Tuesday, January 10, 2017

10th January, 2016 Safety Standards

Mary's hat.

"Well with trepidation I've just checked the hat I was wearing when I came off Reno. As you can see there is a long crack (with grass attached) where my head hit the ground.I was told I had been unconscious for 5 mins or more so this confirms I am very fortunate that I didn't sustain more than the mild concussion and hip fracture that I did. New hat to be ordered along with the confidence to get on board again (at sometime) " Mary SC
Mary has good reason to be thankful for her hat which bore the brunt of her fall. It's still a personal choice in the UK whether you wear a riding hat (for over 14s) or a back protector when riding. I always do - even when I'm on a camel - and often choose to on the ground too.

A point well made is that safety equipment can lull you into a false sense of security, invincibility potentially, which can lead to taking extra risks. I know this one because I wasn't kicked by Henrietta, I was kicked by my safety panels which had been kicked by Henrietta! My friend Jenny discovered that the lanyard on her air jacket was too short when she fell off her 13.2hh pony (now rectified!).

We all take risks, horse themselves are predictably unpredictable, however we need to keep a cool and dynamic risk assessment going and be prepared to stop if the risk is too great. As horse owners we are encouraged not to think of the "What ifs" in case we bring them on ourselves but a non-emotional approach to risk identification is fine - there can be no con in 'confidence'. One of the biggest safety precautions is to train your horse well.

I am appalled at some of the suggestions made to people on social media in response to request for help, for example, to stop horses rearing in a horsebox - Hobble it. Sit on the breast bar and smash an egg on it's head. Take all the bars and partitions out. Doesn't anyone stop to think what would happen if this went wrong?