Health and Safety Responsibilities for Equestrian Activities

Health and Safety Responsibilities for Equestrian Activities

For those of you that are unaware of your responsibilities regarding equestrian activities on your property, or at your place of work, then now is the time to seek advice. Just like any business owner, owners of equestrian properties have health and safety responsibilities.

Most horse owners realise that the fun and pleasure we enjoy with our four-legged friends can also result in the disappointment of accidents and injuries.  We all know someone who has suffered a serious horse riding/handling accident, as we are dealing with animals much larger than us that sometimes can be unpredictable.  Yes, the risks posed are greater when working with horses than for those working in an office environment.  But no matter what occupation we are involved in, our responsibilities to health and safety remain the same.

If you are involved with taking in horses for training, schooling or giving riding lessons, providing grazing or arena facilities and someone is injured, you are likely to be held accountable.  The following indicates the maximum penalties possible for health and safety duty offences under the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015.

(e.g. a worker or other person at a workplace)
(e.g. self-employed)
(e.g. an organisation that is a PCBU)
Reckless conduct in respect of duty that exposes an individual to a risk of serious injury, serious illness or death.
Five years in prison or $300,000 fine,
or both
Five years in prison or $600,000 fine,
or both
$3 million fine
Failure to comply with a duty that exposes an individual to a risk of serious injury, serious illness or death.
$150,000 fine $300,000 fine $1.5 million fine
Failure to comply with a duty.
$50,000 fine $100,000 fine $500,000 fine

Steps must be taken to eliminate or minimise the risks in your work place and to your:

  • employees
  • contractors
  • subcontractors
  • labour hire workers
  • apprentices
  • trainees
  • volunteer workers

The message is as clear as black and white: if you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), the owner operator, or an officer of a PCBU (which could be described as a director, partner or trustee), you are required to be proactive in the implementation of policies and procedures along with risk management at your equestrian property.

Here at B&W Safety we have a health and safety system developed specifically for equestrian businesses. Chrissy, in particular, has been involved in all manners or equestrian businesses, from racing stables through to sport horse training and breeding.

Check out our Equestrian Health & Safety System or contact Chrissy on 027 518 1234 or email to have a chat about how we can help you.


8 thoughts on “Health and Safety Responsibilities for Equestrian Activities

  1. Koa Gower Reply

    I am interested in setting up a horse trekking business and want to know my legal obligations in H&S,what system programme you have to comply and cost of it.

  2. Melanie Reply

    We need a better health and safety plan for our farm. Alongside all the usual farm operations, we now run riding lessons, and have a gateway student from a local high school once a week, have youth groups come to ride horses and fire air rifles, and do other games and activities on the farm as well as outside people visiting their horses or bringing their horse to be mated to our stallion. What h & s polices do we need?

  3. Rahna Campbell Reply

    I am interested in setting up a horse trekking business and want to know my legal obligations in H&S,what system programme you have to comply and cost of it.

    • admin Post authorReply

      Hi Rahna. Thank you for your enquiry. Have sent you a response via email.

  4. Hayley walker Reply

    Hi I am looking at setting up horse riding lessons what would I need in order to obtain safety on my property

  5. Anni Reply

    Hi, please shed some light for us on what you could do for a horse trekking business. Thank you!

    • admin Post authorReply

      Hi Anni. I have sent you an email with more information about our specific equestrian health and safety system (

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