Home | Latest News | Updates | Topics | News Archive | Risk Assessment | For Everyone | For Businesses | Strategy | "Waxed Jackets" | Links | Search | About | Contact

Riding Safely

News & Updates for November/December 2008

Riding Safely Logo

   The UK's only Equestrian Safety Newsletter

Site last updated on

Got some news? eemail.gif Let us know   phone.gif 07596 618787

Riding Safely is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News November & December 2008

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


bga_logo_aw.jpgGive your groom a unique gift this Christmas...

With Christmas just around the corner the British Grooms Association (BGA) is asking employers to consider treating their staff to a gift that will last them all year long... a membership to their professional association.

For just 17.50, in addition to being part of an association that supports and understands the importance of grooms to the industry, members also receive exclusive discounts on a number of things including personal accident insurance with SEIB, a 10 Derby House discount voucher and the quarterly magazine – British Grooms which is jam packed with useful tips, advice and stories.

The BGA has been supported by countless top riders who have seen the direct benefits of their grooms becoming members. British Dressage Olympic rider Richard Davison said “All trades should have their own professional association in order to raise standards and keep forward thinking and modern. Thank goodness the important status of grooms is finally beginning to be recognised and the creation of a Grooms Association is central to this.”

Lucy Katan, Executive Director of the BGA said, “We are aware of how employers are suffering from severe staffing recruitment and retention problems. We desperately want to help the employers by promoting the job as a groom and so to encourage more young people to consider the career route. It is also crucial for us to offer support and help to the employer in the areas of staff motivation and retention.  We need our employers to continue to support the association in order for us to continue to provide this much needed help and so by joining their staff up for Christmas is a great way!”

To join your staff is easy – either call 0845 331 6039 or visit www.britishgrooms.org.uk


UK: Is the credit crunch affecting horse welfare?
Despite the many stories in the media (see below) there is no evidence to suggest that the credit crunch is leading to large scale horse abandoment or major welfare issues in the UK. There is no doubt, as with every other industry, that most sectors of the horse industry have seen a downturn in activity. However with uncertainty about the economic future, it appears that most caring owners are looking at what they can do to reduce costs without compromising their horse's welfare.  Find out about some money saving tips from Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

UK: Horse-owners facing tough choices
The economic downturn is hitting Britain's paddocks. Charities say they are getting more calls than ever from owners who can no longer afford to keep their horses. The Horse Trust says it has received 640 requests to retire animals in the past month - four times the usual amount.

See also Horses 'victims of credit crunch'

(BBC News – 7 November 2008)


Buckinghamshire - UK: Speen Horse Trust charity struggles to cope, and animals may have to be put down

“The Bucks Free Press is calling for readers' help to stop horses being put down because of the credit crunch.

Last week we reported the Horse Trust charity in Speen had been inundated by calls from horse owners who were no longer able to afford to keep their animals.

Since that report appeared, the charity has had several calls from people offering to re-home some of the horses.”

(Bucks Free Press - 5 November 2008)


Massachusetts – USA: Horses victimized by economy
Horses are the latest victims of the economy's downward trot.  The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has had an influx of horses surrendered to their facility at Nevins Farm.  The horses are coming from owners who can no longer afford the expensive animals, said Heather Robertson, community outreach coordinator at the facility.  "They're telling us outright that they literally cannot afford to care for the animal anymore, or their home has been foreclosed on," she said.

(Eagle Tribune - 30 November 2008)


Northumberland - UK: Man jailed after horse left starving in field
A MAN who left a horse starving in a field for up to three weeks has been jailed.  Liam Taylor, 27, was already on bail for animal cruelty when an RSPCA officer found Sunshine lying in a field covered with a rug. 
Vets tried for three-and-a-half hours to revive the Chestnut mare, but the horse was put down on humane grounds.

(Northumberland Gazette - 21 November 2008)


UK: RSPCA wins life bans for horse abusers

The RSPCA successfully prosecutes two cruelty cases in the West Midlands.

(Horse & Hound Online - 16 November 2008)


Spain: British woman banned from owning animals in the UK has stables in Cdiz
A British woman, Suzanne Jenkins, who has been ordered by a court in Gloucestershire in the U.K. not to own any animals for two years after causing ‘unnecessary suffering’, is currently running a stables with 35 horses in Medina Sedonia in Cdiz. The Guardia Civil inspected the stables at Medina Sedonia in July and found horses in a dreadful state being kept in dirty facilities but without a technical report from the Junta they cannot act.

(Typically Spanish - 16 November 2008)

Related Report from Horse & Hound


King's Lynn - UK: Dead horse upset for rail passenger
A distressed rail passenger has spoken of her anger after seeing a dead horse left to rot in a field beside the train tracks.

(Lynn News - 24 December 2008)


UK: New evidence set to help horses transported live for slaughter

A pioneering scientific study by World Horse Welfare into the health and welfare of horses being transported across Europe prior to slaughter shows it is 'just about the worst thing you can do'.

(Horse & Hound Online - 19 November 2008)


UK: Work horses are vital in alleviating poverty

The Brooke charity aims to tackle the profile of working horses, ponies and donkeys in developing countries by highlighting their role

(Horse & Hound Online - 2 November 2008)


UK: Defra launches consultation on animal welfare codes of practice

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has launched a consultation on new codes of practices for cats, dogs and horses, that will offer practical advice on animal ownership.

The codes of practice, which will be published on the Defra website and in leaflets, will help animal owners to better understand their duties under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Launching the consultation, Hilary Benn said: "The Animal Welfare Act 2006 has been the most important piece of animal legislation for nearly a century. Animals are now afforded greater protection than ever before. These three new codes of practice will outline the responsibilities of owners under the Act and give practical advice on how to fulfil them. This means no one will be able to claim ignorance as an excuse for mistreating any animal."

The main purpose of the codes is to provide practical guidance on animal owners' responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act. If a person fails to comply with a code of practice they will not be liable to proceedings of any kind, but failure to comply with several provisions may be used in evidence to support a prosecution for animal cruelty.

Information in the codes will include practical advice on how to:

      Create a suitable environment for your animal to live in;

      Provide a healthy diet;

      Spot signs of stress;

      Protect your animal from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Animal owners will also be able to use the codes to find external sources of information on looking after cats, dogs or horses.

Since its introduction in 2007, the Animal Welfare Act has helped organisations bring successful prosecutions to people mistreating animals. Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone convicted of cruelty to an animal could face a prison sentence or a fine up to 20,000.

Consultation on the new codes starts on 4 November 2008 and ends on 31 December 2008.

The consultation documents can be found at the following locations:

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Equines

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats

The Animal Welfare Act was introduced in April 2007. The Act created a duty on anyone responsible for an animal to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the needs and welfare of the animal are met.

(NDS – 4 November 2008)


UK: Christmas donation from The Queen pushes Strangles appeal closer to target

Her Majesty The Queen has made a personal donation to The British Horse Society and The Animal Health Trust's Strangles Appeal for the second year running. Her Majesty sent a cheque to the BHS, of which she has been Patron for more than 60 years, to help the charities fight the terrible disease that attacks horses.

The generous gift, from the Privy Purse Charitable Trust, couldn’t be better timed, as the campaign makes a final push to reach its 250,000 target.

The Queen has taken a personal interest in the ‘Breaking the Strangles hold’ campaign, a joint initiative between The British Horse Society and the Animal Health Trust, and keeps a close eye on efforts to combat the disease. Significant progress has been made this year with the introduction of a blood test to screen for the disease prior to competitions, sales or movement. The test identifies horses that have recently been exposed to the disease, enabling the number and seriousness of outbreaks to be reduced.

There is still a long way to go, however, and the rest of the money is needed to help create and produce a vaccine to eradicate Strangles for good.

BHS Chairman Patrick Print said: "We are very grateful to our Patron The Queen for her most generous gift, which will help fund research to find a fully effective vaccine against Strangles. I have no doubt Her Majesty's example will encourage other horse lovers to give to this worthy cause."

Anyone can donate to the Strangles Appeal by posting a cheque to Strangles Appeal, Animal Health Trust, FREEPOST CB360, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7BR or phoning the AHT to make a donation by credit card or direct debit on 08700 502830.


Virginia - USA: State Veterinarian quarantines farms due to Contagious Equine Metritis

Animal health officials have identified 20 U.S. states that may have mares exposed to Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM). Virginia has quarantined two farms because of exposure to a CEM positive stallion. Click here for more information.

(Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - 23 December 2008)

USA: Two more Kentucky horses test positive for CEM
Two more stallions, both non-Thoroughbreds, have tested positive for contagious equine metritis (CEM) in Central Kentucky, and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has asked United Stakes Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to declare a state of agricultural emergency.  The request is a proactive measure to ensure that sufficient resources, including federal funds, are available to manage the disease outbreak, Farmer said.

(Thoroughbred Times - 20 December 2008)


UK: Bransby Home of Rest for Horses reopens to the public

Bransby Home of Rest for Horses has reopened to the public after being closed for more than two years due to a strangles outbreak.

(Horse & Hound Online - 6 November 2008)


UK: Risk of serious or fatal injury while eventing in Britain is decreasing
British Eventing has released data showing that the chance of suffering a serious or fatal injury while eventing in Britain has gone down for the fifth consecutive year.

(Horse & Hound Online - 3 November 2008)


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 launches webpages dedicated to health and safety in Wales  

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a section of its website dedicated entirely aimed at providing support and advice to individuals and businesses in Wales on maintaining high standards of health and safety in workplaces.

Launching the site, HSE Director for Wales Terry Rose said: "We already work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government, as well as local authorities and a range of other partners in promoting good health and safety in the workplace in Wales.

"There are clearly many areas of common interest including agriculture, healthcare and education, and with a different government situation in Wales, it makes sense to adopt a different approach to providing public information online too."

"This site will allow us to better target online advice and guidance on those parts of HSE's national strategy that are of particular importance to Wales.

"HSE already provides Welsh language facilities through its public information call centre, HSE Infoline. The new site is in response to public demand and will allow us to improve our Welsh language provision, and we are working closely with the Welsh Language Board to ensure this is achieved."

The HSE Wales website gives details of news items, events and advice on protecting against risks to health and safety arising from work activities. It will be developed further in the coming months.


(HSE) Farmers urged to store feed safely after Northamptonshire farm death

The HSE is urging farmers and the animal feed industry to reassess risks associated with feed storage following the death of a young Northamptonshire farmer.

The farmer was killed when a tipping trailer, used for storing animal feed, overbalanced and crushed him. The sleepers that were used to support the trailer were rotten and collapsed under the weight of the feed.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the Northamptonshire Coroner said: "Farmers should look objectively at the practices that they have adopted over many years. Just because they have been doing something in a certain way for a long time does not mean it is safe. In other words they should carry out a risk assessment."

HSE Principal Inspector Samantha Peace said: "It is essential that farmers take on board this advice and take action where necessary. It is important to recognise the dangers of makeshift equipment.

"Purpose made storage bins should be used for storage of animal feed but if trailers have to be used then they should remain attached to a tractor if the trailer body is raised."

When unhitched trailers are used, HSE advises the following precautions:

        The trailer should not rely on the hydraulics for continuous support. Suitable props or ram scotches must be used.

        The wheels need to be chocked as trailer parking brakes are often unreliable and on a twin axle trailer may only brake one axle which will be ineffective if weight transfers to the rear.

        Stability - the means to prevent the trailer tipping over backwards should be equally effective as being hitched to a tractor - e.g. by securing the draw-bar to the ground or providing a counter balance, at the hitching point, equivalent to the weight of the tractor normally used on that trailer.

        Whatever the method of storage, it should be inspected regularly for signs of deterioration which could affect the structural integrity. Any defects must be rectified immediately.

HSE have asked the feed industry to bring this incident to the attention of farms where they deliver into similar facilities. Using trailers as feed bins creates a real safety risk that needs to be sensibly managed to prevent harm to farmers, their families and their businesses.



HSE Myth of the month – November 2008

Myth: Children need to be wrapped in cotton wool to keep them safe

The reality

Health and safety law is often used as an excuse to stop children taking part in exciting activities, but well-managed risk is good for them. It engages their imagination, helps them learn and even teaches them to manage risks for themselves in the future. They won’t understand about risk if they’re wrapped in cotton wool.

Risk itself won’t damage children, but ill-managed and overprotective actions could!

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


UK: Petition hopes to create new bridleways

In a bid to improve off-road accessibility and safety for horse riders, an online petition to the Prime Minister is calling for funding and legislation to create new public bridleways.

The petition has been launched by Sue Jeggo, former British Horse Society (BHS) Access Officer for Cambridge (1996 – 2006) and recipient of the BHS’s prestigious 2002 Sefton Award for outstanding work in the field of riding and road safety.

Sue explained to Riding Safely “The Government has abandoned its 'lost highways' project; volunteers simply don’t have the resources to research and claim lost bridleways, so what we need are new linking bridleways to rejoin what’s already there, and in a way that's more compatible with modern land use, rather than the old bridleways in straight lines that were used for trade and travel. It needs funding and government support.”

The petition reads “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to provide funding and use legislation for creation of new public bridleways. 

Horse Riders have access to less than 25% of the current public rights of way network, and face danger when using today’s busy roads.

To ensure appropriate funding is in place and legislation (Highway Act 1980 S26) to be used by local authorities for new bridleways to be shown on definitive maps and ordnance survey maps.

To ensure the Highway Agency develops a national programme of re-instating severed crossing points by creating new dedicated bridle bridges or underpasses as safe crossing points for motorways or trunk roads.

To ensure Local authorities and parish councils develop local joined up community riding circuits of 5-15 miles to rebuild the national bridle route network.”

So far 2,556 people have signed the petition.  Sue adds “The petition is going steadily, but we need more names, as the more that sign up, the better chance we have of being taken seriously.”

The petition is open until 28 May 2009 and can be found at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/publicbridleways/



Verndale – Minnesota – USA: 42 Horses perish in barn fire

42 horses were killed in a barn blaze - foul play is not suspected.

(Postbullentin.com – 22 December 2008)


France: Twenty-five horses killed in French equestrian centre fire
Twenty-five horses have died in a fire at an equestrian centre in Trieux, Lorraine, north-east France with only 4 horses surviving the blaze

(Horse & Hound Online - 10 November 2008)


Tacoma - WA – USA: Space heater fell, started fire that killed 15 horses
An electric space heater fell and started the barn fire that killed 15 horses in a boarding stable in rural Pierce County, fire officials say.

(TheNewsTribune.com – 13 December 2008)


Surrey – England – UK: Horses killed in 'suspicious' stable blaze 
Six foals and two adult horses have died following a 'suspicious' fire at an outbuilding in Green Lane, Chertsey.  Seven animals were killed in the blaze, which broke out just after 6pm, and one had to be put down at the scene by an RSPCA vet after receiving serious injuries. It is not yet known how the fire started, and police are treating the blaze as suspicious.

(The Surrey Herald – 8 December 2008)


Houston - Texas - USA:  Stable Fire Kills 9 Horses, Ruled Arson

Nine of the 11 horses kept at the Special Pals Riding Stable died after being trapped in a fire investigators have ruled was arson.

(MyFox Houston – 20 December 2008)


USA: Eight horses trapped, killed in Windham fire

A fire at a Windham farm killed eight horses trapped in a barn. The barn fire broke out at about 4:30 a.m.  A young woman who lived at the farm burned her hand when she tried to open the stable door to rescue the horses, but was unable to get in because of the heat and flames, said Windham Fire Chief Charles Hammond. She told fire officials that it appeared the horses were unconscious. The Fire Chief added that the damage is so extensive that it may never be known how the barn fire started.

(Portland Press Herald - 10 December 2008)


UK: Disaster averted at racehorse charity after fire breaks out
Fast action by staff at Greatwood, a charity that cares for ex-racehorses, averted disaster when a fire broke out.  It is thought that the fire was started by a faulty lightbulb, which exploded with sparks setting fire to the bedding.

(Horse & Hound Online - 6 November 2008)


Northamptonshire - UK: Firecrews battle a blazing 200 tonne manure heap
Northants Fire and Rescue were called to put out a manure heap blaze.

(Horse & Hound Online - 24 November 2008)


Radnage - Buckinghamshire - UK: Car jump-start sparks barn fire

Around 180 tonnes of hay were destroyed and farming machinery damaged after an open-sided barn caught fire after a spark from a jump lead to start a car hit a nearby hay bale on New Year’s Eve.

(Bucks Free Press – 2 January 2009)


Wales - UK: Grass fire 'started deliberately'
A grass fire on 49 acres (20 hectares) of a mountain in Carmarthenshire was started deliberately, say fire chiefs. Crews were called to the Black Mountain near Ammanford on Monday evening, but the fire was allowed to burn because it was too dangerous for firefighters. But Mid and West Wales Fire Service was called out again on Tuesday morning over concerns 15 horses located nearby are being put under threat.

(BBC News Online – 30 December 2008)


Yorkshire - UK: Farm shop grotto wrecked by blaze
A fire which tore through part of a farm shop near York saw the daring rescue of a trapped reindeer by the store’s owner. The Christmas grotto at the farm shop was gutted in the blaze, which emergency services believe was the result of an electrical fault.

(The Press - 2nd December 2008)



Wiltshire – UK: Fake horse brought in to train firefighters
A life sized mannequin horse and other specialised equipment has been brought in at a cost of 14,000 to help firefighters train in animal rescue.  The fake horse, which is 15 hands high, has been funded by the Wiltshire branches of the RSPCA to allow Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to practise the specialist techniques used to save animals that have got into trouble.

(This is Wiltshire.co.uk - 28 November 2008)


Nottinghamshire - UK: Fire crews rescue horse from stream

A horse had to be rescued by 12 firemen after it became stuck in a stream at Sutton-in-Ashfield. It is expected to make a full recovery.

(this is nottingham.co.uk - 20 December 2008)


Hampshire - UK: New Forest pony rescued from barb wire fencing

A pony that was found tangled in a wire fence in Keyhaven Marshes in the New Forest is expected to make a full recovery.

(Horse & Hound Online - 24 November 2008)


Oxfordshire – UK: Horse play leads to equine rescue
A horse had to be rescued by firefighters from a ditch in Stratton Audley on Saturday. The horse was said to be making a full recovery.

(Oxford Mail - 30 November 2008)


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.

Stoke-on-Trent – UK:  Horse killed when rear ramp on trailer opened while in transit
Police would like to speak to anyone who has suffered a faulty trailer incident after a horse was killed when the ramp of the trailer in which she was travelling fell down.

(Horse & Hound Online - 19 November 2008)


Readers of the Horse & Hound Forum were quick to respond and the Police Officer heading the investigation “posted” seeking help:

“Hi all,
I know that this is quite unconventional, but I am the police officer heading this investigation.
We really need to ensure that this does not happen again to anyone else. I also have horses and fully understand the feelings and concerns that arise when incidents like this happen.
I am urgently trying to find other people that have experienced issues with the rear ramp of trailers falling, especially when a collision has occured as a result.
For obvious reasons, I cannot disclose the make of this trailer until we are further in our investigation.
I have already spoken with some people that have posted here but really need to see if we have others out there.
If so, it is vital that you contact me please on 0300 1234455 and ask for myself, PC 827 Kate Hardt from Rugeley police station.  Thanks in advance for your help.”

Read all the posts on this subject


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.

UK: Derbyshire rider who died in fall is named
An inquest has heard how 43-year-old Loretta Jane Topliss of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, died on Saturday 15 November as a result of falling from her horse after it was spooked while she was riding on the road.

(Horse & Hound Online - 20 November 2008)


New York – USA: Woman dies after spooked horse bolts

Experienced rider Margie Smith has circulated an email detailing the accident which killed her friend, Patty O’Neal, on 1 November in New York’s Mendon Ponds Park.   On the trip to the park one of the horses in the trailers became distressed, spooking some of the others.   To try to settle hers down, Ms O’Neal mounted him, hoping to ‘ride off’ his fears.   She wasn’t wearing a riding hat.   At the same time the original distressed horse, now being ridden, bucked and took off, unseating his rider and causing the saddle to slip and hang beneath him.   In the fracas, Ms O’Neal’s head was smashed against a low branch, causing her to fall to the ground resulting in extensive injuries from which she couldn’t possibly recover.

(Riding Safely – 7 November 2008)


Denmark: 14 year old girl dies after fall from horse

TV2 Denmark reports that a 14-year-old girl died on Sunday 3 November after falling from a horse and landing on her head.   The girl was out riding near her home in Assens, on the Danish island of Fyn.  She was still conscious when the ambulance took her to Odense University Hospital, but sadly doctors couldn't save her and she died of internal bleeding.  According to police, she wasn't wearing a riding hat when the accident happened.

(TV2 Denmark - 3 November 2008)


Telford – England – UK: Woman injured loading horse
A woman from north Shropshire was airlifted to hospital on Saturday (8 November) after she was injured loading a horse. It is believed she was loading a horse into a horsebox when the animal panicked and backed out of the horsebox, falling on her. The woman was airlifted to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital but had not suffered serious injuries, and was discharged with bad bruising.

(Shropshire Star – 10 November 2008)


UK: Huntsman in horrific accident
A hunt follower was horrifically injured when he fell from his horse - and was impaled on the horn of his hunting whip. Tom Pitman, 38, was riding with the Beaufort Hunt when his horse Winston smashed through a gate and threw him off.  He landed on the handle of his whip, which punched a two-and-a-half inch hole into his back below his shoulder blade. Hunt secretary Nigel Maidment dialled 999 and Tom was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he was kept in overnight and discharged the following day.

(Gazette & Herald – 10 November 2008)


Diss - England – UK: Woman airlifted to hospital after being kicked during clipping
A woman was airlifted to hospital with serious chest injuries on Wednesday after being kicked by a horse.

The 38-year-old was clipping a horse at Hill Farm in Bressingham when it kicked her "square in the chest".

She suffered broken ribs and a possible fractured sternum and was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital because of its cardio-thorasics capabilities.

(Diss Express – 5 November 2008)


Auckland - New Zealand:  Horse falls on top jockey
One of the country's leading female jockeys is thankful to be alive tonight after she was pinned beneath a half-tonne horse in a freak accident.

Trudy Thornton was riding at Ellerslie Racecourse when - seconds into the race - her horse suddenly collapsed and died before it even hit the ground.

(3 News NZ - 30 November 2008)


Austrailia: Hugh Jackman's near death experience
"Hugh Jackman dodged death during a horse-riding stunt on the set of new movie Australia, thanks to the stuffy rules set by the film's safety officer.  Jackman was left red-faced when the officer, on-set on the insistence of the film's insurers, forced him to wear a helmet and padding for a training exercise with a bucking horse.
But the precaution saved him from a certain death, when the horse violently threw him on the ground."

(Contactmusic.com - 27 November 2008)


Melton Mowbray – Leicestershire – UK: Warning after horse is killed in horror crash
Riders who were involved in a horrific accident that killed a horse are calling on drivers to be wary on country roads.

(Melton Today - 24 December 2008)


UK: Horse dies after being hit by a car
A horse has died following a collision with a car in Ullenwood, Gloucestershire.

(Horse & Hound Online - 7 November 2008)


UK: Lucky escape for Four Shires rider after fall from bridge

Rider unscathed after her horse dies of a suspected heart attack out with the Four Shires Bloodhounds

(Horse & Hound Online - 1 November 2008)



UK: Appeal court victory a 'great result' for riding schools
The owner of a Surrey riding school is delighted not to be liable for compensation after a rider was bucked off.

(Horse & Hound Online - 8 November 2008)

Read the Judgement: Freeman v Higher Park Farm [2008] EWCA Civ 1185 (30 October 2008)


UK: Appeal for liability law change after Chris Kinane settlement

Racehorse owners and trainers have renewed calls for changes in the law that says horse owners can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their animals.

(Horse & Hound Online - 30 November 2008)


Nottingham - England - UK: Horse woman's death 'accidental' 

An inquest jury has returned a verdict of accidental death in the case of a Nottinghamshire woman who was kicked in the head by a horse. Lucie Simpson, 20, from Carlton, died in May at the West Bridgford Equestrian Centre, after helping a vet with a mare and its foal. Nottingham Coroner's Court heard the vet had tried to resuscitate her but she died from bleeding on the brain.

(BBC News Online – 14 November 2008)


UK: lantra-logo.jpg

Connect magazine - Autumn 2008

Lantra’s latest issue of Connect is the magazine for everyone with an interest in the environmental and land-based industries. Its inclusion of a special four-page feature all about Lantra’s summer Skills for Our Nation campaign makes it the biggest issue to date. Its 48 pages are packed full of information, news of events and inspiring case studies. Equine and Farriery information can be found on pages 32 to 35.

Access the publication


UK: Equistudy - ‘Good yards Safe yards’ 

‘Good yards Safe yards’ is a new mini-magazine from Equistudy with tips from top professionals designed to help everyone get the most out of their time spent with horses - safely.

Download the latest edition   icon_pdf.gif


UK:  The Bulletin

The Bulletin is a hidden gem for anyone interested in equestrian access issues. Produced by the Access Department of the British Horse Society it provides updates on equestrian access issues through a free monthly email newsletter.  For more information and to see a sample of the newsletter visit the BHS Access off - road riding page.


UK: Farrier writes horse safety book to record traditional methods
A farrier with 40 years' experience in the trade is writing a book to pass on his advice on keeping safe around horses to younger generations.

(Horse & Hound Online - 15 November 2008)


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

UK: New Forest National Park Plan Consultation Draft - update

The draft National Park Plan sets out the long-term vision and objectives for the National Park, together with the policies and actions for the next 5 years and beyond. It combines two important statutory documents in a single integrated plan. These are the National Park Management Plan and the Local Development Framework Core Strategy including Development Control policies. It is hoped that this will make the overall approach proposed for the National Park clearer for interested organisations and individuals.

The formal consultation on the draft National Park Plan and draft Recreation Management Strategy closed on Friday 14 November.

The Authority received around 9,000 responses to the draft Park Plan and the draft Recreation Management Strategy. The figure is made up of 900 completed response forms, letters or e-mails from individuals and organisations, of which initial analysis suggests that 65% have raised objections to the recreational horse-keeping policy; 900 standard letters or variations of the letter from NFDOG; and approximately 7,200 signatures on a petition by the Forest Uprising Group.

Find out more

  Remember, remember the fifth of November

Minimise the risk to your horse from fireworks.

  Advice from the British Horse Society

  BHS Safety Fireworks poster

  BHS horses & fireworks incident report form

  Firework Law


New Zealand: Fireworks spook horse to its death
Fireworks set off next to the Te Atatu Pony Club spooked a horse named Kracker, causing it to bolt and badly wound itself.  The horse was injured so severely that it had to be put down, leaving its 14-year-old owner devastated.

(TVNZ - 29 October 2008)


UK: Police horse survives being hit by firework during violent football clash
A police horse and officer that were struck by a firecracker at the football derby on 25 October between Sunderland and Newcastle are not injured.

(Horse & Hound Online - 28 October 2008)

 NEC - Birmingham - UK: BETA International 2009 February 15 -17

Sand Horses
Click to see more pictures

BETA International, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2009, is the world’s foremost equestrian and country trade exhibition. Admission is strictly trade only.

Researchers from BBC2’s Dragons’ Den show will be attending the trade exhibition seeking potential equestrian entrepreneurs with ingenious products and market-ready business plans. 

Dragons’ Den has previously attended BETA International. But for the first time this year, the production team plans to conduct on-camera auditions with filming taking place during the exhibition.

Pictured above is the sand sculpture completed by Andrew Baynes; the result of three days performance art that took centre stage at last year's show.

 UK: Find out how apprenticeships can benefit your business with LANTRA - 23 to 27 February 2009

Lantra is pleased to host a number of free events in support of Apprenticeship Week in England (23 - 27 February 2009) to raise awareness of apprenticeships in the environmental and land-based industries and highlight how they can benefit your business.

These inspiring and interactive events will include a range of informative presentations from apprentices, training providers and employers currently engaged in a range of exciting apprenticeship programmes.

National Director for England, Madge Moore, said: "Apprenticeships have a central role to play helping firms maintain and improve business productivity during the economic downturn and these events will give businesses the opportunity to find out how."

Come and join us at one of the following events:

Monday 23 February, 10.30am - 2.00pm, Myerscough College - includes free entrance to the golf simulator

Tuesday 24 February, 6.00pm - 9.00pm, Corporate Training Centre at Elm Bank, Coventry - includes a floristry masterclass

Wednesday 25 February, 12.30pm, Wolverhampton Racecourse - includes free entrance into the races

Thursday 26 February, 10.30am - 2.00pm, British Racing School, Newmarket - includes access to a training provider marketplace

Friday 27 February, 10.30am - 2.00pm, Duchy College, Cornwall.

For more information or to book your place visit www.lantra.co.uk/apprenticeships

email events@lantra.co.uk or call 0845 707 8007.

Deadline for registrations is Wednesday 18th February 2009.

 South West - UK: Equestrian development in the Mendip Hills AONB meetings - 2&3 March 2009

On Monday 2nd March at Westbury-sub-Mendip Village Hall, and on Tuesday 3rd March at Bleadon Youth Club Hall 7.00 to 9.15 pm, meetings will be held to highlight the importance of good practice in equestrian activities.
Organised by the Mendip Hills AONB Service, AONB Planning Liaison Officer Jonathan Richards said ‘In recent years there has been a significant increase of farm land in and around the AONB being used for equestrian activity. We recognise the pleasure that horse keeping and riding can bring and the benefits that equestrian development may have to local economies. We want to promote good pasture management to reduce the impact on wildlife habitats and ensure that new equestrian buildings fit into the landscape.’
The meetings will have presentations from an expert in equestrian matters and landscape protection who has been pioneering regional guidance in SE England, and the Somerset Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group who advise on pasture management. It is also hoped that Avon & Somerset Police will be attending to promote the ‘Horsewatch’ scheme. There will be opportunity to ask questions and discuss relevant issues.
The meetings are aimed at equestrian businesses, landowners and people keeping horses in the AONB, as well as local elected councillors who comment on proposals for equestrian development.
You will find the suggested programme by clicking on Equestrian Workshops Programme
Whilst there is no charge for attending, please book a place by contacting Mendip Hills AONB Service on 01761 462338 or email mendiphills@somerset.gov.uk

 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

    UK: Dragon's Den star Deborah Meaden supports horse riding campaign

Business woman and TV personality Deborah Meaden has become the latest celebrity to show her support for Hoof — a London-based campaign to encourage city-dwellers to take up horse riding.

(Horse & Hound Online - 8 October 2008)


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.

Get more from Riding Safely

  Riding Safely is a free subscription newsletter.

  If you’d like future editions of the Riding Safely newsletter emailed to you then click on the link below.

Please add me to your free email subscription list

  Your e-mail address will only be used for the purpose of letting you know about Riding Safely updates. It will not be used for any other purposes whatsoever or passed onto third parties

  Whenever you see text underlined in blue click on it to go to either the full story or other related information - for example Riding Safely
  Each News topic area will be categorised by topic - for example  DOG ATTACK  
Click on any underlined topic where the mouse pointer turns into a hand symbol to get more detailed information.  You can also search the entire Riding Safely site for related reports and information.

  22/01/09 Diary dates section updated.
  15/01/09 For Everyone section updated.
  09/01/09 Fire section updated.
  08/01/09 Finally... section updated.
  24/12/08 Disease section and scrolling News Headlines updated.
  21/12/08 Disease and Rescue sections updated.
  13/12/08 Horse Attacks and Other sections updated.
  08/12/08 Welfare section updated.
  06/12/08 For Everyone section added.
  01/12/08 Other News, Legal, Rescue, Welfare and Accident Sections updated.
  30/11/08 Site Maintenance.
  27/11/08 Rescue, Fire, HSE and Accident Sections updated.
  25/11/08 People Welfare and Rescue Sections updated.
  24/11/08 Transport Section updated.