Accidents and injuries are inevitable in any sporting pursuit, but a new initiative by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) aims to help make horse riding safer for the equestrian world.
BETA has launched its new Rider Accident and Equipment Reporting Form, which can be used by anyone experiencing an accident or injury around horses. The form can be accessed via a web link or by QR code which can be scanned from a phone. The form allows BETA to collect additional information surrounding accidents to help inform design and protection development of safety equipment moving forward, as part of its continued drive to help make equestrian sport safer.
It was launched earlier this month at Your Horse Live, a three-day equestrian expo at Stoneleigh Park in Kenilworth. It can be used by riders wherever they are in the world.
BETA Chief Executive Claire Williams said that a better understanding of what happens to helmets and body protectors during an accident is key to being able to design better and safer equipment. This information also feeds into the safety standards that determine how these garments perform.
“The data collected through this questionnaire will provide invaluable insights contributing to this understanding, and help us, along with our trade members, continue to innovate in the space to help keep riders across all sports safer,” Williams said.
The survey asks people to provide detail about any accident that they were involved in, and, if possible, supply images or video of the helmet and/or body protector worn during the accident itself.
Dr Diane Fisher, BETA’s Chief Medical Officer, said there was a real paucity of true data when it comes to the equestrian industry.
“It’s so important to get this data as we can feed it back into the industry, to the manufacturers so that they can use it to help further improve what they do, as a basis for our safety equipment going forward.
“It also allows us to research injury in real time. If we are picking up certain injuries and trends, it allows us as BETA to step in and campaign at the time, which makes more sense than working on the back foot,” Fisher said.
“We all accept that horse riding has real dangers attached, however using the protection available correctly can mitigate and minimise these risks. As equestrians, we all have a responsibility to keep ourselves fit, healthy and injury-free, not only in our own best interests but also in the interests of these very special animals we are lucky enough to spend time with.”