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HORSE SENSE: How to cope in case of a road accident
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HORSE SENSE: How to cope in case of a road accident
on 18 December 2015
These recommendations from Horse Sport Ireland are essential reading for anyone taking a horse on to the public road


All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way. Horse owners may be liable if their horse injures another road user or damages their property, for example, their car. This may result in the payment of considerable damages.

If you ride, drive or lead a horse on the road, you should hold public liability insurance (also known as third party insurance). This form of insurance covers you if your horse is found to have injured someone or damaged their property. Public liability insurance is included in the membership of some equine associations. You can also get it through insurance companies.


Type the letters ICE (In Case of Emergency) before each name. This helps the emergency services if you are involved in a collision. They can quickly scan through your phone to find the names. Your emergency contacts could include, for example, your next of kin, your doctor and your vet.

Do not use your mobile phone while riding, driving or leading a horse. Always keep your mobile phone on silent when riding. This is to avoid distracting your attention from controlling your horse. It is also a good idea to put the names and phone numbers of people to be contacted in an emergency into your phone.


You can get a list of recognised Ride and Road Safety Trainers on the HSI website Two Ride and Road Safety examinations currently take place in Ireland:

  • Pony Club Road Safety Test - This test is available only to members of the Irish Pony Club. Children taking this test must be at least 12 years old.
  • British Horse Society (BHS) Ride and Road Safety Exam - This exam is open to both members and non-members of the BHS aged 12 years and over.

    Follow these guidelines if a rider has a fall on the road. ?

  • Warn traffic coming from all directions.
  • Make safe the area around the fallen rider. ?
  • If your vehicle is stationary, turn on your hazard warning lights.?
  • Call for help. Depending on the severity of the fall, phone 999 or 112 for an ambulance, or phone a family member or doctor. ?
  • Check if the rider is conscious.
  • Do not move them if there is a threat of a back or neck injury.
  • Do not remove the riding hat (but you may open the chin strap). ?
  • Keep reassuring the injured rider and keep them warm until help arrives.?
  • If a horse is injured or loose, ask the Gardaí for help.
  • If you phone for an ambulance, you will be asked the following questions, in this order:
  • 1. What phone number are you calling from?
  • 2. What is the location of the collision?
  • 3. What is the main problem?
  • 4. How many people are injured?
  • 5. About what age are the injured people?
  • 6. Are they male or female?
  • 7. Are they conscious?
  • 8. Are they breathing normally?
  • 9. If over 35 years, are they experiencing chest pain?
  • 10. If trauma, are they experiencing severe bleeding?
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