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Riding Safely

"Good Safety is Good Business"

Are you a Riding School or Livery Yard?  Organising an Event?  Involved in a business sense with the equestrian world in any way?  In this section you'll find  an explanation of UK legal requirements and what you have to do to stay safe and comply.

The Industry

·        There are around 6,000 equine businesses employing 54,300 people

·        70% of equine businesses employ 5 or fewer employees

·        63% of the workforce is self-employed

·        The workforce is female dominated - 75% are female

(Source Lantra 2004)


The mention of the words "health and safety" often seem to strike worry into those who work in the horse industry. I've seen that look on employers faces when it's mentioned and heard the accusations of ever increasing health and safety legislation and bureaucracy.

In actual fact the primary legisalation, the Health and Safety at Work Act has been in place, unchanged, for over 30 years. Over the last eight years there has been very little additional health and safety legislation introduced that has impacted on  the horse industry.

What we are seeing are more civil claims and whether they are successful on or not, they are costing the horse industry dearly, not only in monetary terms, but also in terms of time and stress of those involved sometimes having to defend baseless claims.  Please read the whole introduction to this section >>>>>>

Riding Safely would like to comment that within all of the strands of the horse industry there are generic risks and associated generic solutions. Riding Safely would like to see a strategic lead in the horse industry to provide standardised health & safety "tools" supported by assistance where required to enable businesses to manage health & safety more cost effectively and efficiently. The emphasis should be on providing the tools and then measuring how well they are being used.

If there are any particular areas you'd like to see covered or you'd like to comment on then please do contact Riding Safely.

The "Tools" to help you.......

A major tool recommended by Riding Safely is the HSE's Health and Safety in Small Businesses.

Check out the 10 actions small businesses must take to ensure they meet health and safety law.

More equestrian specific is "Health and Safety in Horse Riding Establishments" produced by the Health and Safety Executive after consultation with the British Horse Society and the Association of British Riding Schools. A comprehensive document, it covers everything from horse behaviour to legal duties. First published in 1993 it does now require revising as some of the legislation discussed in the document has been superseded resulting in changed requirements. 

HS(G) 105 - Health and Safety in Horse Riding Establishments - ISBN 0 -7176 - 0632 -5 priced at £8.50 available from HSE Books. (Note:  It is understood that this book may now be out of print and no longer available)

More recently The British Horseracing Board has published the third edition of the manual “Health and Safety in the Racing and Breeding Industry” which can be downloaded and is free.  Whilst focussing on racing and breeding it is sufficiently generic to be adapted to any area of the horse industry. 

(109 pages - published 31 August 2004)

A good place to start is with a free leaflet from the Health and Safety Executive -- An Introduction to Health and Safety - INDG259(rev1). This is one of the new breed of well written leaflets from the HSE that covers most of the subjects from managing health and safety through to a sample policy statement and risk assessments. Have a look and see how well your business shapes up against it. 

Note: If the above documents fail to open when you click on the above link you may need the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®.  Document download time over a 56kps dial-up connection may take about 3 minutes - be patient!

Coming next  - how good is your safety policy?

"Good Safety is Good Business" - The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

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