Danger drone: Charity calls for safety caution around horses
The British Horse Society (BHS) is calling on the public to exercise caution when flying drones around horses
The bid comes as the charity has received a rise in calls as more horse owners and riders become concerned about drones.
The BHS is asking the public not to fly drones in areas where they know horses may be – for instance near riding centres or bridleways.
Horse and rider incidents
As flight animals, horses are easily startled by unusual noises and movements. Consequences of a horse reacting can be fatal for both horse and rider. Since the launch of its horse accidents website in November 2010, the Society has received more than 400 reports of horse accidents involving loud or moving objects such as Chinese lanterns and fireworks. Of these, 11 horses died as a result of the scare, and one horse rider was killed in an incident involving a low flying aircraft.
Research before you fly
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS, said: “Drones are an increasing concern for us as they become more popular. While we don’t want to stop people enjoying drones, we are asking that they consider the impact drones can have on horses. Flying drones near horses can potentially have fatal consequences for horses and horse riders.”
The Society is advising drone users to research an area before they fly them in the area.
Alan Hiscox added: “By researching whether any riding centres, bridleways or beaches accessible by horse riders in the area, users can choose to fly their drone in other locations and potentially prevent accidents from occurring.”
Police horse death
In October 2015, police horse Fimber from West Yorkshire Police’s mounted unit was spooked by a drone whilst in his paddock, causing him to vault a fence and collide with a wooden post.
Superintendent Pat Casserly, of West Yorkshire Police's Protective Services Operations said: “There is a possibility that Fimber was reacting to the drone landing nearby or being close to him when he bolted with tragic consequences.
“Technology such as drones offer great opportunities for work and leisure activities. However, with that freedom comes an equal amount of responsibility. It is really important that purchasers and users of drones learn what they can and cannot do with them in order to protect the safety of other people, animals and property."
Horse accidents, including incidents involving drones, can be reported to the BHS horse accidents website: www.horseaccidents.org.uk.