Saddlechariots, Safety. The S words crop up throughout everything I have written in the ten years the Saddlechariot has existed. From day one I wanted a Safe, one man, pony drawn vehicle. Today, I want a safe one man pony or horse drawn vehicle, and it exists, the Mark10 Saddlechariot is about as good as you are going to get.
But almost from day one, I wanted to build a wheelchair friendly version. Safety was just as important for the disability market. It would be pointless to say it was more important, as I have always made it clear that safety was the number one priority on the Saddlechariot. If Safety is number one priority, you cannot make it more important.
The Bannedwaggon is the result of all those years of trying to provide Saddlechariot levels of safety to those with limited mobility. But the Bannedwaggon has a major problem with safety. The problem is the Equestrian Establishment whose attitude to safety is, to put it mildly, complex.
In essence, the Equestrian Establishment don’t do safety. They hardly even pay it lip service, and consequently, equestrianism kills a lot of people. With this background, it is impossible to get any rational safety assessment of any product that might be used around ponies or horses. In ten years, nobody from the Equestrian Establishment has EVER been prepared to look at the safety features I have put in the Saddlechariot. The Equestrian Establishment deliberately ignore safety.
The Equestrian Establishment is obviously going to be haring off to their lawyers so I will produce my evidence. I have actually done a Health and Safety course, and wish I had done it years ago. I have been told about all the nonsense, the nanny state, the idiot rules, and the course was a total eye opener, it is simple, it is logical, it makes sense, and it means that employees tend to return from work with the same number of limbs etc, as when they left home.
The Equestrian Establishment ignores the most basic principles of the Health and Safety Executive. By the Equestrian Establishment, I mean The British Horse Society, The Pony Club, The British Driving Society, The Jockey Club and depressingly, Riding for the Disabled. I also include all the various Breed Societies, and those Societies that promote Dressage, Polo, Eventing, Show Jumping etc.
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.?