Best Practice saves lives - was the clear message throughout the BHS Scotland 50 Anniversary Safety Conference held on the snowiest day of the year so far, but the deepening snow did not prevent 150 delegates attending.
Run in conjunction with Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and the Scottish Ambulance Service the daylong event also covered road riding and transportation, road safety case law and all the latest information on riding hat technology.
Susan Maxwell from Scottish Fire and Rescue ran through the causes and consequences of fires and examined equine psychology during a blaze, her take home message was that prevention, and having and practising a fire plan are the best protection against an horrific stable fire.
Police Scotland presentations were given by PC Lisa Dunlop from Roads Policing and Sergeant Alan Gilbert from Mounted Branch, Lisa addressed the responsibilities riders have under the Highway Code and safe transportation especially axil weights while Alan stressed the importance of training and preparation for road riding.
Road traffic accident lawyer Brenda Mitchell ran over some equine court cases and showed the audience how, no matter whether you are a vulnerable road user or a car driver, it is imperative to be educated before you take on the responsibility of accessing the pubic highway. Her talk was followed by Lee Hackett from BHS who laid out the tools the BHS, as the only organisation dedicated to improving equine safety, uses to educate and inform; including accident recording, advice and education as well as the world famous riding and road safety test.
Paramedic and Pony Club Mum Catherine Smart, then offered advice on handling an emergency should a rider be unlucky. Her main questions were where are you and who are as she ran through the 999 process and gave lifesaving advice – download here – what we all should do this minute!
The morning session finished with Roy Burek, a great friend of BHS Scotland and Managing Director of Charles Owen Hats discussing everything about the human head and the need for protection. Roy is at the cutting edge of equine industry research into hat technology – as someone dedicated to reducing concussion and involved in setting hat standards across the world it was a privilege to have him at our conference.
During the lunch break with soup and home baking provided by the BHS Scotland tearoom and Blueridge EC, a lucrative raffle was drawn as delegates purchased riding hats and reflective gear while meeting and greeting police horses and Police Scotland’s latest recruit and start turn ‘Rig’ a 13 week old puppy!
The afternoon kicked off with a safer equine rescue session led by Susan Maxwell, who involved the audience in a mock equine rescue using the real life mannequin horse. Susan trains fire fighters all over Scotland to safely rescue large animals from road incidents, falling into rivers or bogs or getting stuck in any situation. Scottish Fire and Rescue are currently rolling out these high welfare and safer for human rescuer techniques.
Alan Gilbert’s team then presented a splendid drill ride to show case the discipline behind police horse training. The Scottish Police horses that attended were; Kilmarnock, Lanark, Brora and Stewarton ridden by PC Hannah Chalmers, PC Kirsteen Watson, PC Claire Knowles and PC Fiona Campbell assisted by PC Gillian Sleight. They also demonstrated hazard training and the gains to be made from all of us familiarising our own horses with commonly encountered obstacles.
The horses were followed by Sergeant Richard Moffat and Constable Alex Bell from West Command Dog Unit who assisted by Constable Peter Brown from Larbert Police Office demonstrated the importance of dog training and familiarisation with horses in preventing dog attacks.
BHS Scotland Chairman Dr Derek Knottenbelt also chaired the conference and he said;
“We are grateful to all the presenters and everyone who attended in spite of the blizzards and of course Linda and Kirsty at Blueridge EC who pulled out all the stops to make us welcome.
“All horse owners should be responsible and educated and it was a privilege for BHS Scotland to work with our emergency services in delivering a day that delivered such important safety messages.”
TWO things we all should do straight away that could save our lives in an emergency
• For areas of low signal consider TEXT 999 You must register first by texting ‘register’ to 999 and following the instructions.
Texts take less signal than a call www.emergencysms.org.uk
• Store your medical details under the emergency button on your phone