University of Vermont AAHS

February, 1997, Vol. VII, Number 1

Table of Contents

Biomechanical Mechanism of Head Injury
AMEA Looks to Future Needs
Recall of Troxel Grand Prix Equestrian Helmet
Safety and the Bottom Line
Saddle Type May Influence Lower Back Pain
Riding Instructor Goals Develop Safe Environment Program
Goals Recommended for Instructors

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Biomechanical Mechanism of Head Injury

Many factors are involved in determining how and what particular cerebral injury may result from a specific blow to the head. In addition to the characteristics of the mechanical force (load), the complex interaction of this input with unique features of cerebral tissues are pivotal in determining whether the resultant injury will be associated with loss of consciousness and/or neurological dysfunction. Thus, the nature, direction and severity of the mechanical force as well as the site of impact and subsequent movement of the head and neck all interact to produce a particular type of cerebral injury which may or may not be temporary.

Dynamic Loading

The most common mechanical forces associated with brain injury in horseback riding are those which arise very rapidly (<200 msec.). A fall from a horse is a dynamic event which may be characterized as including contact phenomena (striking the head) and impulsive loading of the head and its contents. Thus, dynamic loading consists of both impact to the head and movement (impulse) of the unrestrained head and/or brain within the skull. Although contact phenomena only occurs following impact, impulsive loading can arise by indirect blows in which the head is set into motion without being struck. This may occur if an athlete is struck in the thorax or lumbar area when the head is freely movable or during sudden deceleration while restrained thus resulting in severe flexion- extension movement of the head. Although impulsive loading infrequently occurs in the absence of impact in athletics, the effects of inertial forces on the generation of brain injury is well documented.

Direct impact to the head is associated with two phenomena either of which alone or in combination can produce cerebral injury. The type of brain injury varies according to the contribution that is evoked from each of these phenomena. The first contact loading produces a complex of mechanical phenomena which may be observed both at and remote to the site of injury. The pathological consequences of these specific phenomena, e.g. skull fracture, cavitation, generation of shock waves, are dependent on the size of the impacting object and magnitude of the force. Alterations of consciousness or neurological deficits are observed uncommonly, The location, extent and severity of skull fracture is dependent on the unique features of the contact load as well as characteristics of the impacted skull, a significant impact to an area of thin bone will produce local bending of the skull, failure of the tensile strength of the bone and subsequent linear fracture. Areas of thin bone adjacent to thicker portions of the skull receiving a direct impact also may break: hence a fracture may not always be found directly beneath the site of impact. Propagation of a skull fracture from its origin tends to follow the line of less resistance toward the vertex or along the skull base.

In addition to contact loading. direct impact to the head also results in inertial loading. Inertial loading involves two types of acute acceleration of deceleration or deceleration motions of the head. The pathophysiological consequences of acceleration differ in their ability to impart injury to brain tissue. Acceleration of the head in a strict horizontal plane (translational acceleration or loading) differs markedly in injury producing potential when compared to rotation of the head and neck (angular acceleration). Experimental and clinical evidence has demonstrated that translational acceleration frequently is associated with the occurrence of focal structural damage e.g. cerebral contusions, yet rarely results in loss of consciousness. Rotation or angular acceleration forces are much more likely to result in cerebral concussion, unconsciousness, petechiae, subarachnoid hemorrhage, bilateral subdural hematoma, and diffuse cellular injury. Moreover, the kinematics of rotation effects indicate that cerebral injury and subsequent alteration in neurological function is related to the direction of angular motion. As the direction of angular force approaches the coronal plane the degree of injury increases when compared to those injuries resulting from rotational forces applied in a saggital plane. Thus. brain injury tends to be worse with lateral rotational forces (to the side) than these incurred from angular forces delivered in an anterior-posterior direction (forward).

Protective headgear is effective in reducing the occurrence of brain injuries to the degree by which they are capable of energy absorption and load distribution through thickness of the helmet structure and its component materials. These features of all helmets lessen the risk of skull fracture by absorption and dispersion of contact loading phenomena yet offer little significant protection against angular acceleration forces. Presently, the ASTM/SEI equestrian helmet provides the best protection against contact loading yet may not prevent the effects of falls from a horse during which inertial forces are generated prior to when the head strikes the ground. Injuries occurring as the brain strikes the skull with sudden deceleration also may only be marginally prevented by protective headgear.

At the present the methodologies for testing the ability of protective helmets to prevent the harmful effects of rotational forces associated with equestrian accidents are lacking. Nevertheless. research and design continues in efforts to provide riders with the best protection against head injury available. To date the ASTM/SEI standard remains the "gold - standard". No one should ride without wearing one.

William H. Brooks, MD
Lexington Neuroscienre Center
152 West Zandale Drive
Lexington, KY 40603

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AMEA Looks to Future Needs at Planning Meeting

Members of the board of directors of the American Medical Equestrian Association (AMEA) met in Cincinnati, November 10, 1996. Guided by facilitator, Debra Spotts Merchant, participants William Brooks, MD, J. W. Thomas Byrd, MD, Doris Bixby Hammett, MD, Carl Hudson, MD, and William Lee, MD, discussed past accomplishments, evaluated the AMEA's role in the equestrian and medical fields and defined future issues and goals of the organizations.

From the Inside Looking In

Through its dedication to the philosophy, principles and application of safety for people in equestrian activities, the AMEA has accomplished many things. The quarterly AMEA NEWS and annual meetings have successfully disseminated research results and educational information thus raising safety awareness in the horse and medical community. Individuals contacting the AMEA have uniformly been provided advice and support for pro-safety issues. The use of ASTM/SEI protective helmets has been stressed and a video on safety education is near completion. AMEA members have made presentations within the medical and equestrian communities.

Other goals included developing protocols for human safety and networking. The protocol, Planning Event Coverage, and the brochure "When Can My Child Ride a Horse!" have been published and distributed. While objective measurement of these accomplishments is difficult, the impact of the AMEA in raising the awareness of and promoting safety is indisputable.

The AMEA has successfully worked with other organizations. Examples of this cooperation include the former equestrian education program of Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and with Washington State 4-H through pre-production input and promotion of two safety videos, "Every Time... Every Ride..." and "Ground Handling Horses Safely." The AMEA NEWS has published research information from states as well as Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand, horse activities and organizations, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, racing, medical reports of injuries, and medical examiner reports.

The members present stressed that the AMEA must maintain the organization's integrity, medical orientation and research methods, independence, and low key atmosphere.

Framing the Future

I. Resource

The AMEA mission statement defines a two part role: the AMEA will provide a clearing house function for studies of the equestrian activities, and the AMEA will be engaged in a "two way" exchange and use of this information. To do this. the resource functions and capabilities need to be expanded and shared. Strategies for gathering resources need to be developed. While an increase in the AMEA's membership will have a positive impact on the effectiveness of emerging strategies, new leaders within the organization will be encouraged to focus on the development and maintenance of avenues for consistent information exchange.

II. Leadership

To develop and support new leaders within the organization the AMEA will create and provide an evolving framework for leadership that will include:

an increase in the involvement of membership in the structure and activities of AMEA

the assigning of specific tasks to new people

more personal engagement of current members

a commitment by more experienced AMEA executive officers to "never abandon a person that needs assistance in leadership"

III. Research

The AMEA needs to develop reporting procedures for research activities and strategies by which the AMEA can contribute to success in the research activities. The AMEA needs to identify areas of needed study and research. The AMEA needs to identify university, manufacturers. organizations and people who can undertake these projects and begin communication between and among them.

IV. Networking

Networking will be enhanced by identifying meeting activities and topics that "strike people's passions". Two program slots at the annual meeting will be reserved to present different, non-medical related presentations. With the goal of attracting new horse oriented constituents, benefits for joining the AMEA will be outlined in a letter to be sent to selected organizations listed in the American Horse Council Directory. A new "organization membership" will be made available. Getting different equestrian groups to develop safety committees. which will look at the organization's activities and identify its safety concerns, will give safety matters a higher profile.

V. Education

Information for the annual meeting will be disseminated more widely. The AMEA NEWS will be sent to members only with the exception of persons active in equestrian safety activities and who request to remain on the mailing list. Articles in the AMEA NEWS will continue to be shared with other organizations and publications. With consultation, an AMEA web site will be developed and maintained. The AMEA safety video editing will be completed and the video marketed to the horse community.

The American Medical Equestrian Association stands alone in its contribution for information exchange for human safety in the horse community.

Summary prepared by Doris Bixby Hammett, MD

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Recall of Troxel Grand Prix Equestrian Helmet

The Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) as the third party-certified for Troxel's Grand Prix equestrian helmet is issuing this information in response to the inquiries received from the public:

SEI received a public complaint regarding independent testing conducted on the Troxel Grand Prix equestrian Helmet indicating noncompliance with the ASTM F-1163-95 Equestrian Helmet Standard.

SEI confirmed this non-compliance after additional product testing.

SEI immediately notified Troxel Cycling & Fitness of the non-compliance in accordance with SEI's Non-Conformance/Departure Procedures of their products' non-compliance.

Following an internal review by Troxel's technical and management personnel, SEI was advised that Troxel would conduct an immediate voluntary recall.

Additionally, when a non- compliance occurs, SEI's procedures require that the participant immediately cease all use of the SEI mark on the affected product.

The manufacturer must return production to the approved design production and quality assurance methods before resumption of the use of the SEI certification mark. This must be confirmed by SEI.

During a recall, SEI requires the manufacturer to periodically submit reports on the status of the recall. SEI closely monitors this activity.

Only upon completion of satisfactory new product testing by SEI can the product be certified and granted the right to bear the institute's certification mark.

To obtain information relative to the replacement of the Troxel Grand Prix helmets produced between April and October 1996, contact:

Troxel Grand Prix Program
1333 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92154

Safety Equipment Institute
1901 North Moore Street
Arlington, VA 22209

Troxel Will Rework or Replace Grand Prix Helmets

Troxel, working closely with SEI, has identified a percentage of Grand Prix helmets which, due to a manufacturing error, have been produced outside of product specifications. As a result, a percentage of these helmets produced between April and October 1996 fall outside guidelines established in the ASTM/SEI standards.

In an effort to address this situation, and to ensure the utmost confidence in Troxel's products, Troxel requests that all consumers owning a Grand Prix helmet call Troxel's customer service department at 1-800-228-4280 to receive return instructions so their helmets can be evaluated. Upon evaluation, Troxel will rework, or replace each helmet to ensure compliance with the SEI/ASTM standard. Reworked or replacement helmets will be shipped between January 15 and February 1, 1997.

Jeff Coppens, Equestrian Business Manager
Troxel, 1333 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92154

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Safety and the Bottom Line

The horse industry in America is big business because horses mean many things to a wide variety of people. They offer opportunity for competition, recreation, education, therapy, farming and business. This article is written looking at horses through the business lens.

In the last ten years the horse industry has grown considerably. In 1987 the American Horse Council's Economic Impact study showed the industry to be a $15.2 million dollar industry. In 1997 they report it at $25.3 billion. The horse industry has responded well to this growth with an increased rider safety consciousness. Many new instructor certification programs have emerged. such as the American Riding Instructors Certification Program, United States Dressage Federation. the Horsemanship Safety association, Association for Horsemanship Safety and Education, and the American Association for Horsemanship Safety. The American Medical Equestrian Association was organized. The North American Horseman's Association came into creation. All are solid efforts toward the horse industry becoming self-policing and responsible.

Businesses operate in a jungle where survival depends on the ability to keep as well as increase market share. Cash flow is the life blood of any organization. Since horses are a very high overhead business, margins are small if they exist at all. To stay competitive and maintain market share, the prudent manager seeks ways to keep costs down and run as efficiently as possible. There are times when safety is the sacrifice that is made to feed the bottom line and keep the organization alive. This problem exists in all sectors, from high end private stables to public non-profits. Examples follow. All the decision makers in the following scenarios are trained horse people who have many years in the horse industry.

Time is tight, workers are few, and so it is customary to lead two horses at a time to turn out and bring in. It is winter in New England, the horses are fit thoroughbreds. and the path is covered with ice for 10 feet. The worker is dumbfounded when admonished and later let go for taking the horse off the ice path onto the edge of the snowy lawn for better footing. The worker is told that the horses have barium on, they are trying to run the estate an a budget. and there is no need for sand on the ice.

A camper's horse is off behind halfway through the one week session. Although a veterinarian is called and efforts are made to determine the problem, no solid diagnosis is made. The camp management wants all the campers to have a chance to participate so they will have a good time and return the following year. The camper is still allowed to show her horse in the show at the end of the session, but in a division lower than her ability because of the horse's lameness. She wins high points for that division.

A stable offers autumn scenic trail rides and is looking to hire trail guides to lead the riders. Part of the "interview process includes a two and one half hour group trail ride to determine the potential rider's ability. One of the horses assigned bucks and tail swishes for the entire ride. The group leader tells the manager that this horse can't be used this season; the horse is "not right." You can't put a guest on it because of the bucking. If you use the horse for a trail guide, and the guide manages to stay on, he wouldn't be able to concentrate on the guests. The manager responds that the horse is for sale and just needs to be worked for several hours. Going on the trails is the only way that will happen, and the horse is just trying to do flying changes.

A volunteer at a therapeutic riding program is asked to lead and side walk at the same time because it is the first session and not enough volunteers have shown up. The volunteer tells the instructor that doing both makes her nervous. The instructor responds that the clients are aware that riding can involve falling off and that they have all signed releases. The volunteer leads and side walks as requested.

No injuries occurred in these instances. Everyone involved was lucky. Some of these examples show riders at risk. They all involve constrained resources. The decisions that were made revolve more around the survival of the business entity than the welfare of those involved. We have great information available on horse care. Rider training materials are also widely available. But there is little information on safety for workers and employees. Concerns here go beyond working with the horse. They include repetitive motion problems, proper ways to lift and carry heavy objects and effective means of handling weather-related situation (usually the extremes - very hot or very cold, flood, sudden storms). This is one gap the AMEA can help fill.

Just as we must always look for areas for improvement, we should also be proud of what we do well and the benefits that working with horses provide. Yet it is frequently difficult to find information regarding the positive aspects of involvement with horses. Here is another area the AMEA can help. Certainly horses help us to maintain muscle tone and aerobic conditioning that other people find at the gym, if they get any at all. For many there are also psychological benefits.

As I have demonstrated, there are always examples of riders/workers at risk. There is inherent risk involved with horses as we all knew. Many other industries share these similar problems. But if the horse community strives for "total quality," we can do better at improving safety and the bottom line. As long as we always look our problems in the eye, improve our standards, and celebrate our positives. we will continue to be an industry that shows strong growth.

Lisa Derby Oden
Blue Ribbon Consulting
273 Poor Farm Road
New Ipswick, NH 03071

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Saddle Type May Influence Lower Back Pain

Although equestrian sports have one of the highest rates of injury (approximately 18 injuries per 1000 riding occasions) these traumatic injuries are relatively rare compared with the incidence of certain overuse injuries. A common complaint among horse riders is lower back pain. The possible causes of the pain are damage to muscles, ligaments, disk or vertebrae in the lower lumbar and sacroiliac regions, caused by the riding position and the movements of riding. The object of this investigation was to assess the influence of saddle type on the incidence of lower back pain in a cross-section of horse riders.

The Riding Position

With a general purpose saddle the thigh is usually at 30-40 degrees from the horizontal, causing flattening of the lumbar lordosis. This leads to increased lower vertebral and disk loading with the risk of subsequent damage. A longer stirrup length with the thigh at 45 degrees from the horizontal maintains the natural lumbar lordosis (with consequent reduction of lumbar strain) and also reduces backward rotation of the pelvis.

Saddle Types

The saddle types studied were:

English (GP) (dressage, G.P., jumping and hunting)
Western (W) (western and long distance riding) with the stirrup bar positioned further back, allowing a longer stirrup length. The saddles are also larger in size and have a greater area of contact with the rider.

The investigation involved questionnaires to riders inquiring whether they had back pain, and its onset during a ride, the type of saddle used. stirrup length and the number of years that they had ridden. One hundred and eight questionnaires were suitable for analysis, 65 used GP saddles and 43 W saddles. Results are shown in the table.

The highest incidence of lower back pain occurred in the users of GP saddles who had been riding for mere than 15 years. This age relationship was not found among users of Western saddles. The evidence relating stirrup length to back pain was not conclusive.

The authors question whether changing from a GB to a W saddle would alleviate lower back pain in these who already have it.

          Incidence of lower back pain (LBP)

            in the two groups of riders.

ENGLISH WESTERN< Males Females Total % Males Females Total %

LBP 8 34 42 66% 1 9 10 23% No LBP 9 13 22 34% 15 18 33 77% TOTAL 17 47 64 16 27 43

S. Quinn and S. Bird
Brit. J. Sports Medicine
1996,30, 140-144. Report in the M.E.A. Newsletter Winter 1996.

Back Pain v. Saddles: Editorial comment

Because of the small sample represented in Quinn and Bird's article. and the variables which are not addressed or mentioned. I have reservations concerning this article.

The article mentions English General Purpose. Dressage, Jumping, and Hunting saddles, but the results were lumped together. The difference is huge between a perfectly fitted dressage saddle. used by a fit, skilled female rider with a classic long wrapped leg position, and the usual British hunting saddle, which may well be on its fourth decade of use without restuffing, and ridden in by an overweight man who rides in "chair seat" or the classic "feet on the dashboard" style. Jumping saddles are made with an extremely forward flap. and general purpose saddles for cross country generally have knee tolls and allow for the necessary shortened stirrups. To combine 64 riders together despite these variations, and without reporting the percentage of each style, is likely to be inconclusive in the extreme.

No comment is made about the position of the Western riders, which can also be influenced by correct or incorrect fit of the saddle and correctness of the rider's position. The stirrups are no longer than those used on a dressage saddle. and Western riders also may assume the incorrect "chair seat" position, which would change the natural lumbar lordosis and rotation of the pelvis. To assume that all Western saddles fit both horse and rider and automatically place the pelvis in a better position of function is a great reach of faith.

Although the study differentiates by sex, I wonder if any allowances were made for the natural pelvic differences in the riding positions of male and female riders? This has been beautifully documented at length by Dr. Deb Bennett in two articles in EQUUS, about which sex is "better" built to ride.

Classical equitation was designed for the male pelvis, and one of the major reasons for female English rider lower back pain is the result of the rider attempting to follow the instructions of an instructor who does not understand that "one size fits all" lessons may not work on even a superb female athlete, much less one who is unfit and overweight as so many of us are.

The questionnaires used in the study mention stirrup length. but this is a meaningless question without some quantification. My "long" stirrup is a subjective assessment. Giving actual length of stirrup leathers without knowing my inseam length. the ratio of the femur to the lower leg. the angle of my knee with that length. and how all of these actually change the rotation of my pelvis accomplishes nothing useful.

I'm not surprised that the highest incidence of lower back pain was in people who have ridden for more than 15 years. Not only are they older by definition, they also may have received no instruction on position or have set bad posture habits which have net been corrected for years! Elder riders have less flexibility, arthritic changes. and are more likely to be riding in artifact saddles than younger ones.

I agree with the authors that it is unlikely that changing from one type of saddle to the other would help someone with lumbar pain. What MIGHT help is analysis of the saddle fit (to both horse and rider), riding position, rider fitness and flexibility, corrective exercises and instruction, as well as changing to a horse with smoother gaits.

Drusilla E. Malavase
Chairman, ASTM subcommittee
Equestrian Equipment
2270 County Road 39 RD2
Bloomfield, NY 14469

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Riding Instructor Goals Develop Safe Environment Program

The ARICP Safety Committee believes that riding instructors who strive to follow these recommendations will promote a safer environment for equine activities. By establishing these goals and recommendations, the Safety Committee does not mean to suggest that these are the only ways in which to promote safety. Nor does the Committee suggest or infer that those who do not follow these recommendations engage in unsafe practices. Rather, the recommendations are intended to serve as goals so that the riding instructor can develop his/her own individualized program designed to promote safety.

The recommendations of the Safety Committee do not necessarily represent the views of the American Riding Instructor Certification Program. the American Riding Instructor Association, or their respective officers, directors, or members.


To participate in riding, prospective riders should possess physical coordination and balance. They should be old enough to understand and practice safety procedures and to use good judgment in reacting to situations. They should be mature enough to take responsibility for themselves and their horses. In situations where challenged equestrians are clients, the instructor is expected to adapt the situation, personnel, and facility in a responsible manner.

Planning and Supervision

All riding instructors should be ARICP certified or meet ARICP requirements.

All instructors in training should meet ARICP requirements for IT's, and should be under the supervision and direction of an accredited instructor.

Aides who are under the age of 18 should remain under the supervision of a certified instructor.

Students should be supervised by instructors or assistant instructors at all times when in the proximity of horses, whether mounted or not.

Each student should be tested and classified according to riding ability.

'The horse should be assigned according to the student's ability.

The instructor should provide a safe riding environment.

All students should attend an introductory safety lesson, including information on horse psychology and behavior. and approaching, handling, and leading a horse.

Inexperienced students should ride only in a ring or corral, or be led by a competent person.

The students should fees confident and demonstrate basic skills in controlling the horse and maintaining proper distance before trail riding,

A safety check by an instructor of each student's clothing, the horse's tack and the riding area should be made before each riding session.

Only one student should be allowed on a horse at any time. Exception might be equestrian vaulting.

Eating, chewing gum or drinking should not be permitted while riding.

Additional Checkpoints for Ring or Corral Riding

A pre-ride demonstration should be given to all first-time students, including mounting, dismounting, starting, stopping, steering, and balanced body position.

Each horse and student should be under the observation of one of the instructors at all times.

Additional Checkpoints for Trail Riding

Prior to the trail ride, a brief warm-up should take place to ensure that students are well suited to their horses and can control all of the gaits required during the trail ride.

Equipment for an extended trail ride should include: SEI helmets Halters Lead ropes Hoof pick and string Gear should be tied to the saddle or packed in saddlebags.

The person in charge should use discretion considering the riders' abilities and the degree of difficulty of the trail.

Other Situations

Some programs, such as riding for persons with disabilities, vaulting, pack trips. driving and games, may require special equipment, as well as horses and instructors with specialized training.


Long pants and appropriate protective clothing should be worn.

Clothing should be snug to prevent becoming entangled.

Dangling jewelry should not be worn.

Boots or shoes with a least a half-inch heel should be worn to prevent feet from sliding through the stirrups.

Riders should not ride in hiking boots with lug soles, tennis shoes, sandals, or barefoot.

Students may wear well-fitting gloves to protect hands from blisters, rope burns and cuts.


Properly fitting protective headgear, with a correctly adjusted safety harness, that meets the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-1163-95 requirements, displaying the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) seal, should be worn when mounted.

All equipment should be in good condition, checked regularly for wear, and repaired as necessary.

All equipment, including the saddle size, girth straps, and stirrup length should be properly adjusted for each student and horse.


The stable area should be inspected by staff for safety prior to use by students.

The riding area should be away from outside distractions as much as possible and free of debris.

The barn and riding areas should not have exposed barbed wire fencing.

The instructional arenas, corrals, paddocks and stables should have clearly posted rules and regulations.

The rules and regulations for the instructional locations should be made clear to the students.

The horses should be properly cared for and the stables, corrals, barns, etc., should be kept clean and uncluttered.

Tack(saddles, bridles. etc.) should be clean and in good condition.

Weather conditions should be suitable for riding. The ground should be compact and free of ice.

Teaching should be done in a well-lighted area.

Permission and any necessary permits should be obtained before riding on public or private lands.

Post warning signs, if required by the state equine activity liability law in the location(s) required by the state law.

Emergency Procedures and First Aid

The ARICP Safety Committee recommends that a person with current Red Cross first-aid training should be present in the ring or on the trail.

A first-aid kit should be available in the ring or an the trail.

Plans for emergency communication with the police, hospitals, and park or fire officials should be arranged in advance and known by each instructor.

Plans for response in case of an emergency, such as a fire, severe weather, injured rider, injured or loose horse, etc., should be known by instructors.

For extended trips, the itinerary should be left with a contact person. The person should be called upon departure and return.

A method of communications between the riding area and the site director or health-care personnel should be available.

ARIA Safety Committee November 1996

ARICP safety committee recommends that each instructor should use a properly-worded release form that meets the legal requirements of his/her own state. In preparing such a release form, he/she should review pages 77-82 in Julie Fertschman's book Equine Law and Horse Sense. Once a form is prepared, the instructor should have the release reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney.

Safety Committee members served during the two years of the study. The members were: Robin Brueckmann, James Coley, Nicola East, Dick Elder, Julie Fershtman, Claudia Garner, Pattie Kent, Kelly M. Mahlock, Isbella Boo McDaniel, Richard Niellands, Margaret E, Spence, Ellad Tadmor, Marytherese Wetzel, chairman Doris Bixby Hammett, MD.

Additional information and copies of the Report Form can be obtained from Charlotte Kneeland, American Riding Instructor Association, PO Box 282, Alton Bay, NH 03810

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Goals Recommended for Instructors
Markel Equestrian Safety Board

The Markel Equestrian Safety Board recommends all instructors use these goals to maintain a high standard of safety and interaction with the public. This document will serve as an accompaniment to the Minimum Standards Checklist (Available from Markel at address below).

A) An ability to recognize a potential problem or dangerous situation.

Several examples are listed for each of the following situations.

1) Known horse behavior and early danger signals

Horse body language Swishing or ringing tail Ears pinned back Rapid breathing or snorting Herd or barn bound Flight or fright Falls or stumbles often Kicks or bites Rears or bucks Spooks easily or wheels unexpectedly

2) Familiarize yourself with signs of horses in distress

Reactions to vaccinations, worming. trimming or shoeing, drugs. extreme weather conditions

Allergies (systemic, respiratory, skin)

Common ailments: colic. azoturial lameness

Change in pulse, respiration and temperature

Know basic first aid and when to call the Vet

3) Evaluate student

Student's size should match the horse's size

Consider rider temperament, personality and physical coordination

Identify ability level and skills

Recognize changes in rider's temperament. personality and physical condition while mounted

4) Know Emergency Procedures

All students should learn basic riding, horsemanship and safety skills

Group control: inform students of group emergency procedures

Students should stop and/or dismount when instructor indicated apparent danger

Indoor procedures versus trail

5) Maintain and frequently check condition of equipment

Maintain and clean leather, nylon, elastic, string. wool or other materials used in tack

Check for cracks. fraying. sharp edges or other equipment wear.

Monitor the horse to protect against rubbing infections, fistulas, etc.

B) Awareness of safety issues and liability laws in home state or wherever you instruct.

1) Your protection

Waivers Signage Insurance coverage Attorney familiar with horse-related safety Posted rules in barn Marked and groomed trails Be aware of rider's health and any medical conditions or medications (Keep a rider profile with contacts in case of an emergency) Current CPR and first aid certification.

2) Student protection

Waivers Signage Know the rules Wear proper safety equipment and clothing

3) Staff

Determine how to handle staff or visitor not following safety procedures Practice drills, discuss safety plans and procedures. familiarize yourself with liability issues, waivers, insurance coverage Know emergency procedures for humans and horses

C) Be prepared with complete medical emergency and fire coverage

1) Develop and be prepared with an emergency medical, natural disaster and fire plan for humans and horses including:

Accessible telephone with emergency. farm managers and owners and boarder numbers. Use a moisture and heat-resistant permanent signage material to post emergency numbers. Directions to the farm from a central location or major roadway should be posted by the phone at all times. Use a permanent moisture and heat-resistant signage material to post directions. First aid equipment frequently checked and updated, properly stored and available for humans and horses. Toxic and hazardous materials stored in secured area with poison control phone number and directions for emergencies. Have a disaster plan for human and horse including an evacuation plan and regularly scheduled drills. (Earthquake, hurricane, fire. flood, etc.)

2) No smoking, no open flames (grills, stoves. etc.) in or around stables and arenas.

D) Properly Prepared and Managed Work Environment

1) Lesson ring or arena

Safe footing clear of debris, rocks and ruts Level and secured area Closed gates Well lilt and ventilated indoor arena Secured mounting area with mounting blocks Easy and safe access to and from the arena or ring

2) Trails, fields, gallops

Well groomed and maintained Signage for directions, known hazards and warnings Easy and safe access to and from riding areas Mark areas for ability levels Instructor should carry a cellular phone and first aid kit

E) Create a written policy for unsupervised riding

1) Determine the following policies for unsupervised riding

Who can ride? When can they ride? Where can they ride? What type of riding will they be doing?

2) Develop a plan and discuss with staff

Know the liability insurance policy for your facility Liability waivers must be signed before riding Have all riders sign in. indicating the time, what horse they are on and where they are going to ride, and sign out when they come back. All riders must meet safety equipment and clothing requirements Evaluate rider's ability and assign mount accordingly in rental situations.

Markel Insurance Company
Agriculture Business Unit
4600 Cox Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23060

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