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   The UK's only Equestrian Safety Newsletter

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News January, February and March 2009
Key news reports


The predicted high winds and dry conditions have prompted the State Emergency Services to warn all residents of Victoria to ensure that their fire plans are in place and ready to activate if necessary.    Property owners need to stay alert and decide now whether or not they will stay - or go - in the event of a fire in their area.  

Some useful links to help you decide can be found at :

Country Fire Authority  :  http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/

DPI Vic Horses & Bushfires  :   http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/DPI/nreninf.nsf/9e58661e880ba9e44a256c640023eb2e/29ba41fb3bb9394bca257302000f99de/$FILE/AG0858_May07.pdf

Other useful information about livestock and fires can be found at :


The information at these links is being updated regularly at the moment.  If you have read them before, please check them again as more information becomes available.   If you save these links to your favourites, remember to refresh them when you check them to make sure you are getting the latest information.

Issued 2 March 2009

Copyright 2005 Australian Horse Industry Council


Coming at the end of the month...

Your Right of Reply

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


UK: The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) job is to protect people against risks to health or safety arising out of work activities.  They do this through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, inspection, investigation and enforcement.

HSE Myth of the month – March 2009

Myth: Health and safety rules take the adventure out of playgrounds

The reality

We're all for playgrounds being exciting and challenging places. Children should have fun in them, get fit, develop social skills and learn how to handle risks.

What’s important is to strike the right balance - protecting children from harm while allowing them the freedom to develop independence and risk awareness. Exciting and challenging playgrounds do this, poorly maintained or badly designed ones don't.

Health and safety laws don’t stop children having fun but ill-considered and overprotective actions do.

Go to the HSE’s Myth of the month homepage

Get free leaflets from the HSE - Clear and simple advice on a range of health and safety issues

hse_logo.jpg Go to the HSE’s homepage

UK: The “Safety with Horses” course just got better...
Safety with Horses course material

The award-winning "Safety with Horses" course is acknowledged for setting the standard of safety training across the horse industry.  But the course which can be completed at home and your own stables just got better...

If you join during the current campaign, not only do you stand to make your yard a safer place for people and horses while achieving a nationally accredited award, but you'll also receive a free ticket to a top equestrian event, meeting one of our top riders.

By successfully completing the Equi Study “Safety with Horses” home/stable study course and you will receive a free ticket to one of four top equestrian events including Olympia, Badminton, Burghley and Horse of the Year Show. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet a leading rider, learn about top level competition and ask questions about show jumping or eventing.

There are seven start dates during the year so you can choose both your favourite event and the best time to complete your course.

Anyone who is 16 years and over who has access to horses and equine facilities can take part. You’ll also need a competent person (Level 3 – e.g. AI)) who can observe you undertaking some basic but key practical activities with horses. Everyone will be able to access their own Equi Study Tutor to help them complete their course. Click here for more information on the “Safety with Horses” campaign.

Find out what the Health and Safety Executive say about the course

Riding Safely thoroughly recommends this course




Emergency Services Protocol

The Emergency Services Protocol  

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

The guidelines aim to ensure that 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

Download the Emergency Services Protocol leaflet.

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.
Get more from Riding Safely


Check out the latest local, national and international weather forecasts from the Met Office

 International equestrian injuries survey launched
© www.sfdigital.co.uk

In what is believed to be the first of its kind, an internet-based survey has been launched to measure the extent and consequences of horse-related injury across the USA, Britain and Australia. The survey was developed by Dr Patricia Evans at Utah State University, and has been adapted for wider international use with help from Ken Law, editor of the UK-based website Riding Safely and Denzil O'Brien, who has recently completed a 5-year surveillance program on risks in eventing.  It is being co-hosted by the Equestrian Federation of Australia.

The survey is aimed at anyone who has suffered a horse-related injury and asks questions across a broad range of equestrian activities and disciplines. Some questions have a distinct USA or UK focus and should be answered accordingly. The survey should only take a few minutes to complete. “This is possibly the first time that such a survey has been undertaken across such a wide range of potential respondents, and we believe that it will provide valuable information on the extent and cost of horse-related injury in our sector.” said Denzil O’Brien. “We are hoping to obtain richer information than that previously gained through hospitals.”

The survey and data analysis are being undertaken through Utah State University. Under US law it can only be completed by people aged 18 or over. Anyone taking part will not be asked for identifying information - data gathered will be used statistically not descriptively.

“We’ve had such surveys in the past but these have normally been limited to individual countries” said Ken Law “running the survey simultaneously across three countries and gaining comparable data may prove of enormous benefit in improving safety internationally – I urge everyone to take part”.

Click here to take part in the survey that runs until 28 February 2009.

UK: The Barefoot Trimmers National Occupational Standards Consultation

Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based industries, is holding an initial consultation meeting on Wednesday 4 February 2009 regarding the development of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Equine Barefoot Trimming.

Currently there are no National Occupational Standards for this area of work and their development was a key recommendation from Lantra's Paraprofessionals research report: titled 'An investigative study of Barefoot Trimmers and Equine Dental Technicians'.

Lantra's industry partnership manager for the equine industry and Professions Allied to Veterinary Science, Lisa Jarvis said:  "National Occupational Standards describe the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to do a particular task or job. One of the uses for these standards is using them as building blocks for qualifications, so ensuring that these are right and meet businesses' needs are vital to the industry's future and equine welfare."  Lisa adds:  "If you want to play a part in developing these standards, then join Lantra on Wednesday 4 February, at an initial consultation meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to establish industry requirements for National Occupational Standards to ensure that they are fit for purpose."

If you would like to participate in the initial NOS development meeting, please contact Lantra on 0845 707 8007 or email connect@lantra.co.uk

UK: (DEFRA) Consultation launched on changes to horse identification legislation

 Defra has launched a consultation to revise the existing equine identification legislation. The consultation period runs from 10th November 2008 to 10 February 2009.

The main requirement for the new Horse Identification legislation is the compulsory microchipping of foals born after 1 July 2009. This requirement will not be retrospective for older horses.

Under the current legislation, all equidae are required to have identification. The new regulation aims to improve this current method of identification by linking each ID issued to an electronic microchip implanted into the animal. Linking the microchip and ID, which are both recorded as a unique life number on a national database, will reduce risks to human health by stopping certain animals entering the food chain, help disease surveillance, and aid recovery of lost or stolen horses.

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on draft Regulations intended to apply Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 in England. The consultation document is confined to the application of a number of derogations provided for in the Regulation, along with new offences created and penalties for non compliance.

The consultation can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/equine-id/index.htm

  Coming soon...

 Ireland: Cross-country course design seminar - 8 March 2009

The Association of Irish Riding Clubs in conjunction with Eventing Ireland and the Equestrian Skillnet are holding a seminar on cross-country course design.

It will take place at Gurteen College, Co. Tipperary on Sunday 8th March 2009, running from 10.30 to 15.30 and costs €20.

This seminar will give participants an insight into designing and creating cross-country courses and fences to allow horses and riders to train and compete to a high standard.

It will also facilitate riders moving up the levels and give them the skills to competently negotiate the challenges that lie before across country.

A strong emphasis will be placed on safety and issues concerning the safety of designing fences.

The sessions will be led by Tony Ennis (A.I.R.C.) & John Swanton (Eventing Ireland).

Tony Ennis, chairman of A.I.R.C., has designed the cross-country course at Gurteen College and it has since been modified by Ian Stark (British Olympic Eventer).

John Swanton, former chairman of Eventing Ireland, has stewarded at many international horse trials in Ireland.  John has assisted with the design and building of some courses including his own at Ashmount.

To book a place, contact Cathy Cooper on 045 - 854 514 or email ccooper@horsesportireland.ie

This event is subsidised by the Equestrian Skillnet

 UK: National Equine Forum - 31 March 2009

The National Equine Forum is a high profile annual event that is held at the Royal Society in London. The audience includes invited leaders of the various disciplines and interests in the horse world, and is normally attended by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal and the Minister for the Horse Industry. There are a small number of tickets available on a first come first served basis for paying guests at a cost of 100 for the day’s event, including a buffet lunch. The Forum provides an outstanding opportunity for networking with the leaders of the horse industry, and represents exceptional value for money for those wishing to engage in continuing professional development. 

The 2009 Forum will be held from 0930 to 1600 on Tuesday 31 March. It is a not-for-profit event that investigates topics of current interest and concern in a non-partisan and non-commercial fashion, with plenty of time for questions. Topics selected are always relevant and frequently controversial. Expressions of support in debate at the Forum can often lead to initiatives going forward, as for example with the formation of the British Grooms Association.

The 2009 Forum will include the following topics:

      Feed, including papers on the impact of biofuels and world food demand, the advantages and disadvantages of additives, and the risks of accidental doping from cross-contamination

      Whether the equestrian world is hobby, sport, recreation or industry

      Progress in setting up the British Grooms Association

      The implications of recent Government policies on developments in work based learning

      A coordinated presentation by the Worshipful Companies of Saddlers, Loriners and Farriers

      Olympic and Paralympic Games, looking back to performances in 2008, and forward to the selection of locations in 2012

      Undergraduate thesis of the year

      Topical spot, this year looking at vaccines and the BEVA laminitis study

If you would like to apply for a ticket, please contact the Hon Secretary, Mrs Tracy Lepkowska, at Warwickshire College, Moreton Morrell, Warwick, CV35 9BL email TLEPKOWSKA@WARKSCOL.AC.UK

 UK: When do the clocks change?  Information to 2011

   "In sicknes and in health"

BHS in sickness and health campaign

   Breaking the Strangles hold

In February 2007, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and British Horse Society (BHS) launched a nationwide Strangles Campaign, which has two aims. The first is to raise awareness of this dreadful equine plague, and the second is to gain support for the research programme.

For this, the target is to raise 250,000 to fund research into the next stages of the development of improved means of diagnosis and prevention – ultimately to eradicate this terrible disease.

The campaign was launched by the President of the AHT, HRH The Princess Royal, at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. It continues to make great progress, with the total raised so far standing at 159,000.

For more information about Strangles and the campaign visit www.strangles.org


   World Horse Welfare (formerly ILPH) 'Make a Noise' campaign

 Coming soon...



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

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

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

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

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

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

    Always wear a helmet

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

    Always wear high visibility clothing

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

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

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

An updated Highway Code was launched in September 2007.

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

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

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

    Make sure that you're insured

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

    If you have an accident...

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

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