New health and safety guidance for horse riding schools and livery yards

Publication Date: 16th December 2015

Subject: Health and safety

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.  

H&S horse riding - in action 

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 in Great Britain 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*.

Whilst horse riding is an established pastime, there are risks involved. The environment can present hazards, such as falls from horses, fire, as well as potential injuries from being kicked when handling horses.

In theory any horse has the potential to cause harm or injury, simply through application of its weight or its hooves coming into contact at force with a person’s body. Horses are also animals that have their own idiosyncrasies, just like humans.

In addition to sharing best practice, the guidance document includes a legislative overview for horse-related businesses and typical hazards found, as well providing guidance on implementing effective safety management systems for the work environment and individual work practices.

Horses - tackling up equipment 

Under the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1998, local authorities are the designated enforcement authority for the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and its relevant statutory provisions for most riding establishments.

Under the regulations, horse-related businesses need to ensure they protect their employees, riding school clients, contractors and other members of the public including volunteers.

Co-author of the guidance document, Karen Sinclair-Williams, said: “Whilst this document is meant to be considered as guidance for riding schools and other horse-based businesses, ultimately people should make their own assessments and use sound judgment to manage risks.

“We hope that businesses are able to use this document and ultimately, we want everyone who enjoys riding or handling horses to continue to able to do so whilst being safe and secure.”

Principal Policy Officer for the CIEH, Bob Mayho, said: “It is the job of Environmental Health Practitioners to work with businesses so that they implement safe working policies to protect their workers and the wider public.

“Horse riding establishments and livery yards are no different and thanks to this excellent document produced by Michael and Karen, these businesses have the right guidance to adopt and implement the best health and safety practices possible.”

The health and safety guidance document can be downloaded on the CIEH website:  


Notes to editors  

For further information about the CIEH and our interest in health and safety, contact Steven Fifer:; 020 7827 5922 



The Authors  

Dr. Michael Sinclair-Williams is a keen horseman with many years operational safety experience. He holds a first degree, an MBA and a Phd in Total Quality Management (TQM) and risk management. He is a Chartered Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH) 

Karen Sinclair-Williams is a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CMCIEH) with an MSc. She is on the British Horse Society Register of Instructors and regularly teaches private clients and on behalf of local riding schools and the Pony Club. 

Relevant legislation  

Under the Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970, all riding establishments must hold a licence which the local authority grants following consideration of an inspection report by a veterinary surgeon on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)/British Veterinary Association (BVA) approved List of Riding Establishment Inspectors. 

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):    

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved.     

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities.     

The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.      

The CIEH is a leading provider of regulated qualifications and operates in over 50 countries.     

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH 


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