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Riding Safely

News & Updates for October 2008

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News October 2008
Welcome back...

Welcome to the new-style Riding Safely newsletter!   We've been going for just over four years, so we decided to change the format.   If you've missed us in your Inbox lately, that's because we wanted to get it right.   Meanwhile we've gone on producing monthly reports, and you can catch up with them on the Past News page.   But if you're pressed for time, we'll still be bringing you up to date on the key news reports of 2008.

We now report on more global issues - health, safety and welfare are common issues wherever you are.   Other countries have much to share in this respect, and Riding Safely will be bringing you all we've learned from them.   And on that score, we'd like to welcome our new subscribers from around the world, particularly those in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Over the coming months there's still a lot to do to finish updating the Riding Safely website.   We're here to promote and improve equestrian and equine health, safety and welfare.   But we need your help.   If there's something you'd like to see covered, or an area where you'd like to see more emphasis, let us know!   The same goes if you'd like us to publicise an event or a campaign, or you need help with research, or have any comments.   Your input is vital.   Have we got our information right?   Could it be better?   Would you like to contribute?   Feel free to chip in by emailing editor.ridingsafelyuk@yahoo.co.uk

Remember, we don't just report the news.   We try to provide solutions as well.   Hopefully, together we can make the horse world a better place for everyone, including our equine friends.


Important News for the month

Dark winter months are attractive times for arsonists to strike.  Over the past month we've seen two suspected attacks.  Go to our  FIRE  section to find out how to protect your premises from arson while picking up winter fire prevention tips from equestrian fire specialist Harry Paviour.



Highly respected, leading FEI vet Bob Baskerville is at home recovering after surgery following a kick from a sedated thoroughbred.  Speaking to Horse & Hound he said: "I consider myself to be very lucky this time, but would like to remind everyone not to become complacent when working around horses — especially their feet".  I'd like to wish Bob a very speedy recovery.  Leaving aside his particular case, I'd echo his thoughts.  Riders, owner riders and professionals sometimes become complacent around our four-legged friends.  There are many reasons for the unfortunate accidents that happen to our horses and riders.  Let's make sure that complacency isn't one of them.


Ken Law



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: Horse therapy helps 'unique' boy
The parents of a four-year-old with a rare genetic disorder say he is being helped by horse riding.  Dyfan Wynne, from Wrexham, is the only known child in Britain with the condition called 'Chromosome 8 deletion'.  It has left him with poor eyesight, learning difficulties and the need for heart operations.

But hippotherapy, physiotherapy on horseback, has helped him learn to walk and increased his self-confidence.  The youngster progressed so well with the hippotherapy sessions that he is now in the 'vaulting' classes - effectively gymnastic movements on horseback.  Dyfan's mother Helen said the treatment for her son has changed his life.

(BBC News - 17 October 2008)


UK: Riding for the Disabled launches volunteer recruitment plan
The RDA is launching a new programme to boost the number of its volunteers.

(Horse & Hound Online - 5 October 2008)


UK: Pay increase for stable staff at racing yards

Stable staff at racing yards are to get higher wages from November and an increase in holidays.

(Horse & Hound Online - 20 October 2008)



UK: Beat the Credit Crunch

Redwings Horse Sanctuary offers some money saving tips to horse owners as the UK economic situation worsens.

Find out about other welfare issues from Redwings


UK: Breeder Suzanne Jenkins banned from owning horses in the UK
The RSPCA has successfully prosecuted a former Gloucestershire woman who allowed her horses to become severely underweight. The charity has also sent an inspector to Spain where more of the woman's horses are said to be starving

(Horse & Hound Online - 24 October 2008)


UK: New equine cancer unit opens at Cambridge University
Horses with cancer have a better chance of recovery thanks to the extension of a cancer therapy unit at the University of Cambridge.  The Queen's Veterinary Hospital at the university is the only facility in Europe offering radiotherapy for horses. Last week it opened a new building to house a radiotherapy machine designed to treat animals.

(Horse & Hound Online - 18 October 2008)


UK: One-eyed Laddy poses to raise horse welfare awareness

Laddy, World Horse Welfare's one-eyed horse appears in the new book Equus by photographer Tim Flach.

(Horse & Hound Online - 6 October 2008)

USA: 9-month sentence in case of starved horses
An American Judge has sentenced a woman who pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree animal cruelty to nine months in jail for mistreating her horses.

(Seattle Post Intelligencer - 17 October 2008)



UK: Teenagers admit to killing Shetland ponies in Shropshire
Two teenagers have admitted shooting two Shetland ponies at a care home in May.

(Horse & Hound Online - 20 October 2008)


UK: Horse dies after being shot in the neck in Surrey
A horse was fatally wounded after being shot in the neck in Godstone on 24 September.

(Horse & Hound Online - 1 October 2008)


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. The course fee is 40 and this includes registration fees and all necessary learning and assessment materials, however if you are between 16 and 18 years old the course is absolutely free.  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: Hunt staff can continue to choose headgear, rules MFHA
Hunts across the UK express their relief that, following a hat safety review, staff can continue to wear a Patey if they choose.

(Horse & Hound Online - 23 October 2008)


USA: US Polo Association sets hat standards for riders
The US Polo Association is the first in the world to set rules over headgear for the sport.

(Horse & Hound Online - 18 October 2008)


UK: Thousands rally to oppose plans for New Forest
Protestors from as far afield as Birmingham, Kent, Surrey and Cornwall, rallied near Southampton on Saturday to oppose the New Forest National Park's draft plan for equestrian use

(Horse & Hound Online - 6 October 2008)


UK: Yorkshire riders call for curb on speeding drivers
Riders in North Yorkshire have called for action to slow down drivers following a series of accidents.

(Horse & Hound Online - 11 October 2008)



France: Zara Phillips breaks her collarbone as horror fall kills favourite horse

Zara Phillips has broken her collarbone in a riding accident in which her horse was killed.

The Queen's granddaughter was taking part in a cross-country event at Pau near the French Pyrenees on Saturday (25 October) when her horse Tsunami II fell at a fence and broke its neck. Her spokesman said she was 'devastated' by the horse's death.

(Mail Online – 26 October 2008)


USA:  Engineers look to develop safer horse jumps

Cross-country course designers and engineers are teaming up in the US to develop safer jumps to help prevent serious horse and rider injuries and deaths.

Course builder and designers, including US Equestrian Federation President and licensed course designer David O'Connor, will join with faculty and students at the University of Kentucky, forming a multidisciplinary team to develop and demonstrate additional frangible technology for cross-country fences.

(horsetalk.co.nz – 9 October 2008)


UK: Elite event riders may be licensed to improve safety
The FEI is considering introducing licences for four-star riders under plans to improve levels of safety in eventing.

(Horse & Hound Online - 31 October 2008)



Texas – USA: Equine encephalitis found in Denton County horse
Two horses in Texas, one of them in Denton County, have been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The Denton County horse had been vaccinated. According to information from the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas is one of seven states where EEE has been reported this year in horses.

The disease is spread by infected mosquitoes and can be transmitted to humans. Horses with mosquito-borne encephalitic viruses such as EEE, Western Equine Encephalitis, or West Nile Virus may stagger, appear confused, and act erratically.  “The disease is not so much killing the horse, it’s what it may cause the horse to do, (such as) fall over or fall asleep while drinking and drown,” said Dr. Dean Hansen, of the Little Elm Breezeway Animal Clinic.  In 2002 when West Nile Virus was first detected in Texas, 1,699 equine animals were stricken with infection. West Nile vaccine has helped cut those case numbers from 716 in 2003 to two cases in 2008.  “Vaccinating against mosquito-borne diseases has to be a part of routine equine health care. Don’t stop just because case numbers drop,” Schwartz said.  “As good as vaccines are at protecting against infection, there are rare times when a vaccinated animal will still contract disease. That is no reason to avoid vaccinating your animals,” he added.

(McKinney Courier Gazette - 17 October 2008) 

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Fact Sheet (CDC)


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.

Gloucestershire – UK: Pony Club releases statement over death of 15 year old member

The chairman of the Pony Club has extended the organisation's deepest sympathies to family and friends of Jade South, the 15-year-old member who died at a rally on 30 October. Jade, from Linton, Ross-on-Wye, was crushed by her 16hh horse Oz in a rotational fall at a South Herefordshire and Ross Harriers Pony Club Rally, held at Pauntley Court Farm cross country course in Gloucestershire.

(Horse & Hound Online - 31 October 2008)


Sussex – UK: Warning after motorist and promising young event horse killed in road accident
Kate Ludden is warning other owners to be vigilant after her horse was hit by a car after gates were left open allowing him to stray on to the road.

(Horse & Hound Online - 30 October 2008)


Buckinghamshire - UK: Top equine vet expected to make full recovery after kick by horse

Leading FEI vet Bob Baskerville is home after four hours of surgery following a kick from a thoroughbred, but warning owners to be constantly vigilant around their horses

(Horse & Hound Online - 21 October 2008)


UK: Racehorse dies of heart attack on gallops and crushes rider Work rider Michelle Bentham is recovering from being crushed when the horse she was riding collapsed due to a heart attack.

(Horse & Hound Online - 31 October 2008)


Plymouth – UK: Police appeal after school bus kills horse
A bus driver who hit and killed a horse being ridden on Dartmoor with a minibus full of children is wanted by police.  Officers in Tavistock said a white private hire minibus had hit a horse at the local beauty spot known as The Rock on the Crapstone Road in Yelverton between 3.30pm and 4pm on Wednesday 15 October.

(Plymouth Evening Herald – 18 October 2008)


UK: Network Rail rejects blame for horse electrocution
Network Rail has dismissed claims that it was to blame for the death of a horse by refusing to switch off the electricity current on a railway.  A six-month-old cob called Husher was electrocuted after falling on to the track between Aldershot and Farnham in Hampshire on 28 September.

(Horse & Hound Online - 18 October, 2008)


Gloucester - England – UK: Horse killed on busy road
(The Forester – 29 October 2008)


UK: Police horse is hurt in crash
A Police horse was injured after being involved in a collision with a Range Rover in Rochdale town centre.

(Rochdale Observer - 18 October 2008)


UK: Mourners watch in horror as horse-drawn funeral carriage overturns and smashes into two cars
Three people were injured when a horse-drawn carriage dramatically overturned after two of the animals pulling it bolted, flipping the coffin into the street.  The hearse, carrying the coffin of Caroline Thompson, 79, struck a street bollard and careered into cars after two of the four horses pulling it darted away.  The startled horses fled the Ipswich street before being recaptured 15 minutes later. One person was treated in hospital for a bruised hip and broken nose, while another two escaped with minor injuries.

(Daily Mail - 17 October 2008)


UK: Contractors not prosecuted after horse was electrocuted
A rider whose horse was electrocuted by a damaged cable has spoken of her disgust that the company responsible have not been prosecuted.

(Horse & Hound Online - 16 October 2008)


Calgary - Alberta – Canada: Twelve horses killed in Canadian freeway accident

A 50-foot transport trailer carrying 44 horses tipped over on Deerfoot Trail killing 12 horses.

(Calgary Herald  - 18 October, 2008)



Wales - UK: Serial arsonist fears after dogs die in fire
Residents are worried that a serial arsonist might be on the loose after two pet dogs were burnt alive in a suspected arson attack at a stable in Clydach.

(WalesOnline - 16 October 2008)


Morecambe – England – UK: Horses rescued from stable blaze

Two horses were led to safety by their owner after a suspected arson attack on their stable.
(Lakeland Echo - 28 October 2008)


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

Consultations, Reviews, Research & Surveys
  Help needed

  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)


 UK: DEFRA / AHT / BEVA Equine Quarterly Disease Surveillance Report - Volume 4, No.2: April – June 2008

Highlights in this issue:

• Australian EIV Outbreak Report

• Grass Sickness Research Results

 UK: BHS National Coaching Conference - 10 November 2008 - Stoneleigh Park - phone 01926 707799 or training@bhs.org.uk

 UK: When do the clocks change?  Information to 2011

   "In sicknes and in health"

BHS in sickness and health campaign

The ‘In sickness and in health’ fundraising campaign is designed to support the BHS’s work of preventing the suffering of thousands of horses and ponies, which it does by providing expert advice across a broad range of equine topics.

Read more




   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)

  2/11/08 Latest News - Welfare, Rider Protection, Horse Attacks, Campaigns and Seasonal (Fireworks) Sections updated. Rider Protection and Horse Attacks pages added. Links page updated with details of The Laminitis Clinic.
  1/11/08 October News - Scrolling news ticker updated. Accident, Roads and Eventing Sections updated. Roads, Byways & rights of Way page added
  30/10/08 Latest News - Fire and Seasonal (Fireworks) Section updated. 
  29/10/08 Latest News - Eventing, Other News and Accident Sections updated. Eventing page updated.
  27/10/08 Latest News - Eventing Section updated. Eventing page added.
  26/10/08 Scrolling news ticker updated.
  25/10/08 Latest News - Training Section updated. Training page added.
  21/10/08 Latest News - Fire Section updated. Fire Prevention page added.
  20/10/08 Latest News - Accidents, Rescue, Other News, Finally... and Welfare Sections updated
  19/10/08 Latest News - Accidents, Rescue, Disease, Legal and Welfare Sections updated
  18/10/08 Latest News - Accidents Section updated
  17/10/08 October News page added

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Devon – UK: Stuck horse rescued
An award winning horse was rescued by local firefighters after it fell down a 12ft ditch between a wall and a stable building.

(Tavistock Times Gazette - 17 October 2008)


Essex – UK: Horse rescued from ditch
The Gazette – Colchester (17 October 2008)



UK:  Minimum Wage increased

An increase in the national minimum wage from 5.52 to 5.73 an hour for adult workers came into force on 1 October 2008.

The statutory hourly rate for 18 to 22-year-olds has also risen from 4.60 to 4.77 and for 16 and 17-year-olds has lifted from 3.40 to 3.53.

The rise comes with a warning from the government that it is proposing stricter penalties for bosses who fail to pay.

Read more from the BGA


Read more from HM Revenue & Customs


UK: 2008 British Equestrian Directory released

With its listing of 21,000 equestrian specialists and businesses in more than 250 categories, the 2008 British Equestrian Directory (BED) is now available.  Each entry comes complete with telephone number, website and email addresses for instant access to everything equestrian from riding schools to tackshops, equine dentists to livery yards.  The BED is packed with information it’s impossible to find elsewhere, even on the internet.  New for 2008 are animal sitters, allergy control specialists, clipping services, equestrian estate agents, hay and haylage suppliers, horse walker manufacturers, freeze marking services, recruitment agencies and event horse breeders.  The updated BED also contains revised listings of equine therapists including those specialising in acupuncture, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and herbal remedies; while firm favourites range from side-saddle and dressage trainers to rosette suppliers, cross country courses for hire and fencing contractors.  Whatever your equestrian interest, the BED can help you track down that elusive contact.  Western retailers, nutritionists, magazines, shipping agents and bridleway groups are featured, along with farriers, Icelandic horse breeders and animal behaviourists.  The BED is priced at just 16 postage free in the UK.

To obtain a copy telephone 01937 582111 or email clairm@beta-int.com



UK: Yogi Briesner wins The Queen’s Award for Equestrianism
Olympic eventing team trainer and former Olympic gold medal-winning horse rider Yogi Breisner has been given The Queen's Award for Equestrianism by the British Horse Society (BHS).  The Princess Royal presented Yogi with the award at Buckingham Palace yesterday (16 October).  Yogi was chosen by the BHS board of trustees "for outstanding services" to the horse worldBHS chairman Patrick Print said: "Yogi is unquestionably one of the great equestrian trainers of our time.

Horse & Hound Online - (17 October 2008)


UK: Sefton Awards 2008 - Safety heroes recognised 

Heroes in the field of equestrian safety were honoured at The British Horse Society’s Sefton Awards, held at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment's Barracks, Knightsbridge, London.

The awards mark outstanding contribution in the field of riding and road safety. They can go to anyone who, through their achievements, has raised awareness of the need for riding and road safety.

This year there were two recipients of the prestigious award, Alison Brown from Sinnington in Yorkshire and Rose Horrex from Gwent, South East Wales.

click to enlarge
Alison Brown receiving her Sefton Award

Alison Brown was recognised for her total dedication to safety. She joined the Safety Advisory Committee in 2003 since when her knowledge, practical attitude and lively sense of humour have been highly valued. She has been involved with Riding and Road Safety for many years and is well-known for her depth of knowledge, practical down-to-earth common sense and quick wit. Mrs Brown said: “I would like to thank my family and the staff at our riding school, Friars Hill, because without their help I could not dedicate myself to the safety work which has taken me to all corners of the British Isles.”

click to enlarge
Rose Horrex receiving her Sefton Award

Rose Horrex has been involved with Riding and Road Safety for many years as trainer, examiner, County and Regional representative for BHS Cymru. Always approachable, her friendly attitude, calm good sense and unfailing courtesy have been instrumental in promoting and encouraging people to improve their riding and Road Safety skills. Mrs Horrex said: “I am very excited to receive this award. The danger on the roads is increasing, that is why it is vital that the BHS is out in the forefront spearheading safety work – and I’m glad to be part of it.”

(British Horse Society - 29 October 2008)


Background to the Sefton Awards

In March 1990 the Road Safety Policy Committee agreed to introduce awards to mark outstanding work in the field of riding and road safety.  

Peter Cannon approached the Household Cavalry for sanction to call them the Sefton Awards. This was readily agreed and the association endorsed.  There was no limit as to the number of awards each year and this has varied from two to four awards dependent on the nominations and achievement.

The criterion for the award is that it should mark outstanding contribution in the field of riding and road safety.  Over the years this has been awarded for a great variety of reasons and to a wide band of the community who have raised awareness of the need for riding and road safety through their achievements.  

In July 1990, it was agreed that the first awards would be presented at Hyde Park Barracks in 1991.



Cornwall - UK: Fat Boy, the pony who got drunk on fermented apples and fell into a swimming pool

It was not Fat Boy the pony's best night. First he ate so many fermented apples that he became drunk.

Then he staggered across a garden and tumbled into a swimming pool.

Unable to extricate himself, he had to endure the final embarrassment of being hauled out by the fire brigade.

(Mail Online - 16 October 2008)


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