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Equine safety experts put facts on the line

Roadside or lawn - that is the question.A national safety conference run by The British Horse Society at the weekend brought together experts in the fields of 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 motorists 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 speaker for British Cycling was unable to attend but this is still a subject with which the BHS is involved and will continue to pursue discussions.

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

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

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

These statistics are based on Hospital Episode Statistics (for England only) for the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. These figures state that there were 4142 admissions to hospital for “animal-rider or occupant of an animal drawn vehicle injured in a transport accident”.

In the magazine the BHS offers crucial advice to riders for riding safely on the road. It also encouraged readers to join the 3000 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.

www.horseaccidents.org.uk

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