Medi-k equestian first aid

Top 10 things horse riders need to know about Riding Establishment First aid needs assessment

Top 10 things horse riders need to know about Riding Establishment First aid needs assessment

  1. The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) cannot tell you what provision you should make for first aid at your horse-riding establishments/livery yards. You, as an employer, are best placed to understand the exact nature of your workplace and decide what you need to provide.
  2. HSE states first aid provision must be ‘adequate and appropriate in the circumstances’. This means that you must provide sufficient first aid equipment (first aid kit), facilities and personnel at all times.
  3. In order to decide what provision you need to make you should undertake a first-aid needs assessment. This assessment should consider the circumstances of your workplace, workforce and the hazards and risks that may be present. The findings will help you decide what first-aid arrangements you need to put in place.
  4. In assessing your first-aid needs, you should consider:
    • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
    • the distribution of your workforce
    • the remoteness of any of your sites from emergency medical services
    • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
    • first-aid provision for non-employees (eg members of the public).
  5. HSE has published further guidance on all the factors above that will help you carry out your first-aid needs assessment.
  6. You do not need to record the findings of your needs assessment, but you may find it useful to do so, as it will demonstrate how you have decided on the first-aid provision that you make.
  7. Who should I think about in my first aid needs assessment?
  8. Equestrian operations that are carried out in any establishment present hazards;
    • injuries arising from loading and unloading horses into horse boxes
    • catching horses from the field
    • the use of machinery
  9. the act of riding itself can present significant hazards. The riding a person may be involved in can range from simply walking or trotting within a purpose built area to galloping at 40 mph along road side verges in close proximity to moving vehicles.
  10. We have produced a ‘cheat sheet’ to help you with your Riding Establishment First aid needs assessment. You can download it from

Note on handling horses – Although significant under reporting occurs, the data available and reports in equestrian journals show that many accidents involve un- mounted staff/riding school clients. The hazards arise from kicks, bites, being crushed or falling/being knocked to the ground. Whilst the majority of horses can be trained not to display such vices there is never room for complacency. In stressful situations, such as when in pain or frightened, even gentle horses can display uncharacteristic behaviour. Other horses, either through lack of training or other reasons, may be more prone to bad behaviour. Sometimes their temper is aimed primarily at other horses, but people in the vicinity can get hurt, while others will deliberately try to frighten or hurt people. To a large extent the overall assessment with regard to first aid provision will be dependent on the nature of the undertaking and the number of horses in addition to the number of employees. A large riding establishment/livery yard with horses used for most disciplines including cross country and show jumping would have a greater need for first aid provision than a small livery yard where staff had minimal direct contact with the horses. The assessment should take into account the previous accident history although it should be noted that many accidents, particularly to staff as opposed to the public, may not be recorded.

Why not be prepared and have you and your staff trained in first aid? Specialist courses for the equestrian sector are available. To find out which first aid course is best for you check out our specific equestrian first aid webpage.

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Medi-K and First Aid Training Co-operative have come together to run specialist equestrian specific first aid courses. For more information about our first aid courses please contact us