Health and Safety One?

I sent a slightly earlier version of this to the Health and Safety Executive, who have told me there is nothing they can do, and that I should go to the British Equestrian Foundation who support the use of whips, banning of  pneumatic tyres and indifference to safety that I list here.In other words, The Health and Safety Executive will not investigate safety issues within the Equestrian Establishment.

The  second section deals with the Riding for the Disabled Association’s and World Horse Welfare’s refusal to look at my products. Yes folks that bit’s personal. The Final section is a simple indictment of a sport that is indifferent to the law of the land, and which treats the Health and Safety Executive with contempt.

Killing people and animals has gone on for too long. If someone looks now, lives could be saved and horses, ponies, mules and donkeys might also lead longer happier lives.

HSE charge sheet

I designed, invented, whatever you like to call it, the Saddlechariot, some ten years ago, and I have spent most of the intervening time, driving it, promoting it, improving it and most importantly, being sent to Coventry by the Equestrian Establishment for inventing it. 


Luckily the vindictiveness, bigotry and snobbery that are the hallmarks of top level equestrianism are matched by the stupidity of those involved. Had they really wanted to destroy the saddlechariot, and me, the simplest way would have been to politely ask to look at it, back in 2000.
Then, it was pretty good, but nothing startling, and with a little modest encouragement, common courtesy and polite interest, I would soon have got bored and gone off to do something else. But being stupid, they tried to destroy my idea by being nasty, vicious etc, and letting the junior members of their organisations slag me off in public, while making damn sure I could never give any equestrian establishment organisation, a proper demonstration.
So, on my own, I improved the vehicle, till it was as safe as I could make it, and then built a wheelchair enabled version that is safer still. This has only increased the hatred of the Equestrian Establishment and increased their determination to destroy me. Neither vehicle is mentioned by any of the equestrian establishment. They have sent me to Coventry, to internal exile. But a number of people, mostly outside the horse world, and definitely outside “Polite Society” have helped me, and encouraged me to keep fighting.


I was moaning on the internet about this treatment and a British Driving Society Area Comissioner suggested that I get my vehicles checked out by the Health and Safety Executive as they were the only body who could approve or disapprove.
Yippee, if that is the correct spelling.
Because getting checked out by the Health and Safety Executive may scare the British Driving Society, and they seem to assume it will scare me, but the opposite is true. I am deeply grateful that it is a British Driving Society member who has started a process that some may see as a vicious attack on the BDS. It is no such thing. The BDS suggested I should follow this course of action.
This gives the BDS a massive problem. Saddlechariots and vehicles built and designed by me, Simon Mulholland are not allowed to attend a whole load of BDS rallies because of their safety policies. I build vehicles that are specifically designed to contravene the BDS safety policies. Therefore the Health and Safety Executive will have to look at the BDS policies to see if they do actually make things safer.
If the safety policies turn out to be nonsense, what will the BDS do? They can’t blame me, I’m only following their advice. Since I don’t want to appear unduly vindictive, and I wouldn’t want it to be considered unfair, with me only attacking one little equestrian society, I will also list the safety policies of the British Horse Society that I advise my customers to ignore, for their own safety, and the policies of the Pony Club and the British Horseracing Board which are equally dangerous.


Not forgetting of course the policies of the RDA which not only exclude a huge number of the disabled, but make life unnecessarily dangerous for those who do take part in Carriage Driving for the Disabled. The Breed societies, whose perfectly disgusting habit of condoning incest is dangerous, sick and morally reprehensible, will only get mentioned in passing.
So here goes, the charge sheet.
I think whips are dangerous, and advise all my customers to avoid them like the plague. The British Driving Society, The British Horse Society, The British Horseracing Authority and the Pony Club, all think whips are a safety device.
I can find no evidence that whips make animals any safer. I can find plenty of evidence that whips make animals more dangerous. Therefore I say, no whips.
The British Driving Society make whips compulsory, especially on the road, and are trying to make them a legal requirement.
I have searched to see if I can find any evidence that whips, on any occasion, have ever saved any person or animal from any injury. Or to find any accident where the loss of the whip caused the accident. I can find none.
I have seen horses bolt after a whip has been used. I know animals that are terrified of whips. Racing research shows that the only avoidable factor in racing contributing to deaths of horses is the use of whips.
The BDS insist they MUST be carried.
I insist they must not be carried.
The Pony Club test ten year old children to check they can carry a whip in either hand, and test them again at top level to see they are prepared to use a whip.
The British Horseracing Authority disqualify a jockey who has no whip, or who drops a whip and claim the whip is there for safety. The research shows the risks of using a a whip, yet the BHA insist the whip is a safety feature. I can find no evidence of any occasion when a whip has averted an accident.
No other animal can be hit with a whip in public, with the horse it is compulsory. If it is so vital to safety there must be evidence. Since nobody from any of the equestrian Establishment organisations has ever produced any evidence about safety, I can only make judgements based on the extensive evidence form animal behaviourists, trainers and my own personal experience, that whips are dangerous.
If I am wrong, where is the evidence?
If I am right, why are all these organisations deliberately encouraging dangerous practices which expose their employees and the general public to risks of death and serious injury?
If I am right, the Health and Safety Executive are going to be giving the Equestrian Establishment a very hard time.
Horse Shoes.
Horse shoes provide a simple example of the Equestrian Establishment’s contempt for safety. Riding Helmets are tested to ensure they can survive the impact of a horseshoe shaped anvil. Motorcycle helmets don’t have to go through this, so the impact of a horseshoe on a head is clearly a hazard, and clearly specific to horses, and not a problem if you fall off, for example, a motorbike.
It is a basic principle of the HSE that a hazard is subject to a hierarchy of controls. The shoe is clearly such a hazard or they would not test riding helmets on horseshoe shaped anvils. The very last resort in the hierarchy of controls, is PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, for example, a Riding Helmet. Therefore we would expect that the Equestrian Establishment would have tried all the controls in the hierarchy that come before the last resort, PPE.
The first control in the hierarchy is elimination. “This should always be the first consideration as it results in the hazard no longer existing.” So what happens if you take the horseshoes off? The BHS manual says that “an unshod horse has a more secure grip on every type of surface. In addition, injury from a kick by an unshod horse is likely to be considerably less severe.”
Sounds like the answer is simple. Don’t use shoes. The animal is less likely to fall, and less likely to injure you if it kicks, a win win situation. But obviously the shoes can’t be removed, or the Equestrian establishment would have done so.
The second solution is substitution. Is it possible that an alternative to nailing a lump of metal to the horse’s foot might exist? Maybe something that is lighter and has more give than steel and possibly more grip underfoot. Obviously not, or the Equestrian establishment would comply with the laws on Health and Safety like the rest of Industry has to.
I have driven Obama from Exeter to London testing the Bannedwaggon. Obama wore no shoes on his hind feet for the entire journey, and had no problems with his hindfeet at all. He did the first stage of the journey barefoot in front but I was concerned that his left front foot is prone to bruising on the sole, so used a pair of Old Mac hoofboots for the last 10 days of the 16. He never slipped in the Old Mac’s, and had no problems with them.
I can eliminate shoes on the rear and substitute shoes on the front. The Equestrian Establishment can’t. Shoes are still the norm, as are injuries to horses and to people. Why does basic Health and Safety not apply? How can an organisation that ignores, or condones, such flagrant abuses of Health and Safety exist and operate openly in 2010?
The answer is obvious. The Equestrian Establishment is the pinnacle of society, and as such, above the law.
Should a concerned citizen report what seems such a flagrant abuse of the law, and if they should, who on earth do they report it to.?
Solid tyres.
Why, when we have had pneumatic tires since 1847 would anybody be stupid enough to insist on solid tires? Don’t ask me, ask the British Driving Society who ban pneumatic tires for long distance driving with this statement.
PNEUMATIC TYRED VEHICLES with their greater tyre friction and often heavy axles have been proved to create considerable extra stress for horses/ponies over the longer distances in the above Awards and are therefore not permitted.
Likewise the LIGHTWEIGHT pneumatic tyres vehicles are deemed unsafe and unable to withstand the stress and wear of the longer distances of LDD Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards and are also banned.
Read this article from Adam Hart Davis about the advantages of pneumatic tires,
In 1847 Thomson proved that these were inefficient, with a series of tests in London ’s Regents Park . He took two horse-drawn carriages, fitted one with his elastic bearings, and compared their performance over two different types of road.
The first thing that everyone noticed was that the carriage fitted with his tyres was silent, whereas iron tyres always made a loud grinding scrunching noise as they rolled along. His carriage caused quite a stir among the crowds in the park; The Mechanics Magazine concluded: ‘Despite the opinion most people would form…that the draught [i.e. the force needed to pull the carriage] must be greatly increased, (it) is unquestionably much lessened. The tyres are perfectly elastic as well as soft. They do not retard the carriage – they yield to every obstacle, permit the carriage to pass over it without rising up, and expanding as they pass from the obstruction, return the force borrowed for a moment to compress the tyre.’
Thomson found in his tests that the force needed to pull the brougham was 60 per cent more for the solid tyres than the aerial wheels on the macadamized (smooth) road, and three times as much on the rough road! Perhaps his elastic bearings would have been a commercial success had the bicycle been invented earlier, but sadly for Thomson they were ahead of their time.
This article has been developed from Adam Hart-Davis’s book Eurekaaargh!, about inventions that nearly worked.
listen to any engineer. This is unmitigated crap. I can think of no other way to describe it.

I will not use solid tires because they are more bloody work for the animal, and they are stuffing dangerous, and only a moron would think differently. I will now add various quotes from “driving experts” to show this isn’t a one off typo, but a stupid policy based on contempt for engineering.

This is nonsense without any foundation. Would a responsible vehicle designer listen to this sort of nonsense? Would the HSE allow any organisation who produced this sort of nonsense to dictate safety policy?
What’s more it is known to be nonsense
In the 1902 Exhibition Ridges exhibited “small square fronted brougham, medium square opening brougham, “Barker” shape circular ditto, light canoe landau, Parisian victorian, specimens “S.T.”, “Pioneer”, “Ideal”, “Britain’s Best” solid rubber tyres. (Solid tyres remained in widespread use long after the invention of pneumatic tyres because it was thought, mistakenly, that they rolled more easily and took less effort to pull).
But for some reason, nonsense that the equestrian world would continue to pass around as fact, 160 years after it had been proved  to be nonsense. And I am expected to take these guys as experts and follow all the nonsense they pass around.
I hope the Health and Safety Executive will have the courage to investigate the horse world, and ask whether safety should be left in the hands of people with such a cavalier (Ha ha good pun, horse world, cavalier, oh forget it) attitude to safety.

But then will any Health and Safety Executive employee with an eye to the future, ask these questions when the Govenrment of the day is out to destroy the HSE?

I haven’t even started on Spoked wheels, bits, blinkers, training, cruppers, grooms yet.


1 Response to Health and Safety One?

  1. Pingback: Thinking Outside the Horsebox. | Thinking Outside the Horsebox

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