New health and safety guidance

for horse riding schools and livery yards

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has published a new guidance document for people working in horse riding schools and livery yards in order to help them improve and implement safe working practices.

The guidance document, ‘Health and safety in horse riding establishments and livery yards - What you should know’, was co-authored by Dr. Michael Sinclair-Williams and Karen Sinclair-Williams and builds upon previous guidance published by the CIEH.

The publication is designed to share best practice and improve health and safety knowledge to aid horse riding businesses and those who regulate the industry so that they can protect and enable a safe environment for the wider horse riding public.

In 2015, 2.7 million people rode horses and the equestrian sector contributed $4.3 billion to the economy, incorporating consumer spending across a wide range of goods and services each year.

Safety rules and regulations

Why are they important?

All riders entering the arena acknowledge and accept that they are riding at their own risk.

All riders are required to wear ASTM/SEI safety helmets at club sanctioned events while they are mounted or when working with the horses. Riders are to use the main entrance of the building. Respect the arena property and the property of others. Any breakages must be paid for. Please Leave arena as you find it. Conduct and practice good horsemanship. Ensure that your horse is properly secured in the appropriate areas.

  • Keep at least one horse length between riders.
  • Rider must close doors behind them when entering or leaving the arena.
  • Be aware of other riders and do not cut off anyone please.
  • Horses working at a faster gait are given priority to use the outside track of the arena.
  • When riding in the arena horses should pass left shoulder to left shoulder.
  • If you must stop to adjust equipment move to the center of the ring.
  • If there is a “runaway horse” all riders must move to the center of the ring and stop.
  • Enter and leave the arena in a single file.

Important rules

please read these rules carefully

By its nature, the horse is a fearful animal. At the same time, it possesses immense power that is incommensurate with the capabilities of a human, and can injure a man unknowingly if it suddenly bolts, startles, stands on hind legs or moves back.

For safety, please follow the rules below during the training sessions and grooming procedures:

  • Stay calm and gentle with the horse. Be sure to hail it when approaching and entering the stall. Open the door wide when putting the horse in or taking it out of the stall. Coming out of the stall, never turn your back on the horse.
  • mount without checking if the saddle girth is tightened enough. If necessary, tighten it before mounting and re-check after 2 or 3 minutes of riding;
  • If you lose control of the horse (that is, if the horse bolts), make it run in circles, reducing their radius until a complete stop. If the horse gets on its hind legs, you should grab its mane or throw your arms around its neck, leaning your body to it, slackening the reins (but not dropping them completely).
  • If you are falling from the horse, drop the reins and try to tuck as fast as possible. After the fall, first check yourself for injuries, and only get up if you find none. If another rider falls, you should stop and turn you horse towards the horse that lost its rider. You may also need to dismount if necessary.
  • When working with stallions, you should avoid approaching mares. When riding in a group, stallions should be put at the head of the group or next to geldings.
  • Once the horse is completely unsaddled and put into the stall, turn the horse face to the door and remove the halter.
  • Before leaving the stall, pat the horse and treat it to carrots, apples, sugar. Offer the food from an outstretched palm.