Taken from an article recently printed in the Scottish Mail Education Section 2009 You may have missed it?
Scotland is mad about horse riding
Some 200,000 people participate in horse related activity in Scotland every week and there are over 500 Scottish riding clubs and schools
The standards vary to such a degree that The Scottish Equestrian Association (S.E.A.) - the governing body representing the equine industry in Scotland called for the local authority licensing system to be linked to an Equestrian body approval scheme for all Scotland's riding schools to improve standards within the Industry.
As with all changes in legislation this will take time to be put into place.
So here are a few tips to keep you and your children safe
Riding schools currently require to be licensed under the Riding Establishments Act 1964. Licenses are issued by Local Authority Environmental Health Officers and are renewed on an annual basis. Inspections are focused on ensuring that equine welfare standards are being met and are carried out in conjunction with a veterinarian.inspection. If you have any concerns about a riding school, please contact your local Environmental Health Office or Trading Standards Office.
So make sure the establishment you have chosen to use is approved by one of the following
ABRS Association of British Riding Schools.
Tel +44 (0)1736 369440 Fax: +44 (0) 1736 351390
TRSS Trekking & Riding Society of Scotland.
Tel & Fax (00 44) (0)1567 820909
BHS British Horse Society.
Tel 0844 848 1666 BHS Fax Number: 01926 707800
This will indicate they are inspected annually by an approving body & if for any reason you feel concern you can contact the approving body to investigate.
Before you book a lesson you may wish to ask questions & you may like to check
If they are licensed? Is the license displayed?
If they have Public Liability Insurance? And the level of cover they have?
If they have a Health & Safety policy? Do the have a risk assessments in place?
Are the coaches and instructors qualified and able to show proof of qualification or training?
Have all instructors gone through a disclosure check?
Does the Riding School have a child protection Policy?
Is there a nominated first aider present at all times on the yard?
Care of Horse & Ponies
Do they have constant access to water? Do they look healthy & well cared for?
Are the rules of the your displayed
Is the yard tidy & free from potential dangers?
Are their restrictions for public access to horse areas to keep you & children safe?
A well run yard will appear organized with good signage & information. Cars will be parked away from the activities.
The yard & public arrears will be free of hazards for both the public & horses i.e. hay nets, hose pipes & yard tools. Gates will be kept closed, fences will be in good repair & no barbed wire or sharp fixings will be in sight.
Safety hats should always be worn when riding, check they are up to date British Standard Hats
Instructor’s helpers who lead & assist in a class should also wear protective hats, if you are asked to lead a horse or pony in a class & have no experience you will be putting yourself & the rider at risk
Appropriate boots & clothing should be required to be worn by students (No Trainers)
Horses Tack should be in good repair
Classes should not be of mixed ability
Classes should not have more than 4-8 students depending on the size of the arena
Do they offer private assessment lesson prior to joining a group
It is the intention of the industries governing body & the approving organizations to make you experience with horses & ponies safe & enjoyable, if you have questions of concerns about any horse related service provider please contact one of them for advice.
Scottish Equestrian Association S.E.A. Tel 01563 549802 or 07815962964 Email Fiona@s-e-a.org.uk