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Riding Safely

News for September, October, November & December 2007

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   The UK's only Equestrian Safety Newsletter
   ! Warning !     With all the recent torrential rain please be careful when turning out or bringing in from fields - a boy is recovering from a fractured skull after slipping and being kicked - please remember to wear a riding hat...     Latest Headlines     34 horses dead, 111 rescued in UK Police and equine charities rescue operation     Seasonal     Winter fire safety tips for the stables       Consultations     Equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers’ survey      Events      Equine businesses chance to find out about funding - Somerset - 15 February 2008        BETA International, NEC, Birmingham 17-19 February 2008  

What's been updated?  Find out >>>
Read the previous news digest for July & August 2007
Find out the latest news for January & February 2008

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In this Edition...

   Coming soon...

   Winter fire safety tips for the stables – from Harry Paviour

   The Queen makes Christmas donation to the BHS and AHT's Strangles Appeal

   Government guide on fire risk assessment for horse keepers published

   Tim Stockdale masterclass for Health and Safety with Horses students

   Training is crucial for equine welfare

   BHS Safety Conference hears that ‘safety is a state of mind’

   Council promotes health & safety at riding schools 

   Injured equestrians highly experienced - new study reports

   Safety heroes recognised at The British Horse Society Sefton Awards

   The British Horse Society awards 'unsung heroes' of horse world

   Award winning study shows complications during foaling on the rise

   Special award for Professor "Twink" Allen at Animal Health Trust

   Special award for vet working with rescued horses

   What do you think of health and safety?

   Equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers’ survey

   Consultation of the code of practice for the welfare of equines – Scotland and Wales

   Flooding Lessons Learned Review

   Foot and Mouth Review

   Defra publishes contingency plan for exotic animal diseases

   British young rider killed in Florida International three-day event

   French rider dies at Moulin one-day event

   FEI looks again at eventing safety following another death

   Revised Highway Code launched amidst concern from riders

   Horse riders lose out to BMW in bridleway row

   County supports ten-year old Hannah's horse safety campaign

   The BHS opens Sea Horse Ride from the mouth of the River Dee to the A5

   BHS Access Petition

   The BHS wins royal safety award  

   New powers may ban off-roaders

   Skills CV launched for equine grooms

   Riders warned not to exercise horses alone near Brixham in Devon

   New plans to protect show judges

   The British Horse Society rides in to help young people with difficulties

   Racing simulator will train jockeys' minds and bodies

   ILPH launches bursary for equine vet students

   Injured horse put down

   Dead yearling found dumped in Hertfordshire lane

   Man charged following horse drowning at Appleby Fair

   Warrant issued for arrest of Essex woman who breached ban

   Surrey horse abuser arrested, fined and banned for 10 years

   Spotlight on Dartmoor pony safety after more deaths

   Council swoops to rescue abandoned horses in Middlesex

   FEI acts to combat abuse of show jumpers legs

   Horse welfare at top of FEI review of endurance riding

   ‘Credit card’ bid to cut animal accidents

   New intensive care unit for horses at University of Liverpool

   Defra/AHT/BEVA equine quarterly disease surveillance report - Volume 3, No 3 now available

   Twenty-six horses die in barn fire

   Police appeal after arsonists torch stables

   Woman, child and horse die in road accident

   Woman rider dies in a fall at stables

   Wiltshire man dies from kick

   Jouster dies after being speared through eye in freak accident

   Crash injures man and kills horse

   Child injured in low-flying incident with military helicopters

   Champion rider,11, is seriously injured by kick to head

   Ponies killed after escaping from showground

   Firefighters help rescue Shire horse trapped in ditch

   Horse lucky to be alive after becoming trapped in cattle grid

   EU Welfare in transport Regulation – extension given to obtain competence certification

   Driver wins 1.25m pay-out after hitting runaway horse

   Jockey gets 85,000 for broken leg

   Responsible Horse Owners to Benefit from MP’s Proposed Law

   No reports at present...

   Workplace health, safety and welfare: a short guide for managers

   Myth of the Month

   No reports at present...

   Australian toddler tossed, killed by horse

   Equine businesses chance to shake up industry education and training - the equine consultation event - 30 January 2008 – York

   Equine businesses chance to find out about funding - Somerset - 15 February 2008 

   BETA International, NEC, Birmingham 17-19 February 2008

   Timetable of other events

   Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) 

   Australian Equine Influenza outbreak

   Breaking the Strangles Hold - campaign update

   ILPH tackles obesity in horses

   BETA's Body Protector Survey Continues...

   Coming soon...

   Gee Guards - protective padding for structural hazards within equine facilities


   Training Resources

   Sources of Help

   ABRS introduces new "centres of excellence" award for top yards

   ILPH considers changing its name

   Banned farrier fined after he kept on shoeing after being struck off

   London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games - BEF unveils “Hoof” initiative

   Riders in row over horse droppings

   Councillors vote to make landau horses wear nappies

   Sarah hoofs it to hospital after horse play

Coming soon...


Your Right of Reply.....

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

Winter Fire Safety tips for the Stables – from Harry Paviour

With the long dark and cold winter nights there will always be the temptation to introduce portable and temporary heating appliances to the inside of buildings that do not normally have heating arrangements.

The only safe type of heaters are those that are fixed at high level, are provided with suitable guards to the heating elements and do not create heat by way of live flame, or incandescent electrical coils. Ideally, heaters that produce a 'Black' heat should only be used. The practice of using summer LPG gas fired patio heaters should not be considered.

On inclement weather days when the farrier arrives to carry out hot shoeing, he should not be permitted to work inside buildings unless he has a clear and clean working space free from all combustibles and on a concrete floor.

The temptation to reduce the amount of combustible rubbish by burning should be resisted. However, if absolutely necessary, restrict any burning to daylight hours, and then only well away and downwind of any buildings, barns or outside combustible storage.  Extinguish the fire completely as darkness falls.

Dark winter months are also attractive times for the arsonist to strike.  Carry out or review your arson risk assessment and secure or remove all readily accessible combustibles - solids, liquids and gases. Make sure that you secure all buildings and vehicles at night.

Stay safe for the winter months.

Harry Paviour


Riding Safely adds – before burning any waste check with your local Environmental Health Officer that you're allowed to do so.  Also make sure that your fire risk assessment assesses and controls the additional risks created by your winter heating requirements.  Particularly vulnerable areas include tack rooms where heaters are often introduced and used during the winter months.

Harry Paviour

Harry Paviour is Fire Advisor to the British Horse Society and the Association of British Riding Schools.  He is the author of the British Horse Society’s book “Guidelines for Fire Safety in Equine and Agricultural Premises” and has been the driving force behind the Government’s publication “Fire Safety Risk Assessment - Animal Premises and Stables”.  With a distinguished fire service career that began in 1962, and progressing through various roles, including that of Divisional Commander, he has recently retired from the Fire Service College.  Harry now acts a consultant to the equine industry and adds “if horse owners or proprietors would like further help of information they are welcome to contact me”.  Harry can be contacted at h.paviour@btinternet.com

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

The Queen makes Christmas donation to the BHS and AHT's Strangles Appeal

Her Majesty The Queen has dug into her own pocket to make a donation to The British Horse Society and The Animal Health Trust's Strangles Appeal.

Her Majesty sent a cheque to the BHS, of which she has been Patron for 60 years, to help the charities fight the terrible disease that attacks horses.

The generous gift, from the Privy Purse Charitable Trust, was made with the proviso that its size remains undisclosed.  Her Majesty decided to donate after talking about Strangles with BHS Scotland Development Officer Helene Mauchlen, to whom the cheque has been sent.

BHS Chairman Patrick Print said: "We are very grateful to our Patron The Queen for making this gift. We are striving to raise 250,000 by the end of next year to 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 credit card or direct debit on 08700 502380.

Source British Horse Society 19 December 2007

Strangles Information

An International Strangles Conference, organised by the BHS, will be held in Edinburgh 27-28 May 2008. Details are available from www.bhsscotland.org.uk or Helene Mauchlen, Scotland Development Officer, The British Horse Society - h.mauchlen@bhs.org.uk

Get an update on the Strangles Appeal

Government guide on fire risk assessment for horse keepers

Fire risk assessment - animal premises/stables

A new guide has been published to help employers, managers, occupiers and owners of animal premises and stables to minimise the risk of fire.  It tells you what you have to do to comply with fire safety law, helps you carry out a fire risk assessment and identify the general fire precautions you need to have in place.

Fire Safety Risk Assessment - Animal Premises and Stables was published on 23 October by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

For more details and for a free download of the guide go to:  http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/firesafetyanimal


Read additional reporting from Horse & Hound Online at 



Tim Stockdale masterclass for Health and Safety with Horses course students

Tim Stockdale Masterclass

“I don’t know my pass-age from my saus-age” leading International show-jumper Tim Stockdale joked when he presented a masterclass at Warwickshire College on 27 November to students who recently completed the nationally accredited NPTC Health and Safety with Horses course.

There were over 250 attendees at the event, with over half having successfully completed the course. The remainder of the keen viewers were guests of the students, exhibitors, and national media.

But Tim’s no comedian when it comes to the serious business of his horses and riding. He began his masterclass in an informal and welcoming manner, introducing himself, his horse and his groom to the audience. During the first part of the hour long demonstration Tim showed some essential seating tips and some basics of the understanding between horse and rider.  He covered techniques including the key points to riding and training horses for show jumping including the practical aspects for the safety and comfort for both horse and rider.  At the end of the first half Tim gave the audience some advice on the correct position over fences; he demonstrated this both on and off the horse, entertaining the audience with his impression of commonly made position errors. For the second half of the masterclass Tim introduced the audience to one of his most recently acquired horses, a six year old Irish Sports horse by the highly successful jumping stallion, Cruising. Lacking experience, Tim relished the opportunity to give the horse the benefit of an outing; he worked with the horse to demonstrate walk to canter transitions and good technique over single fences.

In conclusion to the demonstration Tim rode a course of five jumps, all the time explaining to the audience about correct jumping position and the quality of contact with the horse’s mouth. 

Tim then answered the audience’s questions which included; his opinion on jumping safely in bad weather conditions and on less than perfect going, and his plans for the future.

One of the award winners

After the masterclass the enthusiastic attendees were escorted up to the sports hall at Moreton Morrell where they were formally congratulated by Tim for successfully achieving their NPTC Health and Safety with Horses Award and had their photographs taken with him. 

Riding Safely spoke to some of the award winners.  A group of three horse owners told how their livery yard owner had recommended the course to them.  They added that after completing the course their safety awareness is now considerably greater; they’re identifying hazards and contributing to the overall safety of the yard.  Two experienced qualified riding instructors from the same riding school said while they had pre-existing knowledge of some of the areas covered; others were new to them – particularly the Control of Substances Hazardous to health (COSHH).  Finally, a head girl identified one of the greatest risks as being the varying levels (and sometimes complete absence) of safety knowledge on a yard. 

All said that they had enjoyed the course, and felt comfortable with the pace and the amount of effort required.  Although pushed, they couldn’t find any areas that they didn’t like or anything that they would like to see changed in the course.

The afternoon was also complimented by a selection of trade stands enabling the guests to shop at their leisure.  Exhibitors included; Treehouse Saddlery, V-Bandz, The British Horse Society, Gee Guards and Charles Owen and Mac Wet Gloves, some of whom also sponsored additional individual student prizes. Plaques were presented to riding and livery centres who qualified as ‘Approved Training Locations’ for the Safety with Horses Course.

"Gavin" the mechanical horse

An interactive voting area, careers advice and the opportunity to ride ‘Gavin’, a mechanical horse were also offered throughout the afternoon.  Gavin is used by Warwickshire College’s students to monitor and improve seat position.

The day was a huge success, Tim’s demonstration was both informative and excellently performed, his relationship with the audience encouraged a lively response and guests were actively involved with the afternoon activities.

The NPTC ‘Health and Safety with Horses’ course, which was initiated and developed by Karen Tolley of Warwickshire College focuses on promoting good practice within equine environments. It is suitable for both leisure riders and also those working in the equine industry. Recommended for anyone involved in the riding or handling of horses, the course has become a phenomenal success with more and more people enrolling every day. To date there are over 750 enrolled, making this the most popular course offered by Warwickshire College.

The programme is funded through the Learning and Skills Council and the course is offered for just 40.  It is one of seven equine courses that can be taken through ‘Equi-Study’; the distance learning provider.  Students can learn from home and fit education in to their daily lives without having to travel.  Established in 1994, Equi-Study has gone from strength to strength creating new courses, carrying out project work and developing exciting new learning materials; including computer aided learning and assessment programmes.  Warwickshire College also offer a developed range of full-time further and higher education courses, including blacksmithing and farriery that are studied at college.

Riding Safely has had some minor involvement with the course over the years and unreservedly recommends it to anyone involved with horses.

   Safety with Horses”

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

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

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


Training is crucial for equine welfare

A leading academic in equine welfare has said that combined practical and theoretical training is crucial if the industry is to meet equine welfare standards.

Professor Derek Knottenbelt at the Conference

Professor Derek Knottenbelt OBE, senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool said: "Training for its own sake is of no value.  It is no good knowing the theory and not the practical, and it's no good knowing the practical and not the theory.  If you can put the two together then you get something really positive and this is what this conference is doing."

Prof. Knottenbelt was keynote speaker at an event on the 4th of December Wroxall Abbey near Warwick, hosted by Lantra Sector Skills Council and the National Equine Welfare Council.  The event was held to launch an agreement that will address skills and training issues in the industry. The Sector Skills Agreement brings together for the first time employers, voluntary organisations, learning providers and governments across the UK to ensure that training and subsequent funding meets the needs of businesses.

Prof. Knottenbelt added: "I'm still learning every day of my life.  To have the same situations always arising would be a great help, but the only predictable thing about a horse is that it is unpredictable.  This means that we have to keep learning, so that hopefully we will have enough not to make so many mistakes."

Lantra Industry Partnership Manager, Lisa Jarvis said:  "Training can help businesses and organisations meet many of the challenges the industry faces.

This new skills agreement is a positive step to ensure that training is relevant and helps horse owners stay in line with new legislation."

Also speaking at the event, Nicolas De Brauwere MCRVS, head of welfare at Redwings horse sanctuary, said:  "Although no one willingly neglects the needs of their horse in this country, I think there are a lot of people who unwittingly compromise the welfare of their horse by just doing what they have been taught, or told by someone who doesn't actually know any better themselves."

The Equine Welfare Event Conference

There is a lot of value in experience handed down from generation to generation, when it is based on good practice.  Passing on bad practice is hugely damaging and I think that is where the training sector has a massive responsibility to provide accurate evidence that we all agree on."

Executive Secretary of NEWC, Elaine Cannon, added:  "In order to deliver good horse health and welfare, everyone involved needs to ensure that they update their knowledge regularly to meet current requirements of horse care standards and the skills needed to meet those requirements.

"The Equine Health and Welfare Strategy has already brought these issues to the fore and Lantra's Sector Skills Agreement will play a crucial role in assessing the current quality and availability of educational material and qualifications.

Owners and keepers of horses need to be fully aware of their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the concept of 'duty of care'."


More about Lantra...

        Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sector, is licensed by the UK government to drive forward the skills, training and business development agenda for the sector's 17 industries, which are: agricultural crops, agricultural livestock, animal care, animal technology, aquaculture, environmental conservation, equine, farriery, fencing, fisheries management, floristry, game and wildlife management, land-based engineering, landscape, production horticulture, trees and timber and veterinary nursing.

        Lantra is an employer-led organisation representing 280,000 businesses and 1.5 million employees in the environmental and land-based sector.  For more information see www.lantra.co.uk

        Lantra is part of the Skills for Business network comprising Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) which are independent UK-wide organisations developed by groups of influential employers in sectors of economic significance.  SSCs give responsibility to employers to provide leadership for strategic targeted action to meet their sector skills and business needs.

More about the National Equine Welfare Council...

        NEWC has evolved to become a united voice for the industry on equine welfare matters and its work includes support for small welfare organisations, making representations to Government and advising individuals.  For more information see www.newc.co.uk/home/

        NEWC produces a Code of Practice for those organisations involved in the keeping of horses, ponies, asses, mules and donkeys, and supports members by providing up to date information, running annual seminars and representing them to Government and other bodies.


BHS Safety Conference hears that ‘safety is a state of mind’

“How do we make sure that more people hear these important messages?” was a concluding comment made by one of the many people attending The British Horse Society’s Safety Conference held at the Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday, 15 September 2007.

Speaking at the conference, Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr Ted Adams, emphasised the potential dangers of riding while pregnant and stressed the importance of women being able to make informed choices about riding during pregnancy.

Police Constable Keith Brothwell addressed the serious issue of personal security for lone workers and lone riders, looking at fear management, self-defence and the law. The session considered the psychological factors and physiological signs of a would be attacker and how knowledge of these could be used to the advantage of stable staff or riders under threat.  Spotting the warning signs that someone might attack, such as showing their teeth and tensing their shoulders, is the first step for riders to be ready to defend themselves against a potential assailant.  Practical demonstrations were also incorporated including tips on how various yard items such as a riding hat might be used both effectively and lawfully in self defence.

Rural Safety Officers Jim Green and Anton Phillips, of Hampshire Fire Service addressed the conference on the important issues of animal rescue and rural safety. They highlighted the Emergency Services Protocol, instigated by the BHS, which sets out procedures for responding to emergency incidents involving horses.

Stuart Lovatt, Road Safety Action Plan Coordinator for the Safety Standards and Research Department of the Highways Agency, chaired the conference.


Council promotes health & safety at riding schools 

Health and safety at riding schools and livery yards was the main aim of an event organised by St Albans City and District Council.

Working in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Luton and KEITS, a training provider, a free event was put on promoting health and safety at riding schools and livery yards.

Following some issues raised during local inspections and a discussion at the Herts and Beds Health and Safety Group Meeting, all livery yards and riding schools across the Herts and Beds local authorities were invited to attend the event. Around 20 businesses from different industry areas attended including racing yards, riding schools, livery yards and studs. The event was held at KEITS training centre, a livery yard in St Albans, Herts where employees are trained in practical health and safety.

Read more from St Albans City and District Council (20 December 2007) at:  http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/pressroom/newsful.php?Id_No=876

See also some answers to frequently asked questions about riding schools and livery yards from St Albans City and District Council at:  http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/business/healthsafety/livery_yards.htm


Injured equestrians highly experienced

A new study of serious injuries among Alberta’s adult horseback riders finds that the vast majority were seasoned riders, whose injuries were not due to any lack of experience. The 10 year study, published in the American Journal of Surgery, notes that equestrian activities are an important part of life in Alberta – and a common source of severe injury.

Those injured were typically recreational or working riders who owned horses, rode Western style and had an average 27 years of experience when injured.  Most commonly, patients experienced chest injuries (54%) and head injuries (48%).  Only 9% wore a helmet (riding hat).

Two-thirds of the riders believed their injuries were preventable.  Close to half said they had changed their riding practices as a result of the trauma, including always wearing protective equipment.

The report contrasts with the United Kingdom mentioning that there has been a 40% absolute risk reduction in head injuries observed after the increase of riding hat use and improved design.

Helmet (riding hat) and vest (body protector) use will be targeted in future injury prevention strategies.

Read more from SMARTRISK at http://www.smartrisk.ca/ContentDirector.aspx?tp=5109

Further reporting from the New York State Horse Council July/August/September Newsletter (Page 6) at



Equestrian injuries: incidence, injury patterns, and risk factors for 10 years of major traumatic injuries. 

The American Journal of Surgery, Volume 193, Issue 5, Pages 636-640

C. Ball, J. Ball, A. Kirkpatrick, R. Mulloy



Safety heroes recognised at The British Horse Society Sefton Awards

Heroes in the field of equestrian safety were honoured at The British Horse Society’s Sefton Awards, which were held at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment's Barracks, Knightsbridge, London on Monday, 22 October 2007. The awards were presented by Lt Col Ralph Griffin LG, Commanding Officer of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

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

The 2007 Sefton Awards were awarded to:

Claire Aldridge

Claire Aldridge

Claire Aldridge has been a strong supporter of The British Horse Society, and particularly of the Riding and Road Safety programme, for over 20 years.  She is an examiner, trainer, Regional Representative and BHS National Safety Advisory Committee Chairman.    

Claire has used her considerable skills and knowledge to further the cause of Riding and Road Safety locally and nationally, and has been an important link with the Army, as Hyde Park Barracks fall within her local area.  Claire has brought commitment, energy, dedication, calmness and a willingness to grasp every opportunity to advance the cause of safety. 



Jane Davies

Sarah Bullen

Jane and her late husband Michael started the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund after their son was killed in an accident at Burghley Horse Trials. At that time no support was available for those injured in horse related accidents apart from a single fund for professional jockeys.

Jane’s determination to help injured riders saw the fund develop into a national charity.  Many riders involved in serious accidents have been supported at a time when life seemed bleak.  The fund has provided equipment and ensured that expert medical, legal and financial advice is available.  Jane takes a leading role in issues relating to the welfare and safety of riders, playing a major part in areas such as head protection and cross country fences, where she was responsible for starting the work on frangible pins before it was taken forward by British Eventing.  Jane has an acute sense of what is right and fair and the energy and passion to make a real difference to the lives of those who have suffered injury.  The award was received by Mrs Sarah Bullen of the MDIRF on behalf of Jane Davies.

Keith Grant 

Keith Grant

Keith Grant’s responsibilities within Devon County Council primarily embrace environmental issues, so his involvement with equestrians may have surprised him as much as it did others. But it was because he listened to the concerns of riders who had suffered from the poor laying of Stone Mastic Asphalt road surface dressings that a solution was eventually found.

Keith took the problems to his colleagues in the County Surveyors Society and, working in partnership with The British Horse Society, a guidance booklet was issued.  This has been adopted nationally by local authorities and riders, leading to safer riding on the roads.

The BHS wishes to thank Keith for taking their problems seriously and for making such a valuable contribution to their resolution.

Tarquin Trophy 

Roy Burek

The Tarquin Award, which recognises organisations, businesses or business associates who have made a significant contribution to equestrian safety, was presented to Roy Burek from Charles Owen & Co by Patrick Print, Chairman and a Fellow of The British Horse Society.

Roy Burek has been a strong supporter of equestrian safety for many years.  Through his company Charles Owen & Co, Roy was the force behind the BHS accident reporting form which has now been in use for some 20 years. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, Roy has strongly supported the call for all riders to wear approved riding hats.  He has produced and manufactured hats to suit all riders’ requirements and in a variety of colours, perhaps in the hope that more riders will accept that wearing a hat is not only good for them but can also be fashionable.

A Royal Warrant to supply protective headgear to the Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace was a further endorsement of helmets produced by Charles Owen, under Roy’s leadership.  His dogged determination to see VAT removed from riding hats resulted in research that gave a definitive size range to children’s hats, and proved that most adults will fit into one.

Roy has been generous with his support and advice, and has worked closely with the Society to educate young riders. His encouragement through a unique awards system has educated many youngsters who would otherwise have remained ignorant. 

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.


The British Horse Society awards 'unsung heroes' of horse world


Group picture of the award winners

The British Horse Society's new President Desi Dillingham spoke of her pride in being part of a "winning team" - at the Society's annual awards ceremony on Thursday, 15 November 2007.

Desi, who became President at the Society's Annual General Meeting in June, made an off-the-cuff speech after presenting 26 awards to individuals or organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to the BHS's work, at the prestigious event at Saddlers' Hall in the City of London.

She said: "I like being part of a winning team and this team at the BHS is as good as any I have worked with. 

"Congratulations to all the winners and all who have worked so hard.  We love you! Please keep it up!"

The awards highlighted the dedicated work that goes on behind the scenes on behalf of Britain's horses and riders.

Patrick Print, Chairman and a Fellow of The British Horse Society, said: "These award winners are the unsung heroes of equestrianism - people who quietly and ceaselessly graft away for the good of all riders and drivers. Their achievements are immense and we thank them for all they have done."

Picking up the President's Award, Robert Sullivan-Tailyour, with typical modesty, played down his own remarkable contribution to praise the BHS's volunteers and staff as a whole.

And veteran campaigner, ex-Trustee and former long-standing Member of Parliament Dr Harry Greenway, who won the Sefton Award, recalled how he had presented the first Sefton Award to the horse Sefton, who had been badly injured in a terrorist bombing.

Dr Greenway said: "I think it is fitting that Sefton is an inspiration for this special award which I am so glad to receive."   

Those receiving the 2007 award were:

Robert Sullivan-Tailyour - President's Award - For the person who has given truly outstanding service to the Society over a period of years.

Adrian and Margaret Bigg - Access Award - For the BHS member who has done most for equestrian access.

Adrian and Margaret have worked energetically for access and rights of way on legal and technical, campaign and local bridleway group matters. They have both been County Access and Bridleway Officers for Cornwall for four years, and they have invested countless hours of dedication and commitment to extending equestrian access routes for riders and carriage drivers throughout Cornwall.  They have done this in a variety of ways including the creation of a number of Bridleway Groups aimed at promoting, defending and extending the Public Rights of Way Network.  The Cornish Access website (http://www.bhsaccesscornwall.org.uk/) is a testament to their determination to preserve riding and carriage driving opportunities, and to improve the bridleway and ridden and driven routes in the county.

Ministry of Defence, Sennybridge - Access Award - For the public agency which has done most for equestrian access

The Ministry of Defence's declared presumption is in favour of safe public enjoyment of its estate "wherever this is compatible with operational and military training uses, public safety, security, conservation and its tenants". With this objective and with the passing of the Countryside Rights of Way Act in 2000, the Army Training Estate ("ATE") undertook an extensive review of public access on its land throughout the United Kingdom.  The Sennybridge Training Area was identified by ATE (Wales) as having the greatest potential for development.  The Epynt Way is a circular route following the boundary of the training area. It covers 90 km and links existing rights of way, many of which stopped at the range boundary.  John Clifford has helped to create a path that will benefit riders, walkers and cyclists. He has ensured that this route remains a permissive bridleway and has encouraged and installed horse corrals, lorry parking sites and rider-friendly gates and latches.

Caerphilly County Borough Council - Access Award - For the Local Authority most active in opening up equestrian routes

Caerphilly County Borough Council has promoted the interests of equestrians for a number of years. They have endeavoured to provide new riding routes in many areas of the county, as well as improving the existing network of bridleways.  Working closely with other agencies and organisations such as Forestry Commission Wales and Caerphilly Groundwork Trust, as well as local riders and groups such as the Bridleways Group SAFE (Safety and Facilities for Equestrians) they have researched possible routes and then developed these paths. They are also initiating cross border discussions with adjacent local authorities to extend the riding routes throughout the South Wales area.  In addition to their own financial input, they work with these other organisations to obtain grant aid for their projects.  One route currently nearing completion is the 18 mile long Caerphilly Ridgeway Path in the south of the county. This will link with other routes further north. This work was done in co-operation with SAFE and Forestry Commission Wales from whom they had also obtained a grant of 75,000.

Sally Whittaker and Nikki Moore - Bodynfoel Award - For those who people who have done the most to promote the work of The British Horse Society.

Somerset County Farms - The Lady Elizabeth Kirk Award - In recognition of the voluntary dedication of a bridleway.

Margaret Peverley - Leo Harris Award (presented by British Riding Clubs) - For services to affiliated Riding Clubs and Area Liaison.

Kathleen Fiske - Overseas Award - In recognition of service to the BHS overseas.

Terry Jones - Safety Award - Community Award to person, persons or group who have contributed to promoting road safety particularly in their community.

Terry Jones, Road Safety Officer for Ceredigion County Council since 1980, carries out the duties of Riding and Road Safety Trainer and Examiner.  He is responsible for the Council's Community Safety Unit, which attends many events during the year.  This unit is specifically designed to encourage young people in particular to discuss with staff the issues relating to road safety, and the importance of understanding why it is necessary to be aware of others on the road. It also ensures a greater understanding of the rules and regulations whilst riding on our roads today.  A bi-lingual leaflet featuring 'Ceredig the Cob' has been published by Ceredigion County Council, reiterating the advice given by the BHS.  The higher profile of road safety has encouraged increasing numbers of local riding clubs and establishments to organise training and examinations for the Riding and Road Safety Test. 

Sarah Fitton BHSII - BHS Silver Stirrup - In recognition of support for young riders.

Sue Payne FBHS - Trainers Award - For the person who has made an outstanding contribution to equestrian training.

Sue Payne FBHS is a dedicated trainer of the highest quality who shows that she can empathise with her pupils. She is renowned for her excellent work with exam candidates, and regularly trains and mentors candidates for their BHSI and Fellowship Exam.  Sue has trained many eventers at different levels, and supports them at competitions whenever she can. She also trained Anna Ross Davies, a key member of the GB dressage team.  Sue has been a Where to Train Inspector since 1994, and was instrumental in the development of the high standards required for Where to Train inspection.  A life member of the Society, Sue has been training for a considerable number of years. She passed her Fellowship examination in 1987, and is now one of only a handful of Fellows who examine for the Fellowship.

The Horse Trust - Welfare Award - For contribution to equine welfare over many years.

Originally known as The Home of Rest for Horses, The Horse Trust was established in 1886 and is the oldest equine charity in the world.  Due to the steady decline of working horses in the UK after the war, it was decided to extend the Home's role to establish a foundation with the purpose of giving grants to other charitable organisations concerned with equine welfare.  The Home had several locations in its early years, but in 1971 it moved to its present site in Speen, Buckinghamshire where it continues to provide a safe and permanent retirement home for around 100 horses. To date, nearly 20 million has been invested in a wide variety of projects to benefit the health and welfare of horses.  Not only has the Trust provided a retirement safe-haven for many old equine friends and soldiers but, through its funding of education and research it has improved the lives of many thousands of equines all over the world.

Jim Green and Anton Philips - Welfare Award - For best achievement to advance welfare of all equines

Hampshire fire-fighters Jim Green and Anton Phillips have set a national standard for large animal rescue, as well as developing a specialist role as Animal Rescue Advisors. Their dedication and enthusiasm continue to help protect the lives of fire-fighters, owners and their horses throughout Hampshire, as well as inspiring other Fire and Rescue Services to seek their advice and undergo large animal rescue training themselves.  Their expertise and equipment has enabled the safe rescue of large, unpredictable animals, including horses, that may have become trapped or involved in accidents. Jim has also taken on the role of Rural Safety Officer, as well as co-ordinating the Animal Rescue Team.  Jim and Anton have also played an important role in the development of the Emergency Services Protocol for incidents involving equines. The protocol, launched at Buckingham Palace by HRH The Princess Royal, aims to ensure appropriate first actions when the emergency services arrive at an incident and minimise delays in injured animals receiving appropriate veterinary care following accidents. This maximises the chances of a positive outcome for the animal, and ensures the safety of all involved.

Carol Shoopman - Award Of Merit - For excellent service to the Society over a period of years.

Dr Harry Greenway - Sefton Award - For services to the cause of equestrian safety

Dr Harry Greenway actively promoted the importance of good quality riding hats for all riders. As one of our most distinguished Members of Parliament, he introduced a Private Members' Bill which later became the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act 1990 (known as the Greenway Act). This made it compulsory for riders up to 14 years of age to wear a riding hat. This Act has undoubtedly saved many young riders from suffering serious injury.  Harry, a Trustee of The British Horse Society until 2006, has always promoted rider safety, particularly when it affects young or disadvantaged riders. Given his undimmed commitment to equestrian safety, and in particular his determination to ensure that all riders should wear suitable protective head gear, it is entirely fitting that Harry should receive the public thanks and formal recognition of the Society for all the work and support he has given over many years.

Long Service Awards

30 Years

Tricia Brook (South-West Herefordshire District Representative); Margaret English (Access Assistant, Devon); Pen Greenwood (West Sussex Committee); Donald Kear (West Sussex Committee).

25 Years

Brendan Byrne (Chairman, London Area 1); Diana Russell (Chairman, Shropshire); Gill Storrs (Road Safety Representative, Avon); Sally Whittaker (Chairman, Somerset).

20 Years

Carol Shoopman (Secretary and DABO, Dorset).

Riding Safely has highlighted those award winners associated with access, health, welfare and safety.  Further detail on all the award winners can be found on the BHS website.


Award winning study shows complications during foaling on the rise

A study revealing a rise in complications in Thoroughbred foaling has won an award presented by the Royal Agricultural Society of England and drug company Merial.

Austrian-born Soraya Morscher, 26, studied foaling patterns at Kildare Stud in Ireland as part of her masters in equine science at Limerick University.

With her thesis, An Analysis of Peri-Parturient and Postnatal Events in Thoroughbreds, Soraya triumphed over four other finalists to win the Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis Award.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Nessie Lambert – 25 November 2007) at 



Special award for Professor "Twink" Allen at Animal Health Trust

The annual Animal Health Trust (AHT) Equestrian Awards on 1 November culminated in a special achievement award for Professor “Twink” Allen, for his pioneering work with the now closing equine fertility unit at Newmarket.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (2 November 2007) at 



Special award for vet working with rescued horses

An Edinburgh vet, Emma Jones has received a special award from the ILPH for her pioneering rehabilitation work with rescue cases.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 26 October 2007) at 



What do you think of health and safety?

If you have an interest in health and safety the Better Regulation Executive in the Government's Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform department (BERR) wants to hear from you.

Your responses will be fed into ‘Improving outcomes from Health and Safety: A Call for Evidence’, a review that is looking for ways to make sure health and safety requirements on business are sensible so that everyone can enjoy safer and healthier working lives.

        Improving Outcomes from Health and Safety: A Call for Evidence [PDF 509KB, 40 pages]

The review is about how the system works as a whole and is looking at the roles of employees and their representatives, insurers, customers, consultants, trade bodies, lawyers and G.Ps as well as health and safety and environmental health inspectors.

The review wants to hear your views and experience of the health and safety system.

For example:

        What are the main things that influence health and safety in your business? Could government do anything to make it easier to get things right?

        In general, how well are people at work protected?

        Are there particular health and safety requirements that do not make sense to you? What are they? Why?

        Would you rather government told you exactly what to do? Or do you want Government to leave the detail for you to sort out?

        Have you found any particular initiatives especially helpful, e.g. example risk assessments?

If you have comments prompted by those questions, any other thoughts please contact Ben Davison at Ben.Davison@berr.gsi.gov.uk or:

Review of Health and Safety
Better Regulation Executive
1 Victoria Street, 3136
London SW1H 0ET

or call +44 (0)207 215 0278.

Information about the review, the regime, more detailed questions and details of BERR’s confidentiality policy can be found in the above document ‘Improving outcomes from Health and Safety: A Call for Evidence’.

This review is not being done by the health and safety inspecting bodies – no information about individual businesses will be passed on to them, unless it is in the public interest to do so.

The project team will not respond to individuals about their views. The team cannot deal with complaints about the way the inspection bodies have dealt with individual cases – any complaints should be taken up by the normal channels. If you want advice or information about health or safety then the Health and Safety Executive or Business Link are good starting points.

Although the closing date for comments is the 31 January 2008, the review team are happy to take responses after that date until the spring who addwe hope you are able to contribute”.

More Details from BERR at:  http://bre.berr.gov.uk/regulation/reform/health_safety/index.asp


Equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers’ survey

How many equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers work in the industry?  The first online survey into the industry now aims to find out.

Lantra Sector Skills Council is carrying out the survey on its website to find out the numbers working as paraprofessionals, their background and the challenges they face.

Lantra Equine and Professions Allied to Veterinary Science Industry Partnership Manager, Lisa Jarvis said:  “We estimate that around 500 dental technicians and barefoot trimmers work in the UK, but it is an emerging area and very little is known about it.”

Training is an essential way to overcome challenges and plan effectively for the future.  As the representative body for the equine industry, Lantra works to ensure that training and qualifications meet the needs of employers and industry.  It also represents the industry at government level to shape funding policy, so that areas where there are skills gaps and a training need are prioritised.

Lisa adds:  “In order for Lantra to work with the para-professionals and Defra to develop frameworks for training and qualifications we urgently need equine dental technicians and barefoot trimmers to take part in this research.”

The survey questions are grouped into eight main themes:

        Current numbers employed in the industry

        Entry route into current job role (i.e. school, college, university)

        Training route used (length of training, type of training, accreditation)

        Predicted numbers entering the industry

        Job roles – tasks, competencies

        Business – number of clients and horses treated

        Membership of organisations

        Links to other professionals (e.g. veterinary surgeons, farriers)

If you are a paraprofessional, or a client or colleague of a paraprofessional, please take the time to log onto the business section of the Lantra website www.lantra.co.uk/businesses/equine/ to take part. 

If you would prefer to receive a copy of the survey by email, please contact Lantra Connect on tel: 0845 707 8007 or email connect@lantra.co.uk. The closing date is 31st March 2008.


Consultation of the code of practice for the welfare of equines – Scotland and Wales

Both Scotland and Wales have put out for consultation their individual codes of practice for the welfare of equines.  The content in the two documents is virtually identical with only minor differences resulting where variation between Welsh and Scottish legislation exists.

The Scottish consultation can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/publications/2007/10/16091227/0 – the closing date for comments is 11 January 2008.

The Welsh consultation can be found at http://new.wales.gov.uk/consultations/currentconsultation/envandcouncurrcons/1878955/?lang=en – the closing date for comments is 21 January 2008.

However, Horse and Hound reported that The Horse Trust has slammed the Scottish government for wasting time and money "reinventing the wheel" with its new equine welfare code of practice, arguing that the UK already has a code - The Equine Industry Welfare Guides Compendium which was drawn up by the industry in 2002 as a guide to good standards of care for police, councils and welfare bodies.

Read more from Horse and Hound at:  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=169186&cid=397


Riding Safely made the following comment to the consultations

Comments refer to Para 21 (Scotland) and Para 20 (Wales) that reads:

“Fire is always a risk in stable areas. Advice should be sought from the local Fire Prevention Officer in relation to statutory requirements. All equipment and services (lighting units, fire extinguishers and alarm systems) should be kept clean, inspected annually by an appropriately qualified person and kept in good working order. All electrical installations at mains voltage should be installed by a qualified electrician, be inaccessible to horses, well insulated, safeguarded from rodents and properly earthed. All metal pipe work and structural steelwork should be properly earthed. Highly inflammable liquid material or combustible material should not be stored in or close to stables where horses are housed. Roof beams and other ledges should be cleaned regularly. Smoking in stable areas should be prohibited.”

Riding Safely’s comments relate to electrical installations.  There is not just the risk of fire associated with electricity but there is also the risk of electrocution to both horses and humans (see evidence in Horse and Hound report below).  It is suggested that this subject is separated out and taking the numbering system from the Scottish document, existing Para 22 should be merged with Para 21 and reference to electrical installations should become Para 22.

The following revised text is suggested:

Para 22:  All electrical installations at mains voltage must be installed, maintained and periodically inspected and tested by a competent electrician in accordance with the latest edition of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) wiring regulations.  In general, wiring and fittings must be inaccessible to horses, well insulated, safeguarded from rodents and properly earthed. All metal pipe work and structural steelwork must be properly earthed.  The risk of fire and electrocution can be reduced by having the whole installation protected by a residual current device (RCD).

The word “competent” rather than “qualified” is used.  “Competent” has particular recognised meaning by the regulatory/enforcement bodies and is taken to encompass knowledge, experience, training and personal attributes.  Thus this word is more appropriate.

Electrocution horror claims two mares

H&H staff writer

23 February, 2005

The Dublin show champion Dimmer Light has been killed with another mare in a freak accident that also nearly claimed the life of their owner's mother.

It is thought an electrical fault at the family's stable yard in Donacloney, Northern Ireland, caused a short- circuit that electrified the wet yard and gates.

Ivy English went to feed the broodmares at 6am and found one mare, All About Charm, lying dead in the yard. She fetched her son, Mark, and husband, Eddie, but as they neared the yard, Coot Cup winner Dimmer Light came out of the shelter and also died.

A third mare, My Irish Charm, another Dublin and Balmoral show winner, received a slight shock. She burst through a gate into the field, which saved her life.

Eddie English spotted sparks in a corner of the yard and told his wife and son not to move.

Mark English says: "It was heartbreaking and we're still in shock. The mares were due to foal in a few weeks. They were wonderful show mares and family pets as well. My mother adored them. We're just thankful she wasn't killed when she went to investigate because she was standing in the electrified yard.

"The light switch shorted and the current travelled back and connected with the yard. Everything was live, even the gates."

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (17 February, '05)



Flooding Lessons Learned Review

The Secretary of State for the Environment announced in July 2007 that the Government was to conduct a review into the flooding that occurred in England during June and July 2007.

The Review is being led by Sir Michael Pitt, Chair of the South West Strategic Health Authority and is being carried out by the Cabinet Office with support from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).  It will examine both how to reduce the risk and impact of floods and the emergency response to the floods. The full Terms of Reference for the review can be found on the Flooding Review website.

As part of the review process, the Review team is seeking the views of affected communities and local businesses as well as other key stakeholders such as the emergency services, professional associations, local authorities, voluntary organisations, industry associations, public and regulatory bodies, and is providing the opportunity to contribute and shape the direction of the review's recommendations.

The Review team welcomes comments, ideas and suggestions from all sections of the community regarding the review, as well as feedback on the experiences of those affected by the floods in June and July 2007 or whose home or business is susceptible to the risk of flooding.

The deadline for comments before the interim report is 26 October 2007. Comments added after this time will still inform the final report.

More details from: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/floodingreview.aspx


Foot and Mouth Review: 2007

Following the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease identified in Surrey in August 2007, the Prime Minister has asked Dr Iain Anderson to look at the Government's response to the outbreak (Dr Anderson chaired the previous Inquiry into the 2001 outbreak). The terms of reference for the Foot and Mouth Review: 2007 are:

To conduct a review of the Government's handling of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease during 2007, in order to:

        establish whether relevant points from the Lessons to be Learned Report on the 2001 outbreak were implemented;

        establish whether new lessons might be drawn from the handling of the 2007 outbreak;

and to make recommendations by the end of 2007 to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the future handling of foot and mouth disease outbreaks.

The independent Review is now beginning its formal programme of work. Dr Anderson will be supported by a small secretariat of staff chosen from across Government and externally. The Review welcomes views from everyone about the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The Review will be independent. Its central objective is to establish those areas where lessons identified in the 2002 Inquiry were learned and implemented as well as whether new lessons might be drawn from the handling of the 2007 outbreak.

The closing date for comments is Friday 16 November 2007.

More details from: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/fmdreview/


Some of the consultations listed above may now have closed, however Riding Safely will keep you updated on how their outcomes might help horse owners and the industry in the future.

Defra consultation information

Details on current and past Defra consultations can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/default.asp


Defra publishes contingency plan for exotic animal diseases

Defra's Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan was laid before Parliament on 10 December 2007.

The plan is amended annually and is produced for Defra by the Animal Health agency. It includes an overarching plan for dealing with a range of exotic animal diseases, as well as plans for responding to specific diseases including Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza, specified types of Equine Exotic Diseases and, for the first time, Rabies and Bluetongue.

The plan draws on lessons learned from disease outbreaks earlier this year including the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak during the summer, the outbreaks of Avian Influenza in February and May and the ongoing Bluetongue outbreak which began in September.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Jeff Rooker said: "Our revised Contingency Plan reflects Defra's commitment to mounting an effective response to disease outbreaks. It is important to learn lessons from our response to every disease outbreak and our experiences this year have made an important contribution to the revised plan."

The Contingency Plan is subject to ongoing revision based on the latest scientific advice, developments in policy and comments from stakeholders and operational partners together with lessons identified from disease outbreaks.

Further Information

        The Contingency Plan can be accessed on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/control/contingency/index.htm

        The Contingency Plan is comprised of two parts:

o   An Overview of Emergency Preparedness which provides details of how we have prepared for the operational response; and

o   The Framework Response Plan which is an operational manual for those involved in managing the response and policy information by specific animal disease, setting out current policy on how each of these diseases will be dealt with.

Reference Information

        Find out more about Equine Notifiable Diseases and when they last occurred in the UK at www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/notifiable/index.htm


British young rider killed in Florida International three-day event

A British young rider has been killed during the Florida International three-day event.

Eleanor Brennan, aged 21, suffered head and chest injuries when her horse, Mister Barnabus, struck a fence and fell to his death.

Eleanor was rushed to hospital, but died shortly afterwards.

Read more from Horse & Hound online (Vanessa Lambert) 19 November 2007 at: http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=157835



French rider dies at Moulin one-day event

A young Frenchwoman has died whilst taking part in a one-day event at Moulin-Coulandon.

Maa Boutanos, a 29-year-old secondary school teacher was fatally injured whilst riding the novice test.  She was an experienced rider who had ridden at CCI** and advanced level.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 3 September2007) at



FEI looks again at eventing safety following another death

A new cross-country design advisory group has been launched by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in response to this year's exceptional number of eventing tragedies. Eleven riders have died since January this year.

Read more from Horse & Hound online (Charlotte White) 23 November 2007 at:  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/163212.html


British Eventing safety information

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


Reference information - Australia

Monitoring Falls During Eventing - Establishment of a national surveillance system to monitor injury to riders and horses from falls during the cross-country phase of eventing in Australia.

A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by Raymond A. Cripps and Denzil O’Brien - Flinders University - December 2004.

Read the report at:  http://www.rirdc.gov.au/reports/HOR/04-171.pdf



The first revised Highway Code in eight years was launched by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick on the 28th September 2007. The updated Code offers the latest road safety rules and advice, as well as promoting greater courtesy and understanding among all road users, particularly those who are most vulnerable.  The Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales.

Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "The Official Highway Code is for life, not just for passing your driving test. It is a crucial tool for all road users - car drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians alike - and applies to every stage of your life. Road safety is a responsibility we all share and everyone should have a copy of the Code to keep their knowledge up-to-date.”

The Code has also been updated to include new legislation that has been introduced on vehicle emissions and smoking in vehicles that are work places, as well as the provision of new stopping/directing powers to VOSA and Highways Agency Traffic Officers.  Alongside this, it references new initiatives like Quiet Lanes, High-occupancy Vehicle Lanes, Home Zones and Active Traffic Management schemes that people should be aware of, as well as increasing, re-writing or enhancing existing advice to promote greater co-operation between road users and further promote safety.

Worries about Rule 53, part of which stated “...you should...never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends” were voiced and fed back by riders and industry organisations in response to the consultation.

In addition, nearly 20,000 people signed an online petition to the Prime Minister by the closing date of the 13th of August, voicing further concern:

The BHS is asking for last-minute amendments to the new Highway Code, which could be in force in August.

The BHS suggested amendments to the new Highway Code to the Secretary of State back in February 2006. But according to BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, Mark Weston, some have apparently been ignored.

The Code will forbid riding two horses abreast on narrow and busy roads and when riding around bends. It will also exclude horses from all cycle tracks. There can be many valid reasons for riding two abreast: groups of riders, nervous horses, novice riders, and defensive riding on winding country lanes where there is insufficient room for a car to pass a single horse safely.

Breaches of the Highway Code could potentially be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts in order to establish liability in an accident. There are many cycle tracks which have been specifically designed for use by horse riders, and the loss of these would be very serious for those who rely on them.

The Government responded on the 31st of August: 

“The new edition of the Highway Code will not forbid riding horses two abreast under any circumstances. It will contain advice in rule 53 that horse riders should “never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”, but this is not a legal requirement and it does not place any compulsion on riders to ride in single file. It remains their decision whether or not they follow this advice. The distinction between legal requirements and advisory rules is made clear in the Introduction to the Code.

Similar advice is contained in rule 39 of the current edition of the Highway Code, first published in 1999, which says “never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file where the road narrows or on the approach to a bend”.

We have discussed the concerns of the British House Society (BHS) with them and have agreed to keep the operation of this rule under review and to provide further advice on its operation in the BHS Riding and Roadcraft Manual.

The new edition of the Highway Code will not exclude horses from all cycle tracks. Rule 54 will advise that horse riders “should not take a horse onto a cycle track". This has been changed from the equivalent rule 40 in the current (1999) edition, which says "You MUST NOT take a horse on to a footpath, pavement or cycle track”. This change is in recognition of the points made by the British Horse Society (BHS) during the 2006 consultation.

However, not all paths that are used by cyclists are cycle tracks, although they may be physically similar if not identical. A “cycle track” has a specific legal meaning as set out in section 329(1) of the Highways Act 1980. Cycle tracks are generally shared with pedestrians but can also be segregated paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Cycle tracks provide a right of way for cyclists with or without a right of way for pedestrians. It is therefore appropriate to advise horse riders not to use cycle tracks and it is, indeed, an offence under section 129(5) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 to ride a horse in a cycle track in Scotland.

Where paths are intended for mixed use, including horses, then they should be designated either as bridleways, all purpose highways or byways open to all traffic rather than cycle tracks. Where a local authority wishes to create a highway for horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists the correct choice of facility would be a bridleway.”

In the August BHS Chief Executive’s Report, Graham Cory wrote:  “During the past few weeks I have been interviewed on several occasions on the matter of the new Highway Code and, in particular, on the advice that riders should ride single file on narrow roads and approaching bends. I pointed out that there are circumstances in which this advice could put riders in harm’s way, and said that the BHS had repeatedly pressed the Department for Transport to amend the advice. Unfortunately, once the Minister had signed off the text drafted by his officials (which, to give him credit, he may well have read) it appears that a redraft would have looked too much like an admission of error. But error it was and error it remains.”

The last significant revision to the Code was in 1999.  The Code is only “substantially updated” every 8-10 years.

Further Information                                                                                                     

The Official Highway Code is published by The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO) and is priced at 2.50. Visit http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/highwaycode or call 0870 600 5522. Copies are also available from all good High Street and online bookstores.

An adapted online version of the Code is available at http://www.direct.gov.uk/highwaycode.

For the first time TSO are publishing The Official Highway Code on CD-ROM. The new, interactive version, launching in November 2007, will feature a range of interactive quizzes and games to test knowledge and understanding of the rules of the road.

Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk


Related Article

New Highway Code confuses horse riders – Horse & Hound Online - 20 July 2007


Horse riders lose out to BMW in bridleway row

BMW’s refusal to replace an ancient bridleway has resulted in a double blow for horse riders: a lost bridleway and a bill of 30,000 for their charity, The British Horse Society.

At a hearing on Monday 15 October 2007, Judge Brian Loosley allowed BMW to stop up a bridleway and short section of unclassified highway that stands in the way of a proposed redevelopment of their Cowley plant in Oxford. He ordered the BHS, the horse charity which had strenuously fought the closure, to pay costs of 30,000.

The Roman way had provided access to Shotover Country Park and Brasenose Woods for people who live in the south-east of Oxford, and also provided an off-road link between another bridleway to the south and a restricted byway to the north.

While BMW will provide an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists, no route will be provided for horse riders to replace the historic route which is being closed.

BMW had undertaken to pay all of the County Council’s costs arising out of the application but is apparently happy to see costs being awarded against two charities, The British Horse Society and the Ramblers Association.

The British Horse Society regards BMW's action as an attack on horse riders.

The BHS's Chief Executive Graham Cory said: "It is surprising that a company of the size and reputation of BMW is prepared, not just to dismiss the interests of riders by extinguishing a bridleway which was commercially inconvenient to the company’s shareholders, but also to see the BHS, which had sought to protect the interests of horse riders, being heavily penalised for so doing."

Mark Weston, the Society’s Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, said: “If The British Horse Society does not stand up and fight for equestrian rights of way, who will? We will be using the decision in this case to highlight the costs involved in fighting to preserve access opportunities for the future generations of riders and to launch a fund to enable the Society to fight future cases.

In a separate Campaign note Mark Weston wrote:

The recent loss of an established equestrian right of way, and costs of 30,000 against the BHS have galvanised the launch of the BHS Access Fighting Fund. Money raised will be used to engage in legal proceedings on behalf of all equestrians.

We urge you to donate what you are able to afford at www.justgiving.com/accessfightingfund, where you can also find some information on the Bridleway 75 case that prompted the fund's creation.

If you'd prefer not to donate online, you can send a cheque, made payable to the 'The British Horse Society' , to: Access and Rights of Way Department, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ. Please indicate that you'd like the money to go to the Access Fighting Fund.”

Read additional reporting from Horse & Hound Online – 28 October 2007 at:


Read the full text of the Judge’s decision at:



County supports Hannah's horse safety campaign

A campaign by ten-year-old Hannah Mudd to make roads in Funtington safer for horse riders, cyclists and walkers has been taken up by West Sussex County Council.

Hannah has come up with posters and a slogan 'We don't dent, we DIE' to raise awareness of the problems horses and their riders face on roads in the Funtington area, such as motorists going too fast and not waiting for horse riders to move to the side of the road.

Read more from the Chichester Observer (18 October 2007) at  http://www.chichester.co.uk/chichester/County-supports-Hannah39s-horse-safety.3389308.jp

And supporting reports at

New posters will promote hannah's safety message. The campaign by ten-year-old Hannah Mudd to make roads in Funtington safer for horse riders, cyclists and walkers has been taken up by West Sussex

 16 October 2007

Hannah: Must I die for you to slow down? A ten-year-old girl has asked whether she needs to die before roads are made safer for horse riders.Hannah Mudd has been given huge praise for her safety campaign

 06 September 2007

Girl (10) launches safety campaign for horse riders. Hannah Mudd (10) is so concerned about the situation that she has read a letter to West Stoke Parish Council asking members to support her campaign.

 04 September 2007 

The BHS opens Sea Horse Ride from the mouth of the River Dee to the A5

The British Horse Society opened the 53-mile Sea Horse Ride stretching from the northerly coast of Wales down to the A5 at Glyndyfrdwy on Tuesday 11 September 2007.

Michael Griffiths CBE, DL, FLS, FRSA officially opened the ride at the Bridlewood Riding Centre, Holywell.

He said: "As a past Chair of the Countryside Council for Wales and having been an enthusiastic rider all of my life, I am very conscious of the importance and benefits of a ride like this, and am very happy to be here today."

The ride was devised by former Regional Access and Bridleways Officer Brenda Wickham with help from the BHS North East Wales Committee and Wales on Horseback.

The Sea Horse Ride is a route of total contrasts, from the wide beach, with its old lighthouse, at the start of the ride, to the Clwydian Range with its stunning views across the Vale of Clwyd, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Stretching from Talacre to Glyndyfrdwy, the Sea Horse Ride will form part of the Great Dragon Ride with the Radnor Forest Ride, The Prince Llywelyn Ride and the forthcoming Sarn Helen and William Morgan routes.

The opening of the Seahorse Ride is another great stride forward into Wales for the Ride UK National Bridleroute Network, a British Horse Society initiative to highlight equestrian access issues and provide riders with a network of rideable routes.

Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, Safety and Welfare, said: "The Seahorse Ride will provide spectacular riding for those who wish to explore this part of Wales. Our thanks go to our volunteers, without whom this new ride would not have been possible."

Henry Whittaker, BHS Access Senior Executive, said: "It is encouraging that progress is being made on the Ride UK project, helping us to defend, extend and promote a network of routes throughout the UK."

Source:  British Horse Society - 12 September 2007


BHS Access Petition

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

On the 10 Downing Street E-Petition’s website the detail reads:

“Equestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and need increased access, yet they have not been included in recent access-creating legislation, for example, the access given to walkers in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Over 4 million people in the UK ride horses or drive horse-drawn vehicles. The equine industry is the second biggest land-based industry estimated to be worth 4 billion and to employ 150,000 people. The current coastal access proposal should be extended to provide access for all non-motorised users thus allowing mixed family groups to exercise together. This would be consistent with the joint Government/Industry-backed Strategy for the Horse Industry, published in December 2005. Providing access for equestrians and cyclists, as well as walkers, represents better value than just providing access for walkers.”

The E-Petition is open until 23 March 2008 and can be found at:



The BHS wins royal safety award  


BHS presented with their award by Prince Michael

The British Horse Society has won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award (PMIRSA) for its Riding & Road Safety Training programme. 

Chief Executive, Graham Cory, accompanied by Claire Aldridge (Chairman of the Safety Advisory Committee) and Sheila Hardy (Senior Executive Safety), received the prestigious award on 11 December at The Savoy Hotel in London.

The award honours those who have contributed at the highest level to help in reducing road casualties. This is the third time that advancement in the Society’s Riding & Road Safety Test has received a top award through PIMRSA. 

Each year the most outstanding examples of international road safety initiatives are given public recognition through the scheme – this year recipients also included organisations from both Singapore and Russia.

 Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access, Safety & Welfare, said: "It cannot be underestimated what an achievement it is for the British Horse Society to be recognised for the third time, by this award.

"It highlights the importance that the road safety industry places on our riding and road safety test programme which has recently received further recognition as it has been accredited by the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority as part of the National Qualification Framework.  The need for riders to take responsibility for their safety when they ride out on the road cannot be ignored."


New powers may ban off-roaders

National parks have been given new powers by Defra to control the use of 4x4s, motorbikes and other vehicles on their land which could increase safety for horse riders.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 4 November 2007) at 



Skills CV launched for equine grooms

Grooms' skills are being recognised for the first time with a new "grooms' passport", the Equine Skills CV (ESCV).

The CV provides grooms who have practical experience, but lack the qualifications currently offered by such bodies as the British Horse Society (BHS) and Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS), with a document detailing their abilities and experience.

It is hoped it will also offer some kind of clear career progression.

Lucy Katan of the British Grooms Association (BGA), which launched the project two weeks ago, said it aims to bridge a careers gap for many grooms.

"There are very good qualifications out there, and this is not trying to be one; this is an elaborate CV," she said. "Grooms requested that their skills are better recognised in the workplace."

Plans for the ESCV were released last June, when the project was dubbed the "grooms' passport". It has been produced by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and LANTRA, the government's land-based skills council.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher – 21 October 2007) at


Find out more about the Equine Skills CV from the British Grooms Association at http://www.britishgrooms.org.uk/ESCV_About_it.html


Riders warned not to exercise horses alone near Brixham in Devon

Riders in Devon were warned not to exercise their horses alone in remote areas after a teenager was pulled from her horse by a sex attacker on Saturday 24 November.

The 17-year-old was riding on a Mansands beach between Brixham and Kingswear when she was pulled from her horse by a man who then tried to take off her clothing.

According to Totnes Police, she resisted his attack and the man ran off, leaving her distressed and with bruises and scratches.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher – 29 November 2007) at 



Personal security was a topic covered at the 2007 British Horse Society's Safety Conference.  Find out more >>>


New plans to protect show judges

Showing societies are to tackle a growing problem of judges being thrown in the ring.

Simon Somers broke ribs last summer at the Bath and West Show, then dislocated his shoulder in a fall from a hunter he was judging at a show over the August bank holiday.

Another judge, Ian Smeeth, had a fall at the Royal, Allen Mickleburgh rode a horse that "reared spectacularly" at the Derbyshire Festival of Showing and Lucy Killingbeck told Horse &Hound she has had more horses "trying to dump" her this year than in her entire career as a judge.

Earlier this year, the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) set up an accident reporting system, through which its board will investigate such incidents.

Simon Somers told Horse &Hound: "I've hit the ground many times. I wouldn't mind if I'd been cantering around and a balloon had popped, but I just took two steps on a lightweight hunter and it said 'get off'."

Afterwards, Mr Somers learned the horse had thrown its rider while warming up for the class.

"In New Zealand, America and Australia, there is no ride judging, and unless people take responsibility for their horses in the ring, it'll be the same here," he pointed out.

Self-employed Mr Somers has been unable to work since his injury, and added: "People forget that we give up our time for free."

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher – 28 October 2007) at



The British Horse Society rides in to help young people with difficulties

The British Horse Society has pioneered a Back on Track scheme to help young people with difficulties to cope better through riding.

The BHS in Somerset responded to a call for help from the county's Activity and Sports Partnership.

BHS Somerset chairman Sally Whittaker and retired teacher Bridget Chalfont-Griffin, BHS Somerset's Road Safety Representative, saw how troubled young people could build up their confidence through working with horses.

They were successful in their application for a grant from the Somerset Community Foundation and Local Network fund and picked two riding schools for the mission.

Sally said: "Groups of children aged eight to 14, from Frome and Bridgwater in Somerset, began a 10-week course, kitted out by British Horse Society members, riding at Alstone Court, Highbridge, and Longhorn Western Riding, Corsley.

"The lessons improved their motivation and social skills, and all of them are showing more confidence in school.  We saw them handle their anger more effectively and show understanding and empathy for their ponies."

Bridget Chalfont-Griffin said that, as a teacher, she noticed a remarkable transformation in the children when they were with the horses.

She said: "They worked together as a group when they had had issues doing so before.  Their self-esteem was improved and they were fully accepting of each other. It is helping to put them back on a positive track for their future lives."

Bridget said that one 10-year-old boy, who had dropped out of school after experiencing great difficulties, was now planning to go back to school as a result of working with horses.  "It has made a big difference to him," she added.

Source: BHS 28 November 2007 


Racing simulator will train jockeys' minds and bodies

THE world's first racing simulator designed to train a jockey's mind as well as his body was unveiled to the public at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday 27 October 2007.

Inventor Bill Greenwood, whose Cheshire-based company Racewood has spent 17 years evolving the machine, says it is the only simulator that addresses the psychology of racing.

"This machine is designed to exercise jockeys' brains as well as their muscles. It reacts to every move they make and accurately reflects the impact of their decisions in a real race environment."

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Sophie Little – 23 October 2007) at



ILPH launches bursary for equine vet students

The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is offering bursaries worth up to 3,000 to students at each of the country's veterinary schools, enabling them to visit the one of the charity's projects in the UK or abroad.

The ILPH is launching the Equine Veterinary Undergraduate Bursary scheme to encourage the advancement of veterinary education and equine welfare and to familiarise final-year vet students with the work of the charity.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 8 November 2007) at 



Injured horse put down

When Hampshire Fire and Rescue crews attended a horse reported stuck in its stables it became clear the animal's predicament was more serious.

A vet diagnosed that the animal had broken its leg several days previously and had to put it down.

More details from this is Hampshire.net (17 December 2007) at http://www.thisishampshire.net/display.var.1910951.0.injured_horse_put_down.php


Dead yearling found dumped in Hertfordshire lane

An appeal for information was launched by Police in Hertfordshire after a dead pony was found in a quiet country lane.

The yearling was still warm when it was found on the roadside by a farmer at about 9.30am on Friday 14 December 2007, in Grubbs Lane, Wild Hill near Welwyn.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (19 December 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=170432&cid=397


Man charged following horse drowning at Appleby Fair

An 'exhaustive' investigation by police and the RSPCA has led to a Kent man being charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a horse that drowned while being "washed" in the River Eden at this year's Appleby Fair held in June.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher – 14 November 2007) at 



Warrant issued for arrest of Essex woman who breached ban


An Essex woman, who was banned from keeping equines for 20 years, after she neglected a pony in one of the worst cases the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) has seen, has been found guilty of breaching her ban.

Sandra Carpenter, from the South Ockendon area of Essex, was found guilty in her absence at Basildon Magistrates Court on Monday 15th October 2007 and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Mrs Carpenter was found guilty in 1993 of causing unnecessary suffering to a pure bred Exmoor pony mare called Annie, a case that shocked the ILPH and the general public alike. Annie was discovered in June 1992 emaciated, barely able to walk, and only a few days from death. Mrs Carpenter was given a 20 year ban and 180 hours community service. Then in a separate case in March 2002, Mrs Carpenter was given a two month prison sentence and a further 10 year ban for causing unnecessary suffering to a grey broodmare. On appeal this was increased to a 12 year ban and a four month suspended prison sentence. 

On 1st March 2006, ILPH Field Officer Michael Smith found Sandra Carpenter in breach of her ban again in the Billericay area of Essex, where she was keeping a horse and pony. He immediately contacted the RSPCA who caught Sandra Carpenter two days later in control of an equine without supervision and thereby breaching her ban.

Michael Smith said: “This is a fantastic outcome which should hopefully result in Sandra Carpenter being given a custodial sentence. This was indicated by the Chairman of the Bench on Monday 15th October.

“I will never forget the day in 2001 when I was shown a photograph of Annie. In my 6 years with the ILPH it is the worst case I have seen where the equine has recovered. Sandra Carpenter has repeatedly flouted her ban and I hope this will finally be a lesson to her.”

ILPH Annie made a full recovery and was happily re-homed through the ILPH loan scheme as a companion pony. Anyone who is concerned about the welfare of a horse or pony can call the ILPH welfare line in confidence on 0870 871 1927. 

Source: ILPH (19 October 2007) – www.ilph.org


The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is one of the world’s leading equine welfare charities - working for a world where the horse is used but never abused.

About the ILPH:

        Founded in 1927 to prevent British horses being exported for slaughter. Succeeded in achieving this in 1937 and this situation remains in place today.

        Continues to campaign with some success in Europe to stop the long distance transport of horses for slaughter.

        Lobbies to achieve major input into all welfare legislation impacting on horses.

        Operates four recovery and rehabilitation centres in the UK rescuing and rehabilitating over 250 horses a year.  The ILPH has around 2,000 horses in its ownership at any one time, either in farms or in loan homes.

        Deploys 16 Field Officers, recruited at a senior level, to investigate more than 1,500 individual welfare concerns a year.

        The Operations Department deals with 30,000 calls a year seeking advice or informing of welfare problems.

        Transforms the lives of many working horses and their owners in many countries in the Developing World with five year courses designed to leave behind an ever-expanding knowledge base in basic horse husbandry.

        Few other organisations in the world do as much for horses as the ILPH.


Surrey horse abuser arrested, fined and banned for 10 years

A Surrey woman who failed to show at Guildford Magistrates Court on Monday 26th November, charged with causing unnecessary suffering to three ponies, has been banned from keeping any more horses for 10 years.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Mrs Michele Alcroft of 37 Hamesmoor Road, Mytchett, after she failed to turn up and Surrey Police later caught up with her at her home on Friday 7th December where she was arrested and taken to court that afternoon.

At Guildford Magistrates Court Michele Alcroft was given a 10 year ban, ordered to work 80 hours unpaid community service and pay costs of 2000 to the RSPCA within 14 days. The Judge used the phrase ‘appalling’ three times when summing up what he described as the ‘gross dereliction of her animals.’

ILPH Field Officer Ted Barnes commented: “This is a fantastic result and is one of the best outcomes of any case I have been involved with. Michele Alcroft’s three horses have thrived in the care of the ILPH and will eventually be rehomed through our loan scheme.”

If you are concerned about the welfare of a horse or pony, please call the ILPH Welfare Hotline on free phone number 08000 480180.

Source ILPH - 11 December 2007


Spotlight on Dartmoor pony safety after more deaths

Five ponies have been killed on roads in the Dartmoor National Park over the past two months while a local charity campaigns for safer roads

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (22 December 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=170356&cid=397


Council swoops to rescue abandoned horses in Middlesex

Harrow horse rescue

Twenty-two horses were seized on Monday 10 December 2007 from land near Harrow, Middlesex for their own safety and that of local residents.

In a joint operation by Harrow Council, police and Redwings Horse Sanctuary, the horses were removed from the land at Old Redding where dealers were keeping them illegally.

(Note staff wearing riding hats for protection during the rescue operation)

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White - 11 December 2007) at



FEI acts to combat abuse of show jumpers legs

New measures to combat the hypersensitisation of horses' legs during major show jumping competitions were unveiled recently by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

The move aims to eliminate the practice in which substances applied to horses' legs increase their sensitivity. This makes it painful for the horse to hit a show jumping pole and makes it lift its limbs higher.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher – 26 November 2007) at 



Horse welfare at top of FEI review of endurance riding

A working party charged with developing new ideas for the sport of endurance submitted a raft of proposals to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

Among them were suggestions for a new qualifying system for riders; suspending horses and riders from competition after they are eliminated from a race; and more specialised training for vets and officials.

The FEI announced plans to overhaul the rules of endurance in the spring, following vast growth in the sport, and a number of equine deaths in recent years.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abigail Butcher - 2 December 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=164945&cid=397


‘Credit card’ bid to cut animal accidents

The New Forest National Park Authority with its partners the Forestry Commission, Verderers and Police launched a new initiative to cut animal deaths in the New Forest on 19 October 2007.

The New Forest animal emergency hotlines card is a fresh bid to reduce the death toll among the Forest’s ponies, cattle, donkeys, pigs, sheep and deer.  More than 100 commoners’ animals are killed or injured on the Forest’s roads each year, along with a similar number of deer.

The National Park Authority and its partners are calling on people who drive through the New Forest to drive slowly, especially at night, and give animals a wide berth.

The Authority wants to increase awareness of the difficult and unpleasant work these organisations do and help raise the profile of the importance of driving sensibly through the Forest.  

The wallet-sized animal emergency hotlines card also tells drivers who to call if they do have an accident involving an animal.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor Services for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The aims of the card are to help reduce accidents by raising awareness of the issue and to tell people what to do if they are involved in an accident involving an animal or if they see a sick, injured or distressed animal.

‘It is important that people report all animal accidents as soon as possible; some animals survive but have serious internal injuries. We hope that people will keep the card in their wallets or cars so that the numbers to call are always at hand.’

Nigel added: ‘Ponies have no road-sense, regularly walk out in front of vehicles and have right of way. Drivers need to give them a wide berth. Foals often walk across the road to their mothers. The key message in the New Forest National Park is: drive slowly because there are animals on the road day and night.’

The animal information card has been sent out with the latest edition of the Authority’s publication Park Life and can be picked up at the National Park Headquarters at South Efford House. In the coming months, it will be distributed widely in and around the National Park.


New intensive care unit for horses at University of Liverpool

A new equine intensive care unit will be built at the University of Liverpool, thanks to a 300,000 grant from the Bransby Home of Rest for Horses.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Abi Butcher – 4 November 2007) at 



Defra/AHT/BEVA equine quarterly disease surveillance report - Volume 3, No 3 now available

The latest Defra/AHT/BEVA equine quarterly disease surveillance report covering the period July - September 2007 is available from the AHT website at:  http://www.aht.org.uk/pdf/equine_vol3_3.pdf

All reports produced to date are available online at http://www.aht.org.uk/equine_disease.html and can also be accessed via the Animal Health Trust's home page by clicking on the Equine Disease Surveillance logo in the bottom left-hand corner of the page (http://www.aht.org.uk/).

You can register to receive future reports via email by visiting: http://www.aht.org.uk/equine_disease_registration.html


Twenty-six horses die in barn fire

Twenty-six horses perished as a result of a devastating barn fire at Burgundy Hill Farm (also known as Hobby Hill Farm) in Marcy, New York on 27 November 2007. In addition to the lost horses, the barns and all equipment were totally destroyed. The ten surviving horses, temporarily stabled together in Vernon, New York, are doing well.

Read more from the Burgundy Hill Farm Fire Relief website at http://www.burgandyhillfarmfirerelief.com/index.asp

and news from 9wsyr.com at http://www.9wsyr.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=08372062-4013-4c49-b8a1-cef6028fb661


Police appeal after arsonists torch stables

Distraught horse owners fear their animals could have been killed by sick arsonists who torched three caravans, two vehicles and 20 bales of hay at a site on Romeley Lane, Stanfree, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

The field is rented by three friends Sally James, Lucy Darnell and Debbie Wynn, as a base for their eight horses.

A steel shelter where the animals sometimes rest was torched and Mrs James said she was "greatly relieved" they were in a separate part of the field or they could have been killed.

She added: "Luckily the horses were away from the fire but it must have been distressing for them and they've been very jumpy since."

Read more from the Derbyshire Times.co.uk (18 September 2007) at  http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/chesterfield/Police-appeal-after-arsonists-torch.3208999.jp


Trying to prevent Arson

Information from:

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

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

Toolkits from crimereduction.gov.uk


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

Related Information

Avoiding the risk of fire

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

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

Changes in fire safety law

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

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



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


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


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



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

Woman, child and horse die in road accident

Twenty-four-year-old mother Stephanie Ward and her four-year-old daughter Samantha Ford were killed as they walked beside a horse on a road near Wisbech, on 31 October 2007.

The horse was killed by a collision with a blue Peugeot 306 on the B1169 at Leverington Common, Leverington.  The nine-year-old girl who was riding was also injured along with a second woman, aged 37.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (1 November 2007) at 



Woman rider dies in a fall at stables

Heartfelt tributes were paid to a woman who died following a fall from her horse on 16 October 2007.

Georgia Hill, 31, was pronounced dead in hospital two hours after the tragedy which happened at stables at Manor Farm, Old Hollings Hill, Guiseley.  She is believed to have been riding her horse in the stables' mnage when her foot slipped on the stirrup and she fell, banging her head.

Read more from the Bradford Telegraph and Argus (19 October 2007) at  http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/newsindex/display.var.1774228.0.woman_rider_dies_in_a_fall_at_stables.php


Wiltshire man dies from kick

A horse being turned out became frightened, reared and delivered a fatal kick to the chest of Wiltshire man.

Source:  The Daily Mirror 29 December 2007 - Read the full report at  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2007/12/29/rider-sees-horse-kill-her-father-89520-20268021/


Jouster dies after being speared through eye in freak accident

A professional jouster died after a lance splintered in his eye in a freak accident during a re-enactment for Channel 4's Time Team.

The HSE is investigating the accident. A spokesman said “"During the course of an investigation, we visit the site of the accident, interview witnesses and look at the risk assessment prepared by the people in charge".  

Read more from thisislondon.co.uk  (23 October 2007)


Crash injures man and kills horse

A man has been seriously injured and a horse was killed after being hit by a car in Newland Common Road, Droitwich, Worcestershire on Saturday 29 December.

It is understood that a 4x4 vehicle hit the man who was walking behind the horse with another pedestrian.

Source:  BBC News Online 30 December 2007 - Read the full report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hereford/worcs/7164816.stm


Child injured in low-flying incident with military helicopters

An angry Pony Club mother has hit out at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after her daughter was badly injured when her pony was spooked by two military helicopters. Anita Rose and her children, Gabrielle (13) and Nathanial (8), were at a Ludlow Hunt Pony Club rally in Greete, Shropshire on 22 October when two Chinooks flew overhead.

Mrs Rose said Fern, the pony being ridden by Gabrielle, reared and fell over backwards, landing on the child. Her daughter was airlifted to hopsital with a broken pelvis and thighbone. "She [Gabrielle] is lucky she had no internal injuries. She should have no lasting damage but will be off school for at least three more weeks and will not be able to go back to riding until February," Mrs Rose told Horse & Hound. "It's strange the helicopters were that low in an area where there were lots of horses. There must be more unoccupied places to fly."

In a separate incident on Wednesday 31 October, three riders hacking along a country lane near Market Harborough were "buzzed" by a military helicopter which came directly over the horses. "He was low-flying and came over the horizon from our left," said Davina Wilson, who was out on her six-year-old ex-racehorse. "All three of us had hi-vis clothing on and I'm sure he could see us, but he came right over us and we could feel the downdraught”.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 10 November 2007) at 



Champion rider, 11, is seriously injured by kick to head

Junior British Endurance Champion Dean Brown, 11, has been left seriously injured after being kicked in the head by a pony.  He had been bringing in prized pony Razzina when he slipped and was struck by another pony trotting close by.

He was rushed to Dorset County Hospital by the Portland Coastguard rescue helicopter after the accident on Portland.

Dean was subsequently transferred to Southampton Hospital where a spokeswoman said he was 'doing okay'.

Read more from the Dorset Echo Online (Sarah Goldthorpe) 22 December 2007 at



Ponies killed after escaping from showground

Two ponies were killed after straying on to the A1 near Grantham, while corralled in a field at Arena UK for a mounted games competition.

Lincolnshire police say the ponies, belonging to a family from South Wales, were killed outright in collisions with a Mercedes car and an articulated lorry. Neither driver was seriously injured.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 10 September2007) at



Firefighters help rescue Shire horse trapped in ditch

A record-breaking heavyweight horse needed a giant helping hand out of a tight spot when he became trapped in a ditch.

Three fire service vehicles and a tractor took three hours to rescue Shire horse Jim — who stands 17.3hh and weighs around 1,000kg — after he got stranded in the deep ditch at Steps Farm, Wyke Champflower, Somerset, when a fence he had been leaning against gave way.

After discovering his plight, owner Noreen Daniel, 54, called vet Sharon Alston who in turn raised the alarm with the emergency services.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Karl Grafton - 7 December 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=166074&cid=397


A 16-hand Welsh Cob cross Shire and Hanoverian horse is lucky to be alive after becoming trapped in a cattle grid in the New Forest.  12-year-old Flash Gordon was being ridden by his owner along a forest road, near Brockenhurst on Monday, December 31.  As they tried to negotiate a cattle grid so Gordon stumbled and fell, lodging his front hooves firmly in the grid.  His hooves were too large to manipulate out and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to assist, along with their specialist Rural Safety Officer, Jim Green.

Fire-fighters using cutters on the cattle grid
Click on picture to enlarge

Watch Manager Green said: “Flash’s hind hooves were free, but trapped by his front hooves which were too big to get out of the grid. Historically many of these incidents end badly with a horse thrashing so much to get free they often break limbs.  “Fortunately Brockenhurst fire-fighters kept the scene as quiet and as stress free as possible until the animal rescue team arrived.”  Watch Manager Green worked closely with Vets Jenny Leckenby and Alasdair Bath to sedate and then anaesthetise Gordon so fire-fighters could spread the cattle grid enough to release the two hooves.

"Flash" being dragged to a safe area
Click on picture to enlarge

He added: “These cattle grids are very tough and it took a little while to create enough clearance to enable the legs to be freed. After his release, fire-fighters used a backward drag method to slide Flash to a safe area where he could be brought round from the anaesthetic.

“Flash is now back on his feet and being treated at a veterinary clinic. A good bit of teamwork and increased expertise in this specialist area of rescue enabled a successful outcome for Flash.”

"Flash" Recovering
Click on picture to enlarge

Two crews attended the incident which happened at 10:08 on Monday, December 31 at Tilebarn Lane, Setley, in the New Forest.  Crews were from Brockenhurst and Eastleigh along with Rural Safety Officer, Jim Green.

Large animal rescue however is recognised as one of the most dangerous activities a firefighter will be engaged in and so to protect firefighters and members of the public, specialised training and equipment is essential.  Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service introduced its team of Rural Safety Officers in 2006 to meet increasing demands for assistance at large animal rescues.  But not only do they respond to horse, cow or pig rescues but they also turn their hand to wild animals and last year rescued approximately 170 animals – large and small.  The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Rural Safety Team are widely regarded as leaders in their field and are involved in training programmes for Fire and Rescue Services around the country.

Source:  Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (www.hantsfire.gov.uk) 31 December 2007


Emergency Services Protocol Flyer

Related information

Emergency Services Protocol

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

        The guidelines aim to ensure 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 at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=119785

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


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

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


EU Welfare in transport Regulation – extension given to obtain competence certification

From 5 January 2007, a new Regulation on the protection of animals during transport applies across the European Union (EU), with some elements coming into force later in 2008 & 2009.  The heart of the regulation is that “No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way that is likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them”.

The requirement of the Regulation, that by the 5th of January 2008, those transporting cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses and poultry by road on journeys over 65km (approximately 40 miles) in connection with an economic activity have to be independently assessed and certificated in their competence has now been extended to the end of April 2008.  The reason is outlined in the Defra statement: 

We are aware that Foot and Mouth Disease and Bluetongue have effectively prevented livestock farmers and hauliers from devoting time to achieving the certificate of competence. As part of the package of aid measures recently announced by Hilary Benn, it has been agreed with UK enforcement authorities that no sanctions will be taken against transporters not in possession of competence certificates until the end of April 2008.

This arrangement applies only to domestic journeys within the UK. To avoid any possibility of enforcement action whilst abroad, exporters of farm livestock, horses and poultry must obtain competence certificates before 5 January 2008.”

Related information

Welfare of Animals During Transport - Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006

Defra (main page) - Animal welfare: Implementation of EU Welfare in transport Regulation (EC) No 1/2005

Defra Guidance - Welfare of Animals During Transport Regulations - Equine related case studies (what is economic activity?)


Useful Information

The Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners

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



Driver wins 1.25m pay-out after hitting runaway horse

A taxi driver left with severe head injuries when his car struck a runaway horse that was on the road has won a 1.25million pay-out in London’s High Court.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (21 December 2007) at



Jockey gets 85,000 for broken leg

A former jockey has received 85,000 compensation after breaking his leg so badly that he will never ride again.

Andrew Ball was employed at trainer Heidi Sweeting's 20-horse yard in South Marlborough when the accident took place.

He was riding with a fellow jockey, whose horse kicked out and caught Mr Ball's lower leg, fracturing his tibia.

Despite extensive medical treatment, infection set in and it took him two years to recover from his injury. Recurring weakness in his leg means he is no longer able to ride.

The trainer's insurers admitted liability and settled out of court.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (17 September 2007) at



Responsible Horse Owners to Benefit from MP’s Proposed Law

Responsible owners of animals could be protected from unfair compensation claims by summer 2008, if a Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 5th December 2007 by Stephen Crabb, (Conservative Member of Parliament for Preseli Pembrokeshire) is able to progress smoothly through both Houses of Parliament.

The proposed law aims to ensure that responsible animal owners cannot be unfairly forced to pay compensation, where they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent accidents.  Under current law, owners of animals such as horses and cattle can face huge compensation claims, even when it is accepted that an accident involving one of their animals was not their fault.  The problem is particularly severe for horse owners.  Ever since the House of Lords ruled in 2003 that “strict liability” applied to all animal owners, insurance premiums have soared, threatening the livelihoods of thousands in small stables across the country.

Stephen Crabb introduced a 'ten minute rule' Bill on this subject on 27th June 2007, with a second reading on 19th October 2007, but, despite widespread support for the Bill, it was not possible for the Bill to make progress under that procedure.  However, since coming sixth in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills in the new Session of Parliament, Stephen Crabb has introduced another Bill on this topic, which now stands much greater chance of success.

Stephen Crabb commented:

“The existing situation is grossly unfair to responsible animal owners, including many in my own constituency.  Not only are rural businesses placed at risk by the huge increase in premiums since the House of Lords judgement, but the millions of people who enjoy horse riding face extra costs as a result.  Many stables have already closed and many more are threatened.

“I have been working with the organisations representing the communities affected by this problem and have reached a broad consensus on the change needed to protect responsible animal owners.  I hope the Bill will now be supported by a broad coalition of interested groups.  I am also hopeful that the government will consider the case for this necessary change carefully.”

The Bill was formally introduced in the House of Commons on 5th December 2007 and will receive its first detailed consideration at Second Reading on 14th March 2008.  If it is able to progress smoothly through both Houses of Parliament, the Bill could become law by next summer.

Graham Cory, Vice Chairman of the British Horse Industry Confederation and Chief Executive of The British Horse Society welcomed the Bill:

“For years we have pressed the Government to remove the iniquity of strict liability contained in section 2 of the Animals Act 1971.  The strength of the new Bill, which should commend it to the wider community, is that it does not seek to exculpate animal owners from their duty to take reasonable care.  It is only those who have done all that they could reasonably be expected to do who will be relieved of the unfair burden of strict liability.  It will not provide a “get out of jail free” card for the negligent.”

In the British Horse Society’s December 2007 monthly report, Graham Cory adds:

“At long last it appears that there is a reasonable prospect that the Animals Act 1971 may be amended to limit the strict liability faced by animal owners (including horse owners) when their animals cause damage or injury despite all care being taken by the owner.

Stephen Crabb MP, with the full support of the BHS, has tabled a Private Members’ Bill, the effect of which would be to remove liability from the owner if the animal causing the damage had acted in a way which the owner could not reasonably have been expected to foresee.

Our own Parliamentary Advisor, Dr Harry Greenway, and eminent equestrian lawyer Jane Phillips are lending their support. It would help very much if members would write to their own MP asking them to back Stephen Crabb’s Bill. Their letters need not be long and detailed - perhaps something along the lines of: “Stephen Crabb’s Private Members Bill to amend the Animals Act 1971 has its Second Reading on 14 March. The scope of the Bill is not broad, as it merely seeks to give to the 1971 Act the meaning it was originally intended to bear."

Unfortunately, the passage of time and the decisions of the House of Lords have shown that the Act’s remit has expanded beyond its original purpose. The result of this flaw in the Act has been to burden owners of animals which are not normally dangerous with a strict liability for damage even if they had exercised infinitely more care than a normally reasonable person would do.

So, because of the strict liability in the Act, the wholly blameless, conscientious, careful person can be liable for damage which he or she was powerless to prevent. In the view of one of the Law Lords who heard the leading case (Mirvahedy v Henley) the practical consequence is to load onto a tiny majority all the normal risks which society implicitly recognises as being normally attendant upon entering into the countryside.

This in turn has the consequence of placing a disproportionately huge insurance burden on riding schools, livery yards and private owners in your constituency, at a time when equestrian businesses are often operating on wafer-thin margins and when costs for individual horse owners already account for a large slice of their disposable incomes.

“The Bill has cross party and Government support. I hope you will be able to support it.””

View video footage of Stephen Crabb’s Ten Minute rule motion from the House of Commons - 27th June 2007 - which gives further background to the issue (slow download, but worthwhile)

Read further reporting from Horse and Hound


Related Feature

First appeared in the January/February/March 2006 Newsletter

Special Feature – Will I be successfully sued?

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

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

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

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

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


Workplace health, safety and welfare: a short guide for managers

An updated version of the HSE publication ‘Workplace health, safety and welfare: a short guide for managers’, INDG244, was released on 17 December 2007.  The leaflet gives a brief outline of the requirements of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 which cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues and apply to most workplaces.

It can be downloaded at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg244.pdf


Myth of the Month

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

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

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


Australian toddler tossed, killed by horse

An 18-month-old Perth boy has died after a horse picked him up with its teeth and threw him several metres.

The toddler and his mother were in a paddock on their property in Oakford, south of Perth, when the accident happened on Monday afternoon.

Police say the horse picked the boy up by the neck with its teeth and threw him into the air several metres.

The boy was in a critical condition and died in Princess Margaret Hospital this morning.

Source:  foxnews.com (12 December 2007) at:  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,316533,00.html


Equine businesses chance to shake up industry education and training

The Yorkshire Rural Academy needs equine businesses in Yorkshire to help to discuss the future of equine education and training.

The equine consultation event, to be held on the 30th January at the Innovation Centre in York, is being run in conjunction with the Yorkshire Rural Academy and Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the equine industry.

The event will provide the opportunity for equine employers to gain an understanding of the new Animal Transportation Regulations, discuss current equine training and education provision, review courses on offer and develop new bespoke training packages in-line with your industry requirements and discuss study methods and venue locations where training can be delivered.

This is the first in a range of consultations to be held across the region, which have been set up to help invigorate the delivery of today’s training and qualifications and gear it more towards the needs and requirements of your businesses.

Businesses that attend the sessions will have the opportunity to share their views, knowledge and experiences that will offer valuable inside information on the gaps, strengths and failures of the courses being offered within Yorkshire. 

Change and flexibility is the key to development and education must follow that of businesses in order to meet with changing demands. 

Academy co-ordinator, Caroline Williams, said:  “This is a great opportunity for rural businesses, in Yorkshire, to have their say in the development of future training for their industry.  As an Academy we can deliver educational courses, but firstly we need to know the training needs of businesses to enable us to develop our courses to benefit the rural environment.  Two way communication is what is required to push a sustainable growing educational provision.”

If you run an equine business located in the Yorkshire and Humber region and wish to take part in this consultation session or for more information then please contact Caroline Williams on 01904 772246 or email info@yorkshire-rural-academy.co.uk

More about The Yorkshire Rural Academy

   The Yorkshire Rural Academy was conceived in the heart of rural North Yorkshire by four founding organisations committed to meeting the challenge of a rapidly changing land-based economy.

   The organizations involved are Lantra, Craven College, Askham Bryan College and York St. John University.

   The academy showcases what training opportunities are available and can create a specialist bespoke programme for employers and their business.

Equine businesses chance to find out about funding

Environmental and land-based businesses, including equine, in the South West can get free advice and information to help them as they grow at an open day to be held in Somerset.

The Business Improvement Day, to be held on February 15 2008, in Ilminster, Somerset, has been organised by Train to Gain in partnership with Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based industries.

The open day will provide equine businesses with an update on key issues in their sector, as well as advice about new ways of increasing business and attracting new customers.

Funding opportunities and other new initiatives will be explored, while participants can also learn more about ways of planning their business. There will also be an emphasis on managing, developing and motivating staff.

The South West region has a population of over 5 million and is the largest and most rural of all English regions.  There are around 23,600 businesses or organisations that operate wholly or principally in the land-based sector within the South West, 4.07% of which are businesses within the equine industry (Source: Lantra Estimates, 2005).

Alison Cox from Train to Gain, said: “We are really pleased to hold this event in conjunction with Lantra.  At events such as these we focus on providing information, support and advice that is specific to a sector and we discuss the issues people are facing.

“Somerset and the surrounding areas have a number of businesses in these industries and we know the day will be really beneficial, not only for providing advice and information but also the opportunity to network with others working in similar organisations.”

Lantra’s Regional Partnership Manager for the South West, Lyndsay Bird, added: “This is a great opportunity for businesses from the environmental and land-based sector to engage with the Business Link brokers and Train to Gain.  The event gives employers the chance to access funding for training, business guidance and assistance to help develop and grow their organisation.”

The event is free of charge and places are limited to one per company, in order to allow the maximum number of businesses to take part. They will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. It runs between 9.30am and 2.30pm at Dillington House, Ilminster, Somerset.

To find out more call 08456 047 047 or email traintogain@bldc.co.uk you can also book your place by visiting http://www.bldc.co.uk/dcevents/evnt_ttg_partner.html

Train to Gain is a unique free brokerage service, funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and delivered by the Business Link and the training provider network. Skills Brokers offer businesses impartial advice on their skills requirements; match the training needs of companies with training providers and help to create tailored development packages.

More information on Train to Gain can be found via - www.traintogain.gov.uk


BETA International supports equine welfare

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has been named chosen charity of BETA International 2008.

BETA International, to be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 17-19 February 2008, is the world’s foremost equestrian and country trade exhibition. It sees the launch of many innovative new products and is attended by the industry’s most influential retail buyers.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary, which merged with the Ada Cole Rescue Stables in 2005, provides a safe haven for more than 1,200 equines across its nine sites. The charity also finds healthy rescued equines suitable foster homes.

Much of Redwings’ work revolves around preventing neglect through education, while the charity has a veterinary hospital and rehabilitation centre.

Redwings’ helpline receives more than 3,000 calls and its veterinary-led welfare team investigates over 700 reports of neglect and cruelty each year. BETA International visitors can find out more by calling at Redwings’ stand during the exhibition.

“Redwings is thrilled to be invited to BETA International 2008. We’re particularly looking forward to meeting key players in the equestrian industry and explaining more about our work,” said Nicola Markwell, communications officer for the charity.

“It’s a pleasure for BETA International to have the opportunity to make a contribution to equine welfare,” said Claire Thomas, commercial manager of BETA International organiser Equestrian Management Consultants (EMC).

Admission to BETA International is strictly trade only. Organiser EMC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BETA Group. For more details, contact Lizzy Warrington at BETA International on +44 1937 582111 or visit www.beta-int.com


Timetable of other events




Animals Act 1971 (Amendment) Bill 2007 - 2008

Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill) introduced by Stephen Crabb MP

2nd Reading in the Commons

Related timetable

14 March 2008

A Bill to amend the Animals Act 1971 to limit strict liability for damage done by animals

FEI Eventing Safety Forum

Copenhagen, Denmark.

19 January 2008

To discuss safety across the sport.

National bodies from all eventing nations, including the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), will be invited to attend and make presentations on safety, along with course-designers, trainers, riders, officials, equipment manufacturers and vets.

British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)

Details of continuing professional development (CPD) courses and meetings for 2008

Various during 2008


eemail.gif If you know of any forthcoming equestrian health, safety or welfare related events please contact Riding Safely 
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The current situation

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

Guidance for Horse Owners 

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


Explananation of the Zones

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

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

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


About Foot and Mouth Disease

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Equestrian Federation of Australia website

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

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

Additional information 

$4 million for Equine Influenza fund

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


Breaking the Strangles Hold - campaign update

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

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

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


 Giant leap forward in strangles research

Scientists at the Animal Health Trust are to launch a new blood test for strangles early next year.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (8 December 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=166089&cid=397


Related Information

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

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

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


Related Reports

 Stable reopens after strangles outbreak

A centre for disabled riders is up and running again after an outbreak of strangles forced it to close.

The Conquest Centre for Disabled Riders at Taunton, Somerset, underwent a six-month shutdown because of the highly infections respiratory disease.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Sophie Little – 8 November 2007) at 



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

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



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

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

Strangles survey reveals spread and ignorance of disease

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

Read more about the findings of the survey from Horse & Hound  online (22 August 2007) at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/138579.html

Read more about the newly-launched Strategy to Eradicate and Prevent Strangles at                 http://www.equine-strangles.co.uk/documents/BHSSTEPSStrategytoPreventandEradicateStrangles_001.pdf


ILPH tackles obesity in horses

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


Riding Safely's always pleased to publicise new safety products to the market that appear to be of merit with the potential to improve equestrian safety.

Gee Guards

eemail.gif If you have a new equestrian safety product that you would like featured here for free, then please contact Riding Safely
phone.gif 07505 159979
Need to know if you're doing enough to comply with health, safety and environmental requirements?  Then this section is for you.  The information in this section will be repeated and updated each month.


   What you must do

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training Resources

   Safety with Horses”

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

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

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

Sources of Help

   Workplace Health Connect

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

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


ABRS introduces new "centres of excellence" award for top yards

The Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS) has introduced a new scheme appointing "nominated centres of excellence". This incorporates yards that have exceptional facilities, training and horse management, but are neither a riding school nor livery yard.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (17 November 2007) at 



ILPH considers changing its name

The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) is looking for a new name and logo in a bid to raise its profile.

The charity fears its logo "lacks impact" and looks "passive and rather dated" and that the name does not accurately reflect the breadth of its activities.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (29 October 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=152293&cid=397


Banned farrier fined after he kept on shoeing after being struck off

A former farrier has been fined by Bolton Magistrates Court for shoeing horses despite having been struck off by the Farriers Registration Council (FRC).

Joseph Cannon of Heywood, Lancashire, was removed from the FRC register of farriers in January 2004, having been found guilty by a disciplinary committee of serious professional misconduct.

However, magistrates heard how an investigator employed by the FRC saw Cannon shoeing a horse at a livery yard in Oswaldtwistle on 4 July this year and at a property in Westhoughton, Bolton, the following day.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White - 3 December 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=164972&cid=397


London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games - BEF unveils “Hoof” initiative

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is one of the first sporting bodies to present its plans for a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with the launch of “Hoof” in London on the 17th of December.

“Hoof” is an initiative to encourage many more people to take up riding and get involved with horses in the Capital.

Earlier this year the Federation's Legacy for London Advisory Group, led by Barbara Cassani, former Chair of London's bid to host the 2012 Games, and BEF consultant Tim Hadaway, set out key recommendations for how the 2012 Games might be used to increase facilities and opportunities for equestrian sports across London.

The launch of "Hoof"

“The launch of Hoof at Olympia brings together two important strands of the equestrian legacy: celebrating the best riders of the world in the middle of London and encouraging more Londoners to climb on board and ride,” commented Barbara Cassani, leader of the BEF’s Legacy for London Advisory Group.

Tim Hadaway, who is heading up the initiative added: “Hoof will enable us to create a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games, and is aimed at anyone interested in horses and riding in London. Although many people already ride in London, Hoof will encourage others to try riding, making it more accessible and affordable to a wide range of people and raising awareness of horse sports in general.”

Hoof will support and promote existing and new riding schools, aid the local riding community and disabled riding groups, and establish a schools programme for children in the capital.

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone has offered his full support to the project and said: "Initiatives like Hoof are exactly why we wanted to bring the Olympic Games to London.” He added: "Many Londoners are enthusiastic about riding - but getting in the saddle is a real challenge. Hoof is all about making it easier for Londoners to climb on board."

The BEF plans to create a nationwide legacy by promoting and rolling out the ideas and initiatives set out for London to other parts of the UK.

More details from www.hoof-in-town.com


Riders in row over horse droppings

Eight livery stables and riding schools in Oswestry, Shropshire, have received a letter from the local council requesting they clean up the mess left by their horses.

The letter cites complaints from residents about dung on Primrose Lane and Tregarthen Lane in Pant.

It says: "The council will continue to clean the highway...as part of our continuing working schedule". But adds: "We would like to point out that you have a duty of care to clean up after your horses."

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Trevor Cooper – 15 October 2007) at  http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/article.php?aid=149317&cid=397


Councillors vote to make landau horses wear nappies

Landau horses at Blackpool will be stepping out in newly-designed horse nappies next season, after councillors voted for the move to cut piles of droppings on the Promenade.

Read more from Horse & Hound Online (Charlotte White – 28 November 2007) at 



Sarah hoofs it to hospital after horse play

When Sarah Heney agreed to take part in a photo shoot with a horse, she would have done well to remember the old showbiz saying "never work with animals".

The Playhouse's sales and marketing manager ended up in hospital after her encounter with Louis the Magnificent Black Stallion during a photocall for a forthcoming production of Carmen.

Mrs Heney, 43, duly complied with health and safety rules that said she mustn't sit on the horse. But moments later she was in agony after the massive stallion stepped on her foot.

Read more from news.scotsman.com (Gemma Fraser) 10 September 2007 at:  http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Sarah-hoofs-it-to-hospital.3325630.jp



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