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Riding Safely

News for March & April 2005


Safety in numbers........


British Eventing and the FEI now have three years worth of data to enable statistical analysis of accidents and falls so that they can identify and address risk factors to help prevent further serious injuries.

The Horse Industry is woefully starved of health, safety and environmental data.

The Strategy for the Horse Industry consultation draft proposes that a “central industry communications function” is created.  That “function” needs to include obtaining reliable data from sources both internal and external to the industry so that it can enable an overview to determine where the real risks lay and target resources to manage them accordingly.


Your last chance to comment......


Time is running out for you to comment on the Strategy for the Horse Industry in England and Wales consultation draft.  In case you haven't had time to read it, Riding Safely has published a special feature which provides a 60 second guide to the 60 page document.  Also included are links to the full draft consultative document, an article from Horse & Hound and thoughts being exchanged on the subject through the Horse & Hound Forum.  Remember, it's your chance to have a say - but make sure you say it before the 27th of May!

Go to the feature >>>>>


Air Bags for Riders......


Riding Safely has long had a vision of a body protector that detects when a rider is falling from a horse and inflates instantly leaving the rider imitating the Michelin Man.  The only problem is that the rider would probably never stop bouncing and the horse would take off at a rate of knots never to be seen again!  Now, had Riding Safely been a journal published on April 1st it undoubtedly would have run with the story as a solution for professional riders to The Work at Height Regulations 2005 which came into effect on the 6th of April 2005.  

The airbag solution is of course a joke.  The regulations are not. 

Find out more in the "Legislation Update" section below.


Your Right of Reply.....

You can comment about any of the items in this edition of the News digest in the Forum.

Safety Tip.....
This month it seems timely to include again last month's safety tip about organising a show.
The BSJA risk assessment may provide some help in providing you with ideas for your risk assessment.
But remember that it may cover some hazards you do not have to deal with and not mention some you do.  Even where the hazards are the same, with your own show, the controls you adopt may need to be different.
You will have to take your own 5 steps when carrying out your own risk assessment.


Pre-Election ‘Manifesto to Government’ issued by The British Horse Society 

In early April The British Horse Society issued its pre-election ‘Manifesto to Government’. The purpose behind this document is to ensure that the government elected on May 5 this year, is made aware of the current issues and problems facing the horse world, and to recommend certain ways of ‘best practice’ for the industry.

Read the Manifesto >>>  


Safety report shows eventing somersaults up

"The FEI's first eventing safety report has identified a worrying trend with an increase in the number of horse falls involving a somersault, but the overall number of falls are down"

Read more from Horse&Hound >>> 

The full FEI Report >>>


Green light for children "training" on yards

A law prohibiting children from helping out at riding schools can be sidestepped by forming clubs for ‘trainees’, the BHS has suggested

Read more from Horse & Hound (25 April 2005) >>>


No charges for muck heaps, says Defra
Following confusion towards the end of April where the Horse Industry met with new Environmental Legislation, Defra have now confirmed that equestrian establishments with muck heaps do not require a waste management licence or a licence exemption unless they are adding other materials to the heap in order to make it into compost.

Read more from Horse & Hound, the BHS and see the full Defra statement.


See also current Environment Agency guidance for stables and liveries (Note: You'll need to use your browser's "back" button to return to the News page)


British Show Jumping Association makes Safety Cups mandatory

Safety cups are mandatory for BSJA events for the back and centre element of all spread fences from 1st April 2005. They are already being used extensively throughout the country and are very well received by those connected with the sport.

The safety cup will not be mandatory in the BSJA practice area as not all shows have a stipendiary steward to ensure they are used correctly, and also except within the rules and unlike in the arena, no one dictates the dimension of practice fences to be jumped.

The safety cups must be FEI approved – these have been tested by a special machine to ensure the tension is correct and consistent after a time of use; the hinged type is not allowed.

12 pairs are recommended per set, which allows for extra fences that may be required for later competitions.

BSJA fences are being converted to the keyhole strip system but there is a metal connector for those who have the pin and chain type.  

The cups can be purchased from:

BSJA Jump Department

Shoe Lane



Tel: 01252 323164


Plastic (keyhole) Cup     5.25 + VAT

Safety (keyhole) Cup     19.10 + VAT

Metal (keyhole) Strip      9.00 + VAT

Metal converter              16.50 + VAT

Source:  BSJA 


Road Safety

BHS successful in obtaining road safety project funding

The British Horse Society's road safety bid for funding is among the successful twenty four road safety projects set to benefit from the latest 'Road Safety Challenge Fund' run by the Department for Transport. The projects aim to improve road safety in Great Britain.

The British Horse Society has received 18,500 for funding a Safety Training CD Rom. The project will produce an Interactive Training and Safety CD Rom for use in BHS Riding & Road Safety training and education.  It will inform riders and other road users what to expect when they meet on the road and how they might behave.


The expected launch will be at the BHS safety conference in September 2005.
Horse Welfare
BHS launches Ragwort Awareness Weeks

The BHS is planning two Ragwort Awareness Weeks, April and September, to alert horse owners of the dangers of this weed, and to encourage them to act to remove the weed from their pasture before it has time to spread. April and September are the common growth periods for immature plants. Ragwort is an injurious weed that causes liver failure and death to animals that consume it. The BHS has campaigned for a number of years to raise awareness of this deadly weed, which resulted in success last year with the introduction of a Code of Practice on how to control Ragwort.  The BHS will provide leaflets and advice during its first Ragwort Awareness Week of 2005, from 4-8 April.



Youth pleads guilty to stable arson

Following on from January......

A teenager last week pleaded guilty to a charge of arson that resulted in the death of two Shetlands and a show hunter.  The three horses, which belonged to Elizabeth Gray, an experienced show judge, died last November when their stables near Frodsham, Cheshire, were destroyed by fire.

Elizabeth and her husband, David, have since acquired a yearling niece and two-year-old daughter of Earlswood Ellen, one of the lost Shetlands. They have also replaced their show hunter with a four-year-old Irish Thoroughbred/ Irish Draught.

The youth will be sentenced at Chester Crown Court on 22 April. He also pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and car theft on the same day as the arson.

Source:  Horse & Hound 10 March 2005

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

See also Riding Safely News November & December 2004 and January & February 2005 for previous details. 


Animals killed in allotment arson 

Two horses and a pregnant dog died in a fire at a compound which police say is being treated as suspicious. 

Read more from BBC News (4 April 2005) >>>     


Find out more about preventing fire >>>




Woman trapped by horse rescued 

Firefighters had to rescue a woman who was knocked out when her horse suffered an apparent heart attack, fell on top of her and died.

Read more from BBC News (22 March 2005) >>> 


Fatal fall rider had old helmet

A rider who suffered fatal brain injuries when she fell from her horse was using a helmet made in 1987 which did not meet current safety standards, an inquest heard.

Read more from the Yorkshire Post (23 March 2005) >>> 


Horse rescued after box overturns

A horse had to be rescued from a horsebox when it overturned on a roundabout

Read more from BBC News (4 April 2005) >>>   


Two horses killed in road crash 

Two horses were killed after being hit by an articulated lorry when they escaped from a field onto a motorway. 

Read more from BBC News (6 April 2005) >>>   

Read Comment from the Horse & Hound Forum >>>


Welsh farming fatality

It is reported that a woman in her 50's died following a workplace accident on a farm in Llandysul, Powys. According to the account, she sustained fatal injuries when 2 hay bales in storage fell on her.

Source: safetynews13.04.05

See Handling and Stacking Bales in Agriculture >>>


Injured trainer's condition "stable" 

Chris Kinane, who was kicked in the head in a racecourse parade ring, is in a "stable" condition in hospital as discussions focus on how to avoid a similar accident happening again.

Read More from Horse & Hound (15 April 2005) >>>


Stallion's death prompts police investigation

A fight between two stallions at a Cornwall stud, in which both were seriously injured, one fatally, may have been caused by an intruder deliberately letting one of the horses out of its stable during the night

Read More from Horse & Hound (21 April 2005) >>>


Two riders die in tragic accidents

Accidents in the past fortnight have claimed the lives of two riders.


Dorset-based national hunt trainer Helen Bridges died from her injuries after a horse she was exercising came down on a tarmac road on Wednesday last week.

She was taken by air ambulance to Frenchay hospital but, despite what her family described as an "outstanding level of care", could not be saved. She leaves her husband, Richard, and two children.


In Norfolk, Susan Tilsley, 54, died after being kicked in the head by a horse on Saturday, 16 April. She was helping to catch horses coming in for a lesson at the BHS-approved Blackborough End Equestrian Centre near King's Lynn, when one of them lashed out.

Susan, who shared a horse with Joan Nash, owner of the equestrian centre, and competed at local level, was airlifted to hospital but died that evening. Her funeral was held yesterday (27 April).  Joan Nash, who knew Susan for 10 years, said: "The horses involved - one livery and one riding school horse - had not shown aggression before; it shows that accidents can happen with even the most dependable animal."

Source:  Horse & Hound 28 April 2005


Legislation Update

The Work at Height Regulations 2005


The Work at Height Regulations 2005 came into effect on the 6th of April 2005.  

They apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. A place is 'at height' if a person could be injured falling from it (even if it is at or below ground level)

Falls from height are the most common cause of fatal injury and the second most common cause of major injury to employees.   In 2003/04 falls from height accounted for 67 fatal accidents at work and nearly 4000 major injuries. They remain the single biggest cause of workplace deaths and one of the main causes of major injury.

But before you start worrying about whether riding a horse is "at height" -- don't -- the HSE have commented "we would not be inclined to apply the Regulations to a mounted police officer on patrol".


But there are plenty of instances In the Horse Industry where the regulations do apply.  Using ladders or stepladders and working from vehicles are a couple of examples.  Riding Safely recently was made aware of an accident where a feed merchant was delivering hay bales to a livery yard.  On lifting a bale from the back of a pickup truck the employee lost his balance and fell, cracking his head on the ground resulting in unconsciousness and an ambulance trip to hospital.  Every year 700 people die or are seriously injured falling from vehicles.


But the HSE's key message is that those following good practice for work at height now should already be doing enough to comply with the Regulations.

Find out more from the HSE >>>


Legal Cases

Payout for groom in wheelchair

A groom facing life in a wheelchair after he was kicked in the head by a horse has won a compensation payout at London's High Court.

Robert Lacey, 52, suffered injuries causing "permanent disabilities" while treating a Thoroughbred named My Way at Newgate Stud near Gillingham, Dorset, in August 2001.

Last Tuesday, on the second day of the hearing, the stud settled Mr Lacey's claim without admission of liability and on confidential terms.

Given the severity of Mr Lacey's injuries, his payout is likely to be substantial. Millions of pounds have been awarded in similar cases.

Mr Lacey, of YeoviI, Somerset, "lost the job he loved" as a result of his injuries, his QC, Susan Rodway, earlier told Mr Justice McKinnon.

She said he had no recollection of the accident and events had to be pieced together by looking into his work routine.

Miss Rodway said the accident occurred as Mr Lacey was treating My Way while another horse, Dayanata, stood close by. Dayanata probably lashed out as M r Lacey treated a hindleg of My Way, said the QC.

The horses' handlers, she claimed, failed to keep them far enough apart to prevent such an accident. But Newgate Stud Company maintained there was no deficiency in its system of work and that it was a tragic accident.

Source:  Horse & Hound 31 March 2005


Drivers make 150,000 loose horse claim

A couple are claiming compensation of more than 150,000 from four individuals after being involved in car accident with a loose horse in 2001

Read more from Horse & Hound (29 April 2005) >>>



Looking Forward - Diary Dates
The BHS Annual General Meeting
Thursday 23 June 2005 at Saddler's Hall, Gutter Lane, London EC2V 6BR
The BHS Safety Conference
The BHS Safety Conference will be held on Saturday 17 September 2005 at The Quality Inn, Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
Further details to follow.
Your Horse Live
The British Equine Event - 5 & 6 November 2005 - Stoneleigh Park.
If you know of any forthcoming equestrian safety related events please contact Riding Safely
Riding Safely is being continuously updated and the newsletter is sent to subscribers every two months.
Riding Safely can keep you updated of forthcoming equestrian events that have safety related content.  If you're interested  then contact Riding Safely and you'll be kept updated.

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

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

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

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

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



Your views sought on the Horse Industry Consultation Draft by 27 May 2005...
Read more from Defra, the Horse & Hound and the BHS

The debate has already started on the Horse & Hound Forum 



Low Flying Aircraft...

The Stop Lowflying -- give us back our countryside campaign continues>>> 

Information about low flying military helicopter activity can be obtained  from the MOD's freephone number 0800 51 55 44 from 0800 to 1700hrs, Monday to Friday. During British Summer Time the hours will be extended until 2000hrs.


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

Waxed Jacket Corner additions

  • Ragwort
  • Environmental Issues


Visit the all of the News Archive >>>>>

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

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