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Updates from the UK’s only dedicated equestrian charity safety team

26 Mar 2014


A national safety conference and a magazine special are two of the latest initiatives from The British Horse Society to increase the safety of horses and riders.

As the UK’s only equine charity with a dedicated safety team, the Society is committed to doing everything possible to protect our horses and the 3.5 million* people who ride and handle them. 

The Conference took place on Saturday 22 March and brought together a number of experts, including transport and tyre safety, dangerous dog legislation, inflatable body protection and equine rescue.

Jim Green, an Animal Rescue Specialist from Hampshire Fire and Rescue and one of the founders of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association, gave presentations on transportation and event management, highlighting in both cases the importance of being prepared.

“People need to really consider the planning and preparation so that they can try and mitigate anything from going wrong,” he advised. “For us as a rescue organisation, we’re very good at going out and rescuing but we want people not to have the incident in the first place.”

Thought provoking facts and figures were raised throughout the day, including the alarming statistic that 78 percent of us are driving with under-inflated tyres. “If something goes wrong, you’re the driver, it’s your responsibility,” warned Stuart Jackson, the Chairman of Tyresafe.

“You have to have the knowledge. It’s up to you, not anyone else, to take action.” 

The one disappointment for the day was that the speaker for British Cycling was unable to attend but this is still a subject with which the BHS is much involved and will continue to pursue discussions.

To complement the Conference, a special issue of the charity’s membership magazine, British Horse, brought a number of key safety issues to the fore.

Riding on the road is a danger that most horse riders will have to contend with at some time or another. Around 11 horse riders or carriage drivers are admitted to hospital each day** having been injured in an accident on the roads.

In the magazine the BHS offers crucial advice to riders for riding safely on the road. It also encourages readers to join the 3,000 plus riders each year that take their BHS Riding and Road Safety Test – the only test that has the ability to save a rider’s life, their horse’s life and that of other road users.

Other subjects covered in the magazine include advice for installing a safe riding surface, guidance on choosing safety equipment, and special contributions from the Household Cavalry on safety around the yard and from top jockeys, trainers and the team at Aintree racecourse on the efforts put into improving safety during the Grand National.

The British Horse Society is dedicated to ensuring that its members are kept abreast of all the latest safety developments. The charity provides a wide range of specialist equestrian safety services, including an accident reporting website,, and puppy socialisation courses to help prevent dog attacks on horses. 

For more information, to donate or join, visit our Membership section.

* According to the most recent British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) National Equestrian Survey (2010-11).
** Based on the most recent Hospital Episode Statistics (for England only) which cover the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. These figures state that there were 4,142 admissions to hospital for “animal-rider or occupant of an animal drawn vehicle injured in a transport accident”.

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