For this special edition of Hay There we caught up with Dr Gemma Pearson, Director…
They may not be the latest fashion accessory, but they are there to keep you safe. Forget about hat hair!
Recent news articles from many event riders have urged people to make sure owners wear riding hats not just when they are on board, but when they are handling horses on the ground too.
Here at The Horse Trust we follow the same protocol. It is a mandatory requirement for all our team members to wear the current safety standard hats during any interaction with our horses. They also receive health and safety, horse handling and horse behaviour training onsite based around how horses learn by our Training Manager Charlotte Launder.
Since we specialise in providing respite and retirement for working horses, we have an array of personalities with horses having been trained very differently. The Horse Trust is also a place of sanctuary for horses, ponies and donkeys who have suffered from cruelty or neglect; Most of our rescue residents have had little or no human contact before arriving to us and can be dangerous to handle in the first instance.
Safety is paramount for our team for the likes of handling our largest residents like retired police horse Big Klyde. He stands at a whopping 19hh and could serious injure a team member if he was to become unsettled.
Our horses live in herds at The Horse Trust. Our team must wear hats even whilst carrying out simple maintenance checks in the fields, such as checking the fences and water troughs.
Team members are also provided with steel toe cap boots to avoid injury to their feet. Caesar, an 18.2hh shire gelding is our latest new arrival from Thames Valley Police. He has hooves the size of an average dinner plate, and could cause serious injury to an individual who wasn’t wearing protective footwear.
Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive of The Horse Trust noted, “We provide our team members with the appropriate personal protective equipment as well as up to date horse handling training in order to make our team feel as safe and as confident as possible around our horses.”
Last May, Horse and Hound reported that serious and fatal head injuries are just as likely to happen on the ground as they are when mounted, according to a study.
So just remember, it takes seconds to put a hat on and seconds to become seriously injured. We know what our choice is; make sure yours is the same!