.


About Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is an infectious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, in particular cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer. The disease is serious for animal health and for the economics of the livestock industry. While FMD is not normally fatal to adult animals, it is debilitating and causes significant loss of productivity; for example milk yields may drop or the animals may become lame. In young animals it can be fatal on a large scale.

More information from Defra at:  http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/fmd/about/index.htm


The first outbreak

On Friday 3rd August, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) was confirmed on a beef farm near Guildford, in Surrey.

In accordance with the legislation and contingency planning arrangements all the cattle on the premises were culled. A Protection Zone of three kilometres radius and a Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres was placed around the premises, and a GB wide national movement ban of all ruminants and pigs was imposed.

Nationally no animal movements were allowed except under licence, controls were put in place on movement of animal carcasses, animal gatherings, shearing and dipping were restricted, and all farms were required to increase levels of biosecurity.

In both the Protection and Surveillance Zones, there were requirements for increased levels of biosecurity on farms, movement controls, controls on transportation of dung/manure and treatment of animal products to ensure the destruction of the FMD virus. 


7th September – Foot and Mouth Disease “Eradicated”

The Chief Veterinary Officer, Debby Reynolds, announced on the 7th of September that she was satisfied that Foot and Mouth Disease had been eradicated from Surrey.

Following the completion of the clinical inspection of livestock within the Surveillance Zone (SZ), and the results of the blood samples which all proved negative, the 10km SZ around the Infected Premises in Surrey was lifted at noon on Saturday 8 September. This was the earliest that could be done under European disease legislation.

The restrictions outside the Surveillance Zone, were also lifted at the same time. This included the 20-day standstill for livestock following movement and additional controls on livestock market and shows.


The second outbreak

On the 12th of September, Foot and Mouth Disease was confirmed at a farm in Surrey. The farm comprised of a number of separate parcels of land: a single Protection Zone was put in place extending 3 kilometres around each of them, with a Surveillance Zone of 10 kilometres radius beyond that. Footpaths were closed in the Protection Zone. Cattle on the affected farm were culled, together with animals on an adjacent farm.

A national movement ban - affecting cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants - was imposed throughout England, and parallel arrangements were made by the Scottish and Welsh administrations. No movements of susceptible animals were allowed except under licence; some licences were made available, however licence conditions varied between England, Scotland and Wales. All farms - particularly those in the Protection and Surveillance Zones – were required to implement increased biosecurity.


Health and Safety Executive - Final report

Read the Health and Safety Executive’s Final report on potential breaches of bio security at the Pirbright site 2007 at  http://www.hse.gov.uk/news/archive/07aug/finalreport.pdf


“Consult us” over diseases says industry

The horse industry is lobbying Defra to be more centrally involved during rural disease outbreaks.  Many riders were frustrated with inconsistent information given during the recent foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak, when the government was criticised for treating horse owners as an “afterthought”.

Graham Cory, chairman of the British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC), told Horse & Hound: “Defra issued the guidelines for horses two or three weeks after the first case of FMD.  It was clear they did not consider horse owners important.  It is essential that we are not considered an afterthought.”  He added: “hopefully FMD is passing, but next week or next month it could be West Nile virus or blue tongue.  Horse owners want to be responsible and need guidance - maybe we can help.” 

Mr Cory has written to Defra chief vet officer Debby Reynolds, asking for the horse industry to be represented.  He added: “We're not asking for special treatment, but we should be in the core stakeholder group.”  This group consists of representatives from the Livestock Auctioneers Association, National Beef Association, British Veterinary Association, National Farmers Union, National Sheep Association, British Pig Executive and British Meat Processors Association.

Source:  Horse & Hound Magazine (30 August 2007)


Consultation on 2007 Annual Review of Defra’s Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases (including Foot and Mouth Disease)

Defra is inviting comments on the 2007 version of its Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases.

The plan covers arrangements for response to an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Avian Influenza (AI), Newcastle Disease (ND), Classical Swine Fever (CSF), African Swine Fever (ASF), Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD), Rabies, Bluetongue (BT), and certain specified types of equine exotic diseases (e.g. Glanders, Dourine, Infectious Anaemia and Equine encephalitis / encephalomyelitis of all types including West Nile Virus).

Over 150 equestrian related organisations have been invited to comment on the plan (see the list of consultees).  However this is a public consultation and any organisation or individual may comment on the plan.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 11 October 2007.

More details from Defra at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/animaldisease-plan2007/index.htm


Riding Safely Special Feature - Flooding – what can you do?

Heavy rain and flash flooding in June and July left some equestrian properties under several feet of water.  Horse owners and staff were faced with the problem of evacuating horses, often under difficult conditions.  The subsequent clean-up and repair operation for many still continues. 

Reports on flooding

Livery yard owner saves horses from floods

Source:  Horse & Hound (27 June 2007) 

Floods hit the horse world

Source:  Horse & Hound (5 July 2007) 

No maintenance to blame 

Source:  Farmers Guardian (20 July 2007)

Lambourn stables evacuated

Source:  BBC Berkshire (23 July 2007)

Horses “submerged up to necks” rescued from stables

Source:  Horse & Hound (24 July 2007)

Horses given house room as village becomes an island

Source: Guardian Unlimited (26 July 2007)

'Put health and safety first' following floods

Source:  Norwich Union Risk Services (26 July 2007)

Following the July floods, it appears that the only equestrian organisation formally to offer advice, via a telephone helpline, was the British Horse Society.

Can we be better prepared in the future?

For those householders, businesses and horse owners still recovering from the floods, information about what to do before, during and after a flood will come as little comfort.

The Environment Agency estimates that there are around 5 million people in the UK who are at risk of flooding.

The UK already has a substantial number of websites containing a considerable number of pages of help and advice about flooding.  But with so much information available it’s the usual problem of knowing where to look to find the information that is going to be most helpful to you.  Let’s face it, many horse owners and those running equestrian businesses don’t have the time, and sometimes the will, to spend hours searching for that information.  With that in mind Riding Safely has cherry-picked the sites to help you to prepare for and recover from flooding, if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer.

Business Link and the Environment Agency already provide general information and advice on how to prepare and protect your business.  But although the information is good enough to form a basis for action, it’s simply not sufficient for the horse industry.  So, with a lack of targeted information for horse owners and equestrian businesses in the UK, Riding Safely has begun to look at how we all might be better prepared in the event of future floods.

So is there any information available specifically to help the equestrian community?

Riding Safely couldn’t find any published information in the UK specifically aimed to help equestrian businesses and horse owners faced with the prospect of flooding.  But comprehensive information likely to help is at hand from Australia and America and could be a starting point for those living in UK flood risk areas when making their plans.

Do I have any legal responsibilities in the event of a flood?

Yes.  Defra’s guidance, Animal welfare and flooding emergencies, explains the legal responsibilities of anyone who keeps an animal during a flood:

 “Under the law an animal keeper has a duty of care to his animals and is required to take reasonable steps to protect their welfare and prevent suffering.  Farmers are expected to take reasonable steps to address animal welfare contingency planning as part of their farm business planning where it is known or could be anticipated that land may be at risk from flooding. In sudden severe rainfall, sufficient warning of flooding may be impossible and ad hoc action will have to be taken.

As a general principle, animals must not be left in circumstances where they are likely to suffer.  In an emergency Defra and others will do what they can to provide advice, and to facilitate means to prevent or alleviate the suffering of animals.  However the legal responsibility is with the animal’s owner/keeper.”

Although the guidance mentions "farmers and farm business" it equally applies to the equestrian community and we can easily use the words "proprietors/horse owners and equestrian business".

In addition if you run a business you have a legal responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of your employees and any visitors.  If you identify that you are located in a flood area you are required to assess and mitigate the risks as far as possible, and to train your staff in what do to in a flood emergency situation – just as you already do with your fire precautions.

What should I do before a flood?

Firstly, it's important to establish whether you are at risk from flooding. 

Business Link provides a step-by-step guide on how to assess the risk of flooding by using the Environment Agency flood map, and if you are risk, how to develop a flood plan and train employees.  Rehearse your plan as far and safely as you can (without evacuating the horses) to see if it will work in practice.

If you are in a flood risk area, get advice on whether you can minimise the damage to your premises from flooding by putting in place preventative, cost-effective measures.

Even if you are not yourself at risk from flooding, but live in an area where flooding is a possibility, you should consider what you would do if local roads became impassable and you couldn’t get supplies, or if you lost your water or power supply.

Take note of severe weather warnings and warnings of potential floods given through the media, particularly local radio and television.  If you are concerned, phone the Environment Agency's Floodline on 0845 988 1188.  Find out if you can register for Floodline Warnings Direct, a free service which provides flood warnings direct to you by telephone, mobile, fax or pager.  You can also get information on current flood warnings from the Environment Agency's website.  Emergency response to events will be led by the police alongside the other emergency services (ambulance and fire) and in liaison with local authorities and the Environment Agency. At the national level, Defra has the lead Departmental role in planning for flood emergencies.

Be prepared to implement your plan if necessary.

What should I do during the flood?

Don’t Panic!  Easy to say, but more difficult to do, as the flood waters rise.  Put your plan into action and make sure everyone sticks to it.  The health, safety and welfare of the people around you must be your prime concern.  An injured person is of no use to a horse that is reliant upon them for their welfare.  By having a good, well-tested plan, you should be able to minimise the risks to both people and horses.  But even with the best preparations, it’s not always possible to foresee everything that might happen, and situations can change.   If you do have to deviate from any part of your plan, then reassess the risks involved, ensure they are acceptable, and minimise them as far as possible.  This of course, out of necessity, is going to be a quick mental “on the hoof” assessment, so quickly run it past everyone involved to get any valuable input and ensure that they are up to speed with, and know what to do as a result of, the changes.  Don’t underestimate the importance of this step.  It’s going to be a stressful time, but most serious accidents and injuries happen when there is a sudden change to a planned activity and the impact of the change hasn’t been reassessed; or, even if it has been, the changes and measures to ensure health, safety and welfare haven’t been communicated to everyone involved.

The National Farmers Union provides “during and after” information which may also be useful to the equestrian community. 

And after?

If your premises have been affected by flooding, you’ll have a big clean-up job to do to get them back to normal. You’ll need to make sure that you have all the right information to deal with any insurance claim, and that you can deal with the health, safety and welfare issues to ensure you're not putting yourself or anyone else at risk.  

A general starting point is the Environment Agency – After a Flood.  The National Farmers Union (NFU) advises caution in the aftermath:  “Water damage has many hidden dangers and those starting on the long road to recovery must be aware of the health and safety risks involved in clearing up after the floods.”   The Electrical Safety Council offers essential electrical safety advice to those affected by flood damage, Business Link provides businesses with local help and advice, and The Association of British Insurers (ABI) provides advice on insurance issues.  

Check out the help that Business Link can provide in your area (see examples from the West Midlands and Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire).

From experience, you'll know whether your plan worked or not.  It's important to review it:  what went well, what didn't go so well, what might you do differently in future?  In the midst of a cleanup, reviewing the plan isn't likely to be a high priority.  But while you might not have time to conduct a formal review, it's important to address the basics of “what didn't go so well and what you might do differently in future”, just in case you're unfortunate enough to suffer from flooding again in a short timescale.  In the fullness of time, formally review the plan, and make sure that anyone who needs to know about it (including any new staff), does.

What about lessons learned?

On the 8th of August, the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn announced that there would be a review of the lessons learned from the recent floods.

The Lessons Learned Review, being carried out by the Cabinet Office with support from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will examine both how to reduce the risk and impact of floods, and the emergency response to the floods in June and July. It is seeking views from those involved, including affected residents, the emergency services, and business and professional associations.

Sir Michael Pitt, the independent Chair overseeing the government's review, is calling on those affected to log on to the Flooding Lessons Learned Review website and share their experiences.

It’s important that any equestrian business or horse owner affected feed back into the review either through their organisation or directly through the flood review website.

What does the future hold?

Met Office figures have revealed that this summer might have been the wettest since UK rainfall records began in 1914. Provisional rainfall figures (up to 28th August) show the UK as a whole had 358.5mm of rain, just beating the previous record of 358.4mm in 1956.   Although very wet, the UK has experienced average temperatures of 14.1 C.

According to a team of scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, rising carbon dioxide levels will increase river levels in the future.  The study’s findings suggest that increasing carbon dioxide will cause plants to extract less water from the soil, leaving more water to drain into rivers, which will add to the river flow increases already expected because of climate change. Dr Richard Betts who led the study said “It's a double-edged sword; it means that increases in drought due to climate change could be less severe as plants lose less water. On the other hand, if the land is saturated more often, you might expect that intense rainfall events are more likely to cause flooding".

Hopefully, the outcome of the Lessons Learned Review will be to determine and implement measures that will reduce the risk of future flooding on the scale that we have seen during June and July.

However, given this flooding, the likelihood is that we may see similar flooding in years to come and there is the potential for equestrian premises not affected this time to suffer in the future.


The information from Australia and America on flooding will certainly help those preparing risk plans in the UK.  The message is that if you live in a flood risk area, be prepared.  Think about how horse owners and equestrian businesses in your area may be able to help and support each other in times of flooding.

It may be time for Defra, in partnership with the horse industry and other associated support industries, to produce definitive UK guidance for horse owners and equestrian businesses on what to do before, during and after a flood.      

If you wish to comment on this feature then please contact editor@ridingsafely.net


Gathering and distributing information
Horse industry liaison officer, Rod Hoare
Horse industry liaison officer, Rod Hoare, maps hotspots with NSW DPI Sara Robson

An outbreak of equine influenza was discovered at the Centennial Park stables in Sydney on the 24th of August.  It is thought to be the first time equine influenza has been found in Australia. 

It has led to a complete standstill on horse movements across New South Wales and has had a devastating effect on the racing industry. The horse industry contributes $6.3 billion annually the Australian economy highlighting the importance of controlling the outbreak.

Its spread has been attributed partly to a lack of vaccination and partly to a lack of natural immunity in horses against the disease.  

At the 31st of August there were: 500 horses infected with equine influenza across NSW; 53 known infected properties across NSW; another 2,335 horses were suspected of having equine Influenza on 213 properties and a total of eight out of ten thoroughbreds from a stable at Randwick Racecourse tested positive to equine influenza.

The situation is changing frequently– for the latest information go to:

National pests & disease outbreaks website (The website was developed collaboratively across State & Territory and Australian Government agricultural agencies to provide a single, user-friendly website through which stakeholders can find access to local, state and national information in relation to Australian responses to current outbreaks of animal and plant pests and diseases.) 

The Equestrian Federation of Australia website

The Australian Horse Council website (where you can also register on the Horse Emergency Contact Database (HECD) to receive updates by email.

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries recommend that you stay up to date on the epidemic by regularly visiting (each day at least) the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.

Additional information 

$4 million for Equine Influenza fund

The Australian Government has established a $4 million fund to provide emergency grants to individuals suffering financial difficulty as a result of the Equine Influenza (EI) outbreak.


International Collating Centre provides updates

The international Collating Centre  provided a further interim report (5) based on information submitted by the Australian Government on 31 August.  This report is based on information from state agencies at the time, and may not reflect the current situation, given the rate at which events are unfolding (Check for further updates >>> ).  Read the full report at: http://www.aht.org.uk/icc/Interim_Report5_august2007.html

The chart below is taken from the report and shows how the numbers of infected premises has increased.


Issued at 4.30 PM 30 August 2007
The accumulated number of infected premises (IPs)
The accumulated number of infected premises (IPs) by date

What about the UK?

In the UK it is recommended to have horses routinely vaccinated against tetanus, equine influenza and ideally equine herpes virus. Many equestrian organisations insist that horses hold current vaccination cards showing continuous cover and vaccination against influenza which is now mandatory for all horses using racecourse premises.

The DEFRA/AHT/BEVA Equine Quarterly Disease Surveillance Reports  for the period January 2006 – March 2007 recorded 13 cases at 6 locations.  Nearly all the cases related to imported horses with unknown vaccination status, some of which then went on to infect other unvaccinated horses.

A recent Horse and Hound poll  found that 86% of those who responded had their horses vaccinated against equine flu (sample size 103).

In a news update on equine influenza, the Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic (Kent, UK) reported:

“A recent letter to the Veterinary Record (June 16, 2007) from staff at the Animal Health Trust (AHT) reports several concurrent positive diagnoses of equine influenza virus infection that have been made lately among horses in different parts of England. “Four foci of infection in the Midlands, Kent and Hampshire have been identified since the end of May by the laboratories of the AHT” according to this letter, which also highlights that “in all four outbreaks to date the index cases have been animals that have been recently imported into the country, having been bought at a horse sale in County Kilkenny in the Republic of Ireland. All these horses were reported to be either non-vaccinated or of unknown vaccination status, and there is some evidence emerging of onward transmission to non-vaccinated contacts on some of the affected premises”.

Every now and then an outbreak of equine influenza like this occurs. It is a greater risk as horses travel internationally more , but there have frequently been seasonal flare ups with increased mixing at shows in the summer months and sales in all times of year. It highlights the need for regular vigilance and flu vaccination. Vaccinated horses may show signs but these are usually milder than those experienced by unvaccinated horses. The reason that vaccines do not always provide 100% protection is due to the fact that the virus can change slightly with time and different strains develop. The vaccines are regularly updated in order to provide maximum protection.” Read more from the update at: http://www.bellequine.com/latestnewsfrombe.php 


Further Information:

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) runs a website dedicated to equine influenza surveillance - EquiFluNet


See also: The AHT Equine Influenza Virus Programme



Horse Strategy Action Plan update presented at 2007 NEF

A comprehensive update of the joint Government/British Horse Industry Confederation Horse Industry Strategy Action Plan was presented by Graham Cory, the BHIC's Chairman at the National Equine Forum 2007.

Source:  British Horse Industry Confederation http://www.bhic.co.uk/about/pressarchive/news.php?18

Related Information

Find out more about the strategy at http://www.ridingsafely.net/strategy.html


New Criteria for Safer Cross Country Jumping

On August 20th 2007, British Eventing will introduce a new regulation relating to the type of red and white jump flags and poles used to indicate direction on cross country fences. In order to reduce the risk of injury to horse or rider all flags and flagpoles on certain fence types must meet four criteria based on construction, material, design, and how the flags are secured to the fence. A number of manufacturers currently supply flags which meet the criteria and British Eventing will keep a list to help Event Organisers source the required flags.

Read more from British Eventing (26th July 2007)


Eventer killed at horse trials in Germany

Professional event rider Tina Richter-Vietor, 32, died at Schenefeld Horse Trials in Germany on Saturday (4 August) after she was thrown from her horse during the cross-country phase.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (6 August, 2007) at:  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/391/135159.html


Teenage event rider killed in rotational fall

Another event rider's life has been claimed in a rotational fall.

The latest fatality occurred at a two-star competition at the Swedish venue of Bollnas last Saturday (21 July). The rider, 19-year-old Elin Stalberg, fell three from home.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (25 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/391/131947.html


BE to pull plug on sub-standard events

British Eventing (BE) will cancel events that fail to come up to standard in the future, sport director Mike Etherington-Smith said at a seminar before the Event Horse Owners' Association (EHOA) AGM in London on Wednesday 4 July 2007.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (15 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=129158&cid=397


Eventing safety group meet in London

A group set up to scrutinise the safety of eventing met in London recently.

German team trainer Chris Bartle, British eventing team trainer Yogi Breisner, Olympic event rider Andrew Nicholson, French safety expert Laurent Bousquet and course-designer Mike Tucker met on 18 June.  The group is chaired by US rider and course-designer David O'Connor and forms the International Equestrian Federation's safety sub-committee.

Read more about the group from Horse & Hound Online (29 June 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/article.php?aid=126805


Related British Eventing information

Find out about British Eventing’s safety initiatives, safety pages, frangible pins and much more at http://www.britisheventing.com/page.asp?section=0001000100020022&itemTitle=Safety


New Australian research on falls and injuries in eventing

A report on a five-year research project into falls and injuries in Australian eventing will shortly be published.

The leaders of the research, Raymond Cripps and Denzil O'Brien are based in the Research Centre for Injury Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.

They are currently in the process of writing their final report on a five-year project, in which information about (nearly) all cross-country falls around Australia (a total of 1732 known falls) was collected  and followed up directly with riders with a comprehensive questionnaire.   This information was then used to calculate the rate of falls, and the risk of falls, and to comment on a variety of aspects of the sport, such as the use of body protectors, and riders' perceptions of their usefulness; the incidence of equipment failure contributing to a fall; riders' perceptions on the causes of their fall; and the incidence of falls at particular fence types.

This research was undertaken with the support and cooperation of the national equestrian body, the Equestrian Federation of Australia.

Until publication of the final report an interim report published in 2004 is available on the web at no charge, from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation at

Riding Safely is maintaining contact with the research team and will bring you further details once the report is published.


BHS petition calls for bigger say for equestrians in access law-making (24 August 2007)

The British Horse Society is calling on all equestrians to sign a petition asking the Government to give them a say in all new access and rights of way legislation.

The BHS Access Department and its regional access and bridleway officers would like riders and other horse lovers to sign the petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Equestrianaccess/ - Deadline to sign up by: 23 March 2008.

Equestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and need increased off-road access for their safety and the welfare of their horses. Horse riding and driving provides healthy outdoor exercise, which the Government is keen to encourage.

It is enjoyed by more than four million people in the UK and is the second biggest land-based industry, but equestrians have not been included in recent access-creating legislation which would help make them safer and encourage healthy outdoor recreation.

Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, said: "It is vital that we use all means available to impress on the Government that equestrians need more and safer access. E-petitions are one way of showing the demand, along with writing to our MPs."

The recent petition calling for amendments to the equestrian sections of the Highway Code attracted just under 20,000 signatures, showing the amount of concern there was in the equestrian community. 

For further information, please contact: Mark Weston, Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, The British Horse Society, on 01926 707760 or mark.weston@bhs.org.uk



BHS Riding and Road Safety Test achieves QCA Accreditation

The British Horse Society's Riding and Road Safety Test has gained accreditation from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). 

The test has evolved over 25 years as the Society has worked tirelessly to ensure that riders are educated in the safest way to ride out on the roads. 

It is a major step for the Riding and Road Safety Test to become part of the National Qualification Framework (NQF). It makes funding more accessible to trainers and demonstrates to the regulators that our test complies with their rigorous and stringent quality assurance assessment and process. 

Sheila Hardy, BHS Safety Senior Executive, said: "We are delighted to have gained accreditation for the Riding and Road Safety Test from this regulatory body.  It demonstrates how robust the test is and just how far the Society has come in providing road safety training for equestrians."

Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, said: "The Riding and Road Safety team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the test keeps pace with the continuous changes in road conditions and safety legislation, and we are grateful for the continued support we receive from all those involved with safer riding on the roads.

"This success means the Riding and Road Safety Test will now be listed on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications and receive kudos from the regulatory body."

Source:  BHS - 21 August 2007


New Highway Code confuses horse riders

Riders are being reassured that they will still be able to ride two abreast, despite imminent changes to the Highway Code.

The amended code, which is due to be published in the autumn, has worried many in the equestrian community, largely due to the fact that it seemingly forbids riding two abreast.

But a later rule in the new code refers to the need sometimes to ride two abreast, and government spokesmen have reiterated the fact that the Highway Code is advisory, rather than legally enforceable.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (20 July 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=130594&cid=397


See also - The Association of British Drivers is supporting a call by the British Horse Society for a proposed amendment to the Highway Code to be reconsidered (18 July 2007) at http://www.abd.org.uk/pr/570.htm


BHS access officers save Lincolnshire route

The British Horse Society's access staff and volunteers are celebrating a success as a recent planning decision at Fosdyke Bridge, near Boston, Lincolnshire means riders are able to continue to use a bridleway safely.

Boston Borough Council rejected a planning application for construction of an industrial building for general use, storage and distribution beside the A17 to King's Lynn at Fosdyke Bridge, where two bridleways cross this extremely busy road. 

Horse riders feared inevitable accidents if forced to share a narrow access point with goods vehicles where there is poor visibility for everyone entering and leaving the area.  Thanks to the dedication of BHS volunteers and staff, this was one of several reasons why Boston Borough Council rejected permission for further developments.

Earlier in the year conditions protecting the bridleway were imposed when change of use was applied for on land the other side of the bridleway, which shared the same access to the A17.

The bridleway links to parts of The British Horse Society's National Bridleroute Network and the Society will continue to campaign for a Pegasus crossing, so riders and other users may cross the A17 safely.

BHS Access Senior Executive, Henry Whittaker, said: "This is an important victory for riders in Lincolnshire. I would like to thank our dedicated volunteers who have worked on this case, and the Borough Council for recognising the importance of this route."

Source: BHS - 31 July 2007


Highways Agency targets ragwort near pasture

The Highways Agency has pledged to focus its ragwort elimination programme on the verges of motorways and trunk roads that are close to grazing animals.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (17 July 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=129789&cid=397


Related Campaign

Department for Transport - THINK! - watch out for horses 

There are around 149 accidents involving horses on our roads every year, resulting on average in two deaths and 130 injuries to riders.

THINK! has teamed up with the British Horse Society to produce two TV and radio adverts that warn drivers how to avoid accidents when confronted with horses on the road.

More details from:  http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/campaigns/horsesense/horsesense.htm

Grant for disabled riders

People at a special learning learning centre can get into the saddle or take a trip in a horse cart thanks to a 65,000 grant for an Olympic size riding area.

Stanmore-based children and families centre Ravenswood Village has been given the grant by The Petplan Charitable Trust to build an all-weather outdoor riding area for the people of Ravenswood Village.

Read more from the Harrow Times (31 July) at http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.1585024.0.grant_for_disabled_riders.php

Related information

Ravenswood Village http://www.norwood.org.uk/services_ravenswood.htm

Petplan Charitable Trust  http://www.petplanequine.co.uk/about/petplan_charitable_trust.asp


Horse stabbed to death in barn

Police are appealing for witnesses after a horse was stabbed to death between 9:30pm Friday 13 July and 8:30am the following day in Chesterton, near Newcastle-Under-Lyme in Staffordshire.

If you have any information, call the RSPCA (tel: 0870 5555 999) or Staffordshire Police (tel: 08453 302010).

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (24 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=131485&cid=397


Second Dorset horse death with suspected knife wounds

Police in Dorset are advising horse owners in the area to be vigilant after a mare in foal was found dead on 4 July with her ear cut off and part of her face cut away.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (5 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=127888&cid=397


Fury as horses released on to road

YOBS armed with wire-cutters stampeded terrified horses out of a field to run the gauntlet of cars on a dimly-lit Nuneaton road.

Then, according to the woman who looks after the horses, the vandals stood back "and waited for the carnage".

The incident, which left one horse injured, has sickened staff at the North Warwickshire Equestrian Centre, at Galley Common, which doubles up as a base for the Riding for the Disabled charity, offering lessons to blind, partially-sighted and disabled youngsters.

Anyone with information is asked to phone Nuneaton police on 024 7664 1111.

Read more from icCoventry (Jul 27 2007)


Horse cruelty cases rise by 33%

New RSPCA figures published on 1 August 2007, show that while the numbers of cruelty cases against dogs and cats have fallen in the past year, there has been a dramatic increase in reported cases involving horses and ponies.

Read more from this is cornwall.co.uk (1 August 2007)


Ragwort epidemic sweeps the country

Ragwort, the deadly bright yellow weed often found growing on roadside verges is at epidemic levels say the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH).

Thanks partly to the excessive wet weather which meant many areas were left uncut and coupled with the plant’s voracious seed spreading capabilities; the ILPH is reporting that its Field Officers are investigating more reports about ragwort than ever before.

“Ragwort is a killer and it’s spreading at an alarming rate,” says ILPH Chief Field Officer Paul Teasdale.

“I am fed up of people telling me that horses don’t eat ragwort when we believe that many horses die every year by doing just that. If you allow horses to graze in a ragwort infested paddock you are sentencing them to a long, lingering and extremely painful death. It’s about time people woke up to the dangers.”

Ragwort is a hooligan. A single plant can produce 200,000 seeds which can lay dormant in the soil for up to 16 years. It contains deadly alkaloid toxins which are extremely harmful to both grazing animals AND humans. The effect of the toxins is cumulative and irrevocable, the end result being liver failure. By the time the symptoms present themselves, it is too late.

The only way to successfully remove ragwort is to spray it off or dig it out but great care should be taken as the plant is highly toxic. Anyone exposed to ragwort should wear dust masks to prevent pollen inhalation and vinyl gloves to prevent the toxins entering the blood stream.

For further advice please call the ILPH Welfare Hotline on 0870 871 1927 or visit www.ilph.org


Strangles survey reveals spread and ignorance of disease

An online survey carried out for Strangles Awareness Week (14 – 20 May) has revealed that strangles is "widespread throughout the UK" but knowledge of the disease and yard policies to help prevent it is "lacking".

Read more about the findings of the survey from Horse & Hound  online (22 August 2007) at


Read more about the newly-launched Strategy to Eradicate and Prevent Strangles at


See also the Ongoing section for details of the Breaking the Strangles Hold campaign.


Longer insurance for long-in-the-tooth horses

Olympic veteran, Over To You who, at 19 years of age is now the most highly medalled event horse, is to be the figurehead of Petplan Equine’s unique new policy for older horses.

In a groundbreaking move, one of the UK’s leading equine insurance companies, Petplan Equine has launched an extension to its existing Activity Plan policy that now entitles horses insured before their 20th birthday to full illness and injury cover until they reach 25 years of age. The policy, which provides more extensive cover for longer than any other equine insurer, is fully endorsed by the Veteran Horse Society (VHS).

Petplan Equine has chosen the famous 19 year old, Olympic veteran Over To You , known as ‘Jack’, as a figurehead for this policy as he is a shining example of a horse in his prime and in the pink and yet, despite this, his owner was unable to insure him for illness as well as injury. Owners of horses insured with this policy, will be able to contact the vet in the event of suspected illness without financial worry, ensuring our older equine friends receive as much care and attention as their younger counterparts.

Designed to provide peace of mind for owners of horses in their advancing years, the extension to Petplan Equine’s Activity Plan makes it unique. Currently other insurers will only offer Veteran insurance to new horses over the age of 16 and existing horses are moved onto Veteran cover by the age of 20. Petplan Equine’s policy covers horses up to the age of 25 for vet fees for illness (not just colic) as well as injury providing the horse is insured prior to its 20th birthday.

Jeanette Brakewell, Over To You’s long-term partner, has previously attempted to insure the horse whom she has owned fully for two years, but had not done so as she could not find satisfactory cover because he was over 15. “Despite having retired from his three day eventing career at Badminton earlier this year, Jack remains fit and well and continues to compete. I have looked at all the insurance policies available but none would cover him so I am delighted that Petplan Equine has come up with this complete solution” explains Jeanette. 

The policy, that was developed following discussion with the VHS, also includes an amendment to the vet fees benefit offered, and Petplan Equine’s unique benefits such as simple fixed vet fees excess, cover for alternative treatment and diagnostics and 0% APR to allow customers to pay monthly at no extra cost.

The VHS, who will benefit from a 10% donation from every policy taken out through their organisation, is delighted with this policy which it sees as addressing the biggest cause for concern among owners of older horses – vet fees. VHS founder Julianne Aston says: “The VHS has been going for six years but is one of the fastest growing equestrian membership organisations. In that time we have found that the issue of greatest concern to our members is that of vet fees – it’s not that they are necessarily higher but, until now, you haven’t been able to insure for illness in older horses”, she explains.

“What this means is that thanks to this brilliant Petplan Equine policy, people are more willing to take on the care of an older horse as they now have an option of insurance to protect them from unexpected veterinary costs.” she enthuses.

Petplan Equine Brand Manager, Jo Whittaker says: “Following feedback from older horse owners, we approached the VHS to find out what the key issues were. Two things emerged: firstly thanks to better research and care, average life expectancy is increasing and secondly, cover for vet fees was a huge issue.

However, insurance policies were not providing the necessary support which our changes are designed to address”.

The VHS and Petplan Equine have formed a symbiotic relationship with the welfare of the veteran horse at its centre. Julianne Aston says “we all win but the main winner is the older horse and that is what really matters!”

More details from Petplan at: http://www.petplanequine.co.uk/index.asp

Fire Kills 44 Horses

44 horses died when fire engulfed an enclosed boarding stables (livery yard) at Bridlewood Stables, Pinch, Charleston, West Virginia, USA on Sunday 26 August 2007.  The destruction at the scene was too great for investigators to determine the cause.

Local reports about the fire:

44 Horses Killed In A Barn Fire – WSAZ.com (26 August) http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/9383996.html

Cause of fire may never be known – Charleston Gazette (28 August)

Page 1:  http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/News/2007082725

Page 2:  http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/News/2007082725?pt=10

Page 3:  http://sundaygazettemail.com/section/News/2007082725?pt=20

Fire Kills 44 Horses – FireFightingNews.com (29 August)


This is the most tragic fire that Riding Safely has had to report on.

Commenting on the fire, Harry Paviour, equine fire safety consultant, told Riding Safely:

“I am not under illusions that this could not or would not happen here in the UK.  This incident should re-enforce the need for a thorough and conscientious fire and arson risk assessment to be carried out by all owners and occupiers of stables. They must not adopt the approach of 'If they are not going to like the answers, then don't ask the questions'.”  Harry added:  I also feel that it is now time for the owners of horses that place the care of their animals into the hands of livery yards and other stables to be demanding in establishing that the stable's fire precautions and procedures are to a high standard before committing the animal to the premises.  The various levels of livery and care MUST include ensuring that the animals are safe from fire.”

Harry went on to describe some of the causes of fire: 



        Electrical faults

        Muck heaps, too close to stables, that self combust.

        An un-suitable fire and arson risk assessment.

        Poor Housekeeping - Internal & external.

        Lack of regular testing and inspection of the building's mains electrical installations and fixed electrical appliances.

        Lack of regular inspection and testing of all mains portable appliances, including those not supplied by the occupier.

        Placing heating, lighting and air circulation equipment too close to combustibles.

        Lack of regular inspection of testing of all heating and lighting equipment fixed and portable.

        Un-controlled contractors using hot work activities.

        Un-controlled burning of rubbish and manure heaps, or being placed too near to buildings, property and boundary fences.

        Vehicles placed in storage barns.

        Un-controlled uses and storage of flammable liquids and gases.

        Lack of fire awareness training for owners and staff including volunteers. 

Concluding, Harry conveyed an important message:  “We are now regularly seeing major fires in this country in all occupancies, many resulting in the magnitude of development due to reduced attendance of the fire service or the water availability facilities to deal with the fire. It is therefore paramount that all stables owners must take a much more responsible attitude and culture to fire safety at their yards and stables.” 

Harry Paviour is Fire Advisor to the British Horse Society and the Association of British Riding Schools.  He is the author of the British Horse Society’s book “Guidelines for Fire Safety in Equine and Agricultural Premises”.  With a distinguished fire service career that began in 1962, and progressing through various roles, including that of Divisional Commander, he has recently retired from the Fire Service College.  Harry now acts a consultant to the equine industry and can be contacted at h.paviour@btinternet.com



Horses die in stable fire

The owner of three horses killed in a late-night stable fire in Cornwall has spoken of her heartbreak.

Read more from this is cornwall.co.uk  (10 August 2007)


Suspected arson attack at stables in Coventry

Firefighters were called to a blaze at stables in Binley on Sunday 15 July.

One stable was completely destroyed and a second seriously damaged in the fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately.

There were no horses in the stables at the time.

Read more from icCoventry (Jul 17 2007)


Trying to prevent Arson

Information from:

The Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service - The Prevention and Control of Arson in

Industrial and Commercial Premises  http://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/business_eng/arson/assessment_arson_reduction.htm

Toolkits from crimereduction.gov.uk


Arson Attacks on Farms and the Countryside - Reducing the Risks  http://www.arsonpreventionbureau.org.uk/Publications/Files/ATTACKS%20ON%20FARMS.pdf

Related Information

Avoiding the risk of fire

A fire in a stable yard is a terrifying prospect, but there are a few simple steps that can be taken when planning a yard to significantly reduce the risk, says Horse & Hound

Read more from Horse & Hound (Carla Passino - 25 April 2005) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/best/396/63405.html

Changes in fire safety law

New fire safety rules affecting ALL non-domestic premises in England and Wales came into force on 1 October 2006

Research undertaken by Norwich Union Risk Services shows that almost half of small firms are unaware of major new fire safety laws



Fire safety law and guidance documents for business – from the Government official website


Horse & Hound finds out how new fire regulations will affect the equestrian industry (17 October 2006)


Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 1541 - The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005  http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051541.htm



No one likes an accident. Those featured in this section come from media sources and often lack the detail of the circumstances that may have contributed to the tragic outcomes. Even so, by being aware of the types of accidents that have happened in the past may help to prevent or lead to action to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future.

Woman dies after being kicked in the show ring

A woman died in West Yorkshire on Sunday 5 August 2007 after being kicked in the head by her pony at a show.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (6 August, 2007) at: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/135132.html


Horse put down after road smash (Wiltshire)

Bystanders wept as vets put down a horse injured in a horrendous accident in the centre of Potterne on Sunday morning.

Seven-year-old Bailey had unseated his rider, Holly Perryman, 19, while she was riding him in the woods at the top of Coxhill Lane and galloped the full length of the lane before charging into traffic on the busy A360.

Bailey struck a white Mercedes estate, being driven by Carol Bidwell from Ashford, Middlesex, and then somersaulted over the bonnet to hit a red Rover 214 waiting to turn left from Court Hill Road.

Read more from the Gazette & Herald - Lewis Cowen (30 July 2007) at http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/headlines/display.var.1581296.0.horse_put_down_after_road_smash.php


Driver hurt after van collides with horse

A MAN was left with serious injuries after a horse jumped in front of his vehicle last week.

The man, said to be in his 50s, was driving his yellow VW campervan on Old Lane, Effingham, Surrey, when a brown gelding bolted from a nearby field into his path.

Read more from icSurreyOnline (4 July 2007)


Queen's former horse rescued  

A HORSE once owned by The Queen was at the centre of a dramatic emergency rescue.

Black Gipsy VII is a former Buckingham Palace horse who enjoys a life of luxury in her stables - and is even provided room service.

But the beautiful beast had to be dragged to safety by fire crews after the horse fell into a ditch.

Read more from icSurreyOnline (25 July 2007)


Fire crew saved my horse’s life

THE owner of a horse rescued in Weymouth has praised firefighters for saving it from death.

Natalie Northover said her chestnut mare Sherry would have died without help from the service's new animal rescue unit.

Sherry was trapped in a ditch for three-and-a-half hours after slipping in wet conditions in Wyke Regis. Mrs Northover, 24, of Wyke Regis, said: "I am relieved she got out".

Read more from thisisdorset.net (27 July 2007) at



Related information

Emergency Services Protocol

        Guidelines to help the emergency services cope better with equine incidents were launched in May 2007.

        The guidelines aim to ensure any horse involved in an accident receives proper care as quickly as possible. They cover everything from how a 999 call should be dealt with to advice on identifying horses and coping with a large animal in an incident.

        An Emergency Services Protocol Fund has also been set up by the BHS and BEVA, to help minimise delays for injured horses receiving veterinary care when their owners cannot be traced. The fund will also pay for rescue training and specialist lifting and rescue equipment for the emergency services.

        To donate to the fund, contact BEVA (tel: 01638 723555).

Read more from Horse & Hound Online at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=119785

Get detailed information on the Emergency Services Protocol from a leaflet that can be downloaded from



eemail.gif If you know of any equestrian related accidents or near-misses then please share them with Riding Safely
Doing so may save a life or a lifetime of incapacity

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


Drivers warned to check horsebox floors

Owners of horseboxes and trailers are being urged to check the flooring on their vehicles after a horse was destroyed following a motorway accident.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (14 July 2007) including how to get a free check on your lorry floor at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=129159&cid=397


Useful Information

The Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners

Whether you’re trying to find out the legalities of driving a lorry, towing a trailer or just want further information about loading visit The Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners website which is packed with helpful information.



How safe is your lorry flooring?

It is obviously vital to maintain the interior of a lorry in order to travel safely and to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy for insurance purposes.

While floor checks do form part of a lorry's plating, this does not guarantee long-term floor safety, and owners should also be vigilant about checking their own vehicles.

Read guidance from Horse & Hound online (10 August 2007) at:  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/horsecare/1370/136097.html


Rider hurt in fall from 'Ferrari' horse loses 30,000 action

A HORSEWOMAN who claimed she fell after being given a "Ferrari" mount when she was used to a reliable "Volvo" has lost a 30,000 damages action.

Mrs McGregor sued riding school, LMRS Farm Ltd, of Lochore Meadows Riding Stables, Lochgelly, Fife over the accident which happened in April 2005.  The Lochore Meadows Riding Stables was sold four months ago and now operates under new management as the Lochore Meadows Equestrian Centre.

Read more from The Scotsman – NEWS.scostman.com (29 August 2007) at http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1370732007

Read the full Judgement - Anne Mcgregor v LMRS Farm Limited [2007] CSOH 153 (28 August 2007) at  http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/2007CSOH153.html


Couple lose appeal over pony fall

A couple are facing a substantial compensation bill after a court ruled they should pay damages to a teenager who fell off one of their ponies.  The ruling raises worrying financial implications for the equestrian industry amid warnings that the future of some riding schools could be jeopardised if they are held liable for similar incidents.

At the Court of Appeal three top judges ruled that Matthew and Georgia Stokes are "strictly liable" under the terms of the 1971 Animals Act to pay the girl substantial damages - even though they were not negligent.

Source: this is cornwall.co.uk (28 July 2007)

Read more details at: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=144694&command=displayContent&sourceNode=144660&contentPK=17948689&folderPk=83364&pNodeId=144659

Read the full Judgement - Welsh v Stokes & Anor [2007] EWCA Civ 796 (27 July 2007) at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2007/796.html


Action underway to amend Animals Act

An attempt to amend the Animals Act (1971) in order to combat rising equestrian insurance premiums has cleared its first hurdle in Parliament.

The Bill received its first reading in the Commons on Wednesday 27 June. It will now have its second reading on 19 October.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (6 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=128110&cid=397

Related Information

Country Land &Business Association (CLA) – drafted Bill will rescue riding establishments – details of the Animals Act (Amendment) Bill 2007


Mr. Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con) presents the Bill to Parliament (Hansard extract)



Appeal against ban on keeping horses quashed

A woman who received a 21-day prison sentence for breaching her ban on keeping horses has lost her appeal.  Delia Stacey, of Tidmarsh, Reading, had her appeal against her conviction dismissed by Judge Inman at Guildford Crown Court on 10 July.

But a clerical error meant her legal team failed to contest her 21-day jail sentence and she was granted leave to appeal. Stacey will return to Guildford Crown Court on 3 August and Judge Inman will again oversee proceedings.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (21 July 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/130662.html


Horse riders set to sue over RAF jet injuries

Equestrians are considering taking legal action against the Government after low flying fighter planes caused them to fall off their horses.

Read more from The Argus - Andy Whelan (18 July 2007) at http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.1552155.0.horse_riders_set_to_sue_over_raf_jet_injuries.php


Record fine for illegal shoeing

The Farriers Registration Council (FRC) has won a court case brought against a man who illegally shod two horses.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (21 July 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=130676&cid=397


'Madman on horse' gets two years' probation

A DRUNKEN man on a Clydesdale horse raised an uproar as he took off on a wild ride across Royal Dornoch golf course and then on to the town’s High Street two months ago, a court heard.

Read more from The Northern Times (27 July 2007) at http://www.northern-times.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/2397/'Madman_on_horse'_gets_two_years'_probation.html


Related Feature

First appeared in the January/February/March 2006 Newsletter

Special Feature – Will I be successfully sued?

Jane Phillips is the solicitor who acted for Dr. and Mrs. Henley in the infamous Mirvahedy v Henley case.  The findings of that case have had ongoing significant legal liability and insurance implications for every horse owner in England and Wales. 

In this special feature Jane exclusively provides Riding Safely with details of some of the cases she has been involved with over the last two years - brought in Negligence and under the Animals Act - winning 8 out of 9.

Jane told Riding Safely “It just shows that despite Henley and Mirvahedy we can still win cases!”

Full details can be found at:  www.ridingsafely.net/legal_cases_pjmdp.html

What is Mirvahedy v. Henley?  Find out more about the case, the Animals Act 1971 and a host of other related information at:  http://www.ridingsafely.net/mirvahedy_v_henley.html


Smokefree England 

On July 1st 2007, England introduced a new law to make virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England smokefree. 

Many riding establishments already, very sensibly, operate a smokefree policy around their stable areas, while some others impose a total smoking ban on their premises.  This has been in the main, to reduce the risk of fire.  The purpose of Smokefree England is to provide a healthier environment and protect people from second-hand smoke.  However, for those running riding establishments, Smokefree England offers the dual benefits of a healthier environment and improved fire safety.  Removing smoking as a potential source of ignition may also act as one of the controls when undertaking the legal requirement of a fire risk assessment. 

But as a Horse & Hound news report recently highlighted, “Council imposes 46 no smoking signs on stable yard”, there is inconsistency in how the law is being interpreted and applied amongst local councils, with one council insisting that is no smoking signs were placed on every stable door.  However, this specific requirement was denied by the Department of Health who are the authors of the new law.

Similar smokefree measures are already in place in for Ireland (since March 2004), Scotland (since March 2006) and Wales (Since March 2006).  Further details >>>

The Smokefree England website offers comprehensive information and advice and can be found at:  http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/


So what are the key points of Smokefree England?

        It is now against the law to smoke in virtually all 'enclosed' and 'substantially enclosed' public places and workplaces. (See below for definitions)

        Public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person must be smokefree at all times.

        No-smoking signs must be displayed in all smokefree premises and vehicles.

        Staff smoking rooms and indoor smoking areas are no longer allowed, so anyone who wants to smoke has to go outside.

        Managers of smokefree premises and vehicles have legal responsibilities to prevent people from smoking.

        If you are uncertain where you can or can't smoke, just look for the no-smoking signs or ask someone in charge.


What are the penalties and fines for breaking the smokefree law?

Local councils are responsible for enforcing the new law in England. If you don't comply with the smokefree law, you will be committing a criminal offence. The fixed penalty notices and maximum fine for each offence are:

        Smoking in smokefree premises or work vehicles: a fixed penalty notice of 50 (reduced to 30 if paid in 15 days) imposed on the person smoking. Or a maximum fine of 200 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

        Failure to display no-smoking signs: a fixed penalty notice of 200 (reduced to 150 if paid in 15 days) imposed on whoever manages or occupies the smokefree premises or vehicle. Or a maximum fine of 1000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court.

        Failing to prevent smoking in a smokefree place: a maximum fine of 2500 imposed on whoever manages or controls the smokefree premises or vehicle if prosecuted and convicted by a court. There is no fixed penalty notice for this offence.


What is an 'enclosed' and 'substantially enclosed' public place and workplace?

Premises are considered 'enclosed' if they have a ceiling or roof and (except for doors, windows or passageways) are wholly enclosed either on a permanent or temporary basis.  Examples include tack rooms, offices, tea rooms, stables and “barn” type stables. 

Premises are considered 'substantially enclosed' if they have a ceiling or roof, but have an opening in the walls, which is less than half the total area of the walls. The area of the opening does not include doors, windows or any other fittings that can be opened or shut.

Indoor schools and tents or marquees will usually fall into the enclosed or substantially enclosed categories.

Businesses and organisations should contact their local council if they require further guidance on whether their premises are 'enclosed' or 'substantially enclosed'.

Read more at http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/what-do-i-do/quick-guide.html


What do employers, managers and those in charge of smokefree premises and vehicles need to do?

        display 'no-smoking' signs in smokefree premises and vehicles

        take reasonable steps to ensure that staff, customers/members and visitors are aware that premises and vehicles are legally required to be smokefree

        remove any existing indoor smoking rooms

        ensure that no one smokes in smokefree premises or vehicles

Read more at http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/what-do-i-do/business.html


What signs do I have to display?

The new law requires no-smoking signs to be displayed in all smokefree premises and vehicles.

No-smoking signs must be displayed in a prominent position at every entrance to smokefree premises and must meet minimum requirements.  These requirements can be found at: http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/what-do-i-do/business.html#signage


Where can I get the signs?

You can download no smoking signs that meet the requirements from the Smokefree England website.  You are free to design and print your own no-smoking signs as long as they meet the minimum requirements. These can be personalised by changing the words 'these premises' to refer to the name or type of premises.  Templates that allow customisation are also available from the Smokefree England website at http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/resources/guidance-and-signage.html#signage

Riding Safely has already seen one example at a riding school where a template has been customised to produce signs that include their name and the prohibition areas. These have then been printed off, laminated and displayed.  The minor effort in producing personalised signs, over using standard signs, has the benefit that the signs hold more weight in their “no smoking” message by being specific to a particular establishment.


What should I do if someone smokes in a smokefree place I’m in control of?

If you are in charge of smokefree premises and/or vehicles, you will have a legal responsibility to prevent people from smoking in them.  Smokefree England have produced advice – see http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/files/how_to_deal_with_smoking_in_a_smokefree_place.pdf


Is there anything else I should do?

Smokefree England suggests that you may also want to take these supportive measures:

        develop a smokefree policy in consultation with staff

        offer staff training to help them understand the new law and what their responsibilities are

        provide your staff and customers with support to quit smoking

The Government has produced an official guide which explains everything you need to know about the new law and what you need to do to comply with it. Additional guidance leaflets are also available for both businesses and individuals, along with supporting materials. These can be downloaded or ordered from the Smokefree England Website at  http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/resources/guidance-and-signage.html


241 lives lost is unacceptable

Launching the latest work related fatal injury statistics on the 26th July 2007, Health and Safety Commission (HSC) Chair Sir Bill Callaghan said the loss of 241 lives is unacceptable and issued a fresh challenge to industry to place safety at the top of its priorities and do more to protect the work force.

Sir Bill said, “It is disappointing to see that the overall number of deaths has risen. We have worked hard with industry and trade unions over the past few years to bring the number down. Behind every one of these numbers was a man or a woman, with a life, friends and family. Despite all the negative stories written and told about over-bureaucracy and banning ‘fun’, in  reality trying to stop the tragedies we are talking about today is what health and safety is all about.”  (extract from HSE press release)

Read the full HSE press release at  http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2007/c07011.htm?ebul=hsegen/23-jul-2007&cr=2


Myth of the Month

The HSE’s initiaitive, to promote that the sensible management of risks protects people from real harm and suffering, but avoids bureaucratic back covering, has taken a further step forward.  HSE is running a "Myth of the Month" campaign aimed at highlighting some of the more popular stories of health and safety, which do not actually represent the law.

See the latest myth of the month at http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/index.htm

A previous myth of the month, pertinent to the horse industry – May’s Myth: Risk assessments must always be long and complex can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/may.htm


New Minister for the Horse

In the reshuffle following Gordon Brown taking over as Prime Minister Jonathan Shaw MP has replaced Barry Gardiner MP as the Minister for the Horse.

Defra also has a new Secretary of State with Hilary Benn MP replacing David Miliband MP.

The British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) is arranging to meet the new Horse Minister when Parliament reconvenes in the Autumn, to discuss relevant DEFRA issues and to brief him on the importance of the Horse Industry.

Source BHIC (August 2007) www.bhic.co.uk


New Chairman for the British Horse Industry Confederation

At the recent BHIC meeting it was agreed that the rotating chairmanship would pass, on the 1st October of this year, from Graham Cory of the British Horse Society to Nic Coward, the Chief Executive of the newly established British Horseracing Authority.

The outgoing Chairman, Graham Cory said:

“The BHIC has played an important role over the last few years in engaging with Government on a wide range of issues of importance to all of us within the horse industry, ranging from welfare, to transport and veterinary medicines. We also worked in partnership with the government on the ground-breaking ‘Strategy for the Horse’, which I launched with the former Minister for the Horse, Jim Knight, in December 2005, and also the detailed Action Plan for the Strategy which I launched at the National Equine Forum in March 2006.  With an industry worth around 3.4 billion, and over 2.4 million people riding each year, it is important that industry organisations continue to work together to form a strong, single voice to lobby government.”

The new Chairman-elect , Nic Coward said:“I am delighted to take over the Chairmanship of the BHIC in October. The BHIC has already proved that by working together to provide a strong, united voice to government, we can achieve so much more than by lobbying alone, and that by discussing and sharing information we can provide a better service to our members and member bodies. I wish to thank Graham Cory for his successful chairmanship, and I intend to build upon the important work of the BHIC, not only in tackling new policy issues which arise but also in progressing the actions within the Strategy for the Horse itself.”

Source BHIC (August 2007) www.bhic.co.uk


New Chief Executive for the International League for the Protection of Horses

Roly Owers - New ILPH Chief Executive

The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is to appoint Roly Owers as Chief Executive at the start of 2008.  Current Chief Executive John Smales has reached retirement age and will step down at the end of the year. The appointment follows a three month search by the ILPH which generated a strong response and many excellent candidates.

ILPH Chairman Christopher Hall commented: “This year we have been extensively examining how we take the ILPH forward in our drive to make us ‘Fit for the Future.’ John Smales has been heavily involved in that process and will leave a strong legacy. He has done a great job for the last five years and taken us to our present position. I would like to thank him for all his achievements.

“In Roly Owers I am confident we have found an exceptional individual to take on what amounts to probably the most important job in horse welfare. From his previous, highly successful spell at the ILPH, Roly has a very good idea of what the ILPH needs to drive us into the future at this exciting time.” 

Roly Owers spent four years at the ILPH as Director (Support) from 1999 to 2003 where he was responsible for the ILPH’s Fundraising, Communications, Finance, Human Resources, IT and Admin. He has since worked as Development Director at The Perse School, Cambridge. He comments: “It is with great excitement that I look forward to becoming Chief Executive of the ILPH.  Having previously spent four very happy years with the charity, I know how much it achieves for horse welfare and am honoured to have the opportunity of working with the ILPH supporters, staff, and trustees to build on this proud tradition.”

John Smales comments: “My five years with the ILPH have been enormously rewarding and I’m very proud of what I have achieved with the help of my tremendous staff. We have increased our national and international effectiveness and can safely claim to be leaders in this field. I shall look back on my five years at the ILPH with great pride and satisfaction and will continue to work in the charity world. I know that the ILPH under Roly Owers will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Source:  ILPH - 12 September 2007

Visit the ILPH website at http://www.ilph.org/


The British Horseracing Authority takes over

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) was formally launched on the 31st of July as the single, unified governing body for British Horseracing.

Its role is to regulate, promote and represent the sport.

A major step in the modernisation of British Horseracing, the Authority takes on the roles of the British Horseracing Board and the Horseracing Regulatory Authority, with both of those organisations ceasing to exist.

More details from the BHA (31 July 2007) at: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/inside_horseracing/media/releaseDetail.asp?item=084226


Racing stable safety a priority - StableSafe launched in Victoria 

Flemington Racecourse was the scene for a significant moment in Victorian thoroughbred racing history on Tuesday when the Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing, The Hon Rob Hulls, unveiled StableSafe at Carbine Lodge.

StableSafe is a risk management and OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) improvement plan for the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, with over $500,000 in State Government funding allocated to the industry to implement a number of initiatives designed to improve workplace safety across Victoria’s 1178 thoroughbred racing stables.

Read more from Thoroughbred News (31 Jul 2007) at http://www.thoroughbrednews.co.nz/spring-racing/?id=30395


Synthetic surfaces have helped decrease horse racing deaths across country

Read more from the North County Times - Escondido, CA, USA at:



Spotlight on rider safety at the British Horse Society Safety Conference

The safety of riders, particularly expectant mothers and those who ride alone or work in isolated circumstances, is the focus of the British Horse Society's Biennial Safety Conference.

Taking place on 15 September 2007 at the Coventry Motor Museum, the conference will also look at accident statistics, rural safety and animal rescue including the new Emergency Services Protocol.

The conference will be chaired by Stuart Lovatt, Road Safety Action Plan Coordinator for the Safety Standards and Research department of the Highways Agency.

Other speakers include:

        Dr Ted Adams, registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology

        Sgt Lesley Taylor, Nottinghamshire Police, mounted section

        Keith Brothwell, Nottinghamshire Police, personal safety trainer

        Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services addressing the Emergency Services Protocol and other issues

Sheila Hardy, BHS Safety Senior Executive, said: "Safety plays an important part in everyday life and it is even more important that riders take responsibility for their safety when others may be affected by their actions. 

"The Safety Conference addresses several aspects of equestrian safety from self-defence for the lone rider to the reporting process for an equestrian-related road accident. It promises to be an interesting and varied day that we would urge all riders to support."

There will be a prize draw on the day with excellent prizes including tickets to the Horse of the Year Show and other equestrian events plus top of the range equipment.

Tickets for the day, including lunch and refreshments, cost 30. To book your place, or for further information, please contact the BHS Safety Department on 01926 707745. There are limited places so early booking is recommended.

For more information, please contact: Sue Appley, BHS Safety Administrator, on 01926 707745 or safety1@bhs.org.uk


National Riding Festival 2007

The Petplan Equine National Riding Festival 2007 plans to encourage more people into horse riding; whether they are new to the sport or simply have not ridden for a while.  The Festival runs until September. 

More details at: http://www.nationalridingfestival.co.uk/index.php?page=about


The British Horse Society embraces equine facilitated learning

The BHS is looking at ways to combine the unique talents and personality of horses with the opportunity to extend its work supporting the community in general.

To progress this new work and to ascertain the interest in training in this area, the BHS is running an exploratory seminar at its Stoneleigh Headquarters on Monday 17 September starting at 10.30am.

The Society has joined together with Lords House Farm in Lancashire which has been working with horses and animals for 16 years and has successfully gained an excellent reputation nationally for its work.

 The programmes they deliver allow confidence and self-esteem to flourish in learning to care for and handle horses. This, combined with social interaction, the development of practical skills and team work, the releasing of pent up emotions and learning the valuable lesson of actions producing consistent reactions has a huge and lasting affect on participants.

Mary Walker, Lords House Farm Chief Executive, said: "The Equine Facilitated Learning programme should not be confused with teaching ridden skills. This is not the main element of the work and indeed some participants do not ever get on a horse, instead the interaction is used to provide a platform for problem solving and communication." 

Margaret Linington-Payne, BHS Director of Standards, said: "We are very pleased to be working alongside Lords House Farm who have provided such valuable work over the past 16 years."

Anyone wanting to find out further information or who is interested in supporting this move towards social support in the community are invited to attend this seminar with any ideas and comments. The seminar is free of charge but places must be booked in advance.

For further details, please contact: Sam Whale, BHS Training Executive, The British Horse Society, on 01926 707820 or s.whale@bhs.org.uk


Association of British Riding Schools Annual General Meeting & Conference

The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) will be holding their Annual General Meeting & Conference on Monday 15th October 2007 at Woodside, Glasshouse Lane, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2AL.

Building on the success of last year’s Conference at Docklands, the programme promises to present highly topical issues of the day, including resolving disputes and litigation, given by eminent speakers in their field.

Get more details from the day’s Programme http://www.abrs-info.org/Programme.pdf

Booking Form http://www.abrs-info.org/Booking_Form_2007.pdf


Cheltenham Racecourse is to be the venue for the 2007 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Conference & Autumn Exhibition, to be held on Sunday 14th and Monday 15th October.

BETA has enhanced the fixture to build on the success of its highly acclaimed inaugural Conference in Harrogate last October.

The two-day, trade specific BETA Conference & Autumn Exhibition will run all day Sunday when delegates can tour approximately 30 trade stands displaying equestrian products and related services.

Sunday evening will be a social occasion before Monday’s Conference with a line-up of influential speakers, industry discussion and the AGM.

“Last year’s BETA Conference was a great success and a complete sell-out, so expanding the idea into the 2007 BETA Conference & Autumn Exhibition has been the logical progression,” said Claire Williams, BETA’s executive director.

Admission to the 2007 BETA Conference & Autumn Exhibition will be strictly trade only. Non-BETA members are welcome to attend with only the BETA AGM being restricted to members.

For more details, contact BETA on 01937 587062 or email info@beta-uk.org


eemail.gif If you know of any forthcoming equestrian safety related events please contact Riding Safely

Breaking the Strangles Hold - campaign update

The joint AHT/BHS Strangles Campaign launched in February, has so far raised 70 000 towards the 250,000 two-year target.  Many horse and pony clubs have held their own events to help raise funds including the BHS Lancashire County Committee who, in conjunction with Pegasus Horse Supplies Ltd, raised over 300 by holding an Equine Fashion Show and auction.

Further support has been added from leading countrywear manufacturers Puffa and equine insurance specialists Shearwater Insurance Services Ltd.  Puffa have designed a polo shirt available in a selection of colours, and they will donate 2.00 to the strangles campaign for every shirt sold. Shearwater will give customers the opportunity to donate 1 for every equine policy sent out, and in addition will give 5 for every 250 spent on new equine policies secured through the partnership.

Get more details from www.aht.org.uk/strangles.org/update.html


Related Information

About strangles - When a horse contracts the disease, it initially loses its energy and appetite. Swelling and abscesses occur around the throat. The horse then finds it hard to breathe and swallow – as it is being strangled (hence the name Strangles). When the abscesses rupture, in some cases other horses can be infected. If the abscesses spread to other parts of the horse's body, the condition is usually fatal.  See the strangles information leaflet www.aht.org.uk/strangles.org/strangle_leaflet.pdf and the strangles campaign website www.strangles.org/

The Animal HealthTrust - The AHT is a charity dedicated to improving the health of dogs, cats and horses by addressing the problems of disease and injury. It achieves this by providing specialist clinical services for animals in need and advancing veterinary science. Even if your horse or pet has never been treated directly by the AHT, it will have benefited from the results of the Trust’s work.  See www.aht.org.uk

The British Horse Society - the UK's biggest horse charity with a membership of more than 100,000, held a Strangles Awareness Week from 15-21 May last year (2006), and BHS Scotland has been lobbying hard in the Scottish Parliament for new measures to help to slow the spread of Strangles in Scotland. 

See www.bhs.org.uk


Related Reports

Patchetts Equestrian Centre in Hertfordshire reopened on 11 July following a closure of four weeks after a horse in livery at the yard was diagnosed with strangles on 12 June.

Read more from Horse and Hound Online (13 June & 10 July 2007) at:



Stables under threat - A Stables in Garston (Hertfordshire, UK) is struggling to stay afloat after a devastating virus (strangles) ruined its reputation, despite being given the all-clear months ago.

Read more from the Watford Observer - Watford, England, UK (26 January 2007) at:  www.watfordobserver.co.uk:80/news/localnews/display.var.1149466.0.stables_under_threat.php


ILPH tackles obesity in horses

Massive increases in equine obesity and laminitis over the past two years have prompted the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) to launch a series of "Right Weight Road Shows". The shows started in July and are designed to alert horse owners to the health risks associated with equine obesity.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=122439


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


The British Grooms Association

LAUNCHED at Badminton on Thursday 3rd May 2007, The British Grooms Association (BGA) has been created to provide a national organisation for grooms of all disciplines. It is the only association of its kind in the world, and it aims to bring together those who work in this sector of the equine industry and give all members a sense of belonging.

The BGA aims to increase national and international recognition of grooms, and the work that they do. Working with horses is an incredibly rewarding career which requires, amongst other things, dedication, hard work and compassion. The BGA wants grooms to be recognised as career professionals.

It welcomes membership from all grooms who work in the UK, whatever nationality, and British grooms that are working abroad.

The BGA provides advice through its web site and magazine on a variety of subjects, including keeping up to date with new legislation, advising on insurance requirements and horse management.

Find out more about The British Grooms Association at http://www.britishgrooms.org.uk


Need to know if you're doing enough to comply with health, safety and environmental requirements?  Then this section is for you.  The information in this section will be repeated and updated each month.


   What you must do

The Health and Safety Executive list 10 key things you must do if you are in business.  Are you doing them all?  Check them out and get further help from http://www.hse.gov.uk/smallbusinesses/must.htm

   Health and Safety Guidance for Inspections of Horse Riding Establishments and Livery Yards

Published in May 2006, this document sets out current good practice for environmental health practitioners; licensing officers; vets and animal wardens and also provides a useful tool for both owners and managers of horse riding establishments and livery yards.

Supported by the riding industry’s major stakeholders, the guidance aims to fill a gap in existing literature and also provides useful checklists necessary to minimise the risk associated with such premises.

It recognises the need to strike a practical balance to reduce hazards without hindering the sustainability of the riding industry.

Download from:  http://www.cieh.org/library/Knowledge/Health_and_safety/guidancelivery_3.pdf

Training Resources

   Safety with Horses”

Safety with Horses is a cost effective, award winning equine health and safety training programme, leading to an accredited Vocational Qualification.

The Level 2 programme is suitable for all those involved in any equine related activity including full or part-time students, clients, trainees, school work placements as well as those employed working with horses.

Find out more about the Safety with Horses training programme at: http://www.warkscol.ac.uk/equistudy/equistudy/coursepage.asp?courseid=9

Sources of Help

   Workplace Health Connect

Delivered in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, Workplace Health Connect is a government funded service providing confidential, practical and free advice to small businesses on workplace health and safety, management of sickness absence and return to work issues.

Find out more from http://www.workplacehealthconnect.co.uk/


Gloom lifts for riding schools 

Life is getting a bit easier for the owners of the country's riding schools.

Hundreds have decided to go out of business in the past few years, partly due to a sharp rise in the cost of public liability insurance.

That, in turn, had been driven up by the increasing claims being paid out to people who had been injured while out riding.

But recent court cases have started to reverse that trend, and insurers now say that well run riding schools should have no trouble getting a competitive quote.

"Premiums have stabilised now and in some cases have gone down a bit," says Bob Pluck of South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB).

"They won't have a problem getting a competitive quote these days."

Read the full feature from BBC News at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6563235.stm


Air Ambulance service for Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Air Ambulance answers its first emergency call
The Air Ambulance answers its first emergency on 1 July 2007

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance became operational on 1st July 2007, and is now flying several missions every day, many of which are life saving.

Relying entirely on voluntary donations it needs to raise more than 65,000 every month - over 2000 every day.

Airborne within three minutes of a 999 call, the Air Ambulance can reach most of its operational area within fifteen minutes.  It needs an area only half the size of a tennis court to be able to land.

Equestrian related accidents account for about 10% of the air ambulance callouts with the most common cause being road traffic accidents (around 33%).

To assist in finding you, particularly If you live off the beaten track, it’s recommended that you stick a label to your telephone, or make a note in your emergency information, of your Ordnance Survey map six-figure grid reference (e.g. SU485005).

Find out more at:  http://www.hampshireandiowairambulance.org.uk/index.html

Related Information:

Air ambulance crews had to be scrambled to help the victims of serious riding accidents in rural Yorkshire and Lincolnshire nearly 150 times in 2006.”  BBC Inside Out - Friday March 23, 2007

“With the Midlands area Air Ambulance attending on average, 3 horse related accidents each week, BBC1’s Inside Out programme investigates why so many accidents are occurring and what might be done to reduce them in the future.”  BBC1 - West Midlands (Sky channel 979), Wednesday 10th October 2007 at 7.30pm.



Horse & Country TV launches on Sky

Horse & Country TV launched on Sky channel 280 on 2 July 2007 at noon.

For more details go to http://www.horseandcountry.tv/


TV series highlights work of ILPH

Horse Patrol is on Sky Channel 280 A TV series following the daily work of the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) has premiered on new channel Horse & Country TV (SKY channel 280).

The 12 part series named ‘Horse Patrol’ follows the charity’s 16 U.K Field Officers as they investigate cases of horse cruelty and neglect. Horse Patrol also features Farm Manager Janet Dale and her team at the charity's newest Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre, ILPH Glenda Spooner Farm in Somerset.

Read more from the ILPH (31 July 2007) at http://www.ilph.org/news_details.asp?id=821


57% in survey admit to have ridden without a hat

A simple question on the Horse & Hound Forum “Have you ever ridden without a hat?” led to a heated debate with 57% of those responding saying they had.  Over 700 people read the post, 134 voted and 93 expressed opinions ranging from they’d never ride without a hat to those that did, feeling it was down to personal choice.  Moral, social and legal implications were also discussed.

You can follow the debate at:



Horse rides to rescue as owner attacked in field by raging cow

A FARMER has told how she was saved by her horse after it fought off a raging cow that was attacking her.

Read more from News.scotsman.com (13 August 2007) at: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1280312007


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