When it comes to safe handling of horses, the most important thing to remember is that they are still essentially a “wild” animal, a senior lecturer in equine science has warned.
...There is no such thing as a bomb-proof horse.CSU associate professor Hayley Randle
They are a prey species, designed to flee danger, and have been further developed to run, according to Wagga CSU associate professor Hayley Randle.
Their relative size and strength, coupled with an unpredictable nature, therefore makes them dangerous, she said.
And nowhere is this more apparent – and potentially life-threatening – than when you pair them with relatively inexperienced handlers in a workplace setting.
Prof Randle will be among the line-up of speakers at two more workshops at the Albury-Wodonga Equestrian Centre in March to explain a new code of practice for the equine industry.
SafeWork NSW is conducting seminars across the state to explore issues contained in the new code, Managing risks when new or inexperienced riders or handlers interact with horses in the workplace.
Prof Randle said the proper handling and training of horses not only had a big impact on a person’s safety but also animal welfare.
Learning to read the signs and behaviour of the animal was fundamental to minimising risk, she added.
“Despite all claims to the contrary, there is no such thing as a bomb-proof horse,” Prof Randle said.
“When we are working with horses – whether you are inexperienced or not – the one thing we don’t do is continually assess the risk.
“Horses are unpredictable so you just can’t take anything for granted with them.
“I think the new code of practice is brilliant in that it provides practical, on-the-job guidelines for assessing and identifying hazards when handling horses.”
Anyone with an equine business or “undertaking” (including coaching) is invited to attend the AWEC seminars to learn more about how the code applies to them.
Participants will also learn how to access the small business safety equipment rebate worth $500.
- Seminars will be held on Wednesday, March 7 from 11am at the AWEC clubhouse and March 29 from 6pm where Associate Professor Randle is expected to speak. To register contact Stephen Jones, of SafeWork NSW, on 0427 441 377 or email@example.com
- To dowload the full code go to www.awec.net.au