Q: MY daughter goes to a small private school for dyslexic children, and has her own privately kept pony, as do some of the other children. I have spoken to the headmistress about setting up a riding club for the school so we can arrange inter-club contests with other schools. Am I right in thinking we will need riding club status in order to get insurance cover?
MD, Suffolk

AS there is no official governing body for riding clubs, there is no requirement to have club status when purchasing any type of insurance offering protection from incidents arising in connection with a group or club activity.

However, you may wish to join the British Horse Society’s riding club affiliation scheme.

“Affiliated clubs have established a group identity, culminating in the name British Riding Clubs, and as a result of affiliation there are more than 430 UK clubs and 38,000 members,” says a BHS spokesman.

H&H asked KBIS British Equestrian’s Guy Prest for his take on club insurance cover.

“It can sometimes be a challenge for clubs to decide which cover is most appropriate to their needs,” he explains.

“While there are no mandatory insurance requirements for riding clubs at the moment, most will insure against public liability as a minimum, so that liability to the general public is covered in the event of the club’s negligence.

“Reputable insurers offer a comprehensive range of covers, so, depending on the club’s needs and the depth of its pockets, a fully comprehensive policy or a more tailored, selective cover can easily be purchased,” continues Guy.

Here is a brief overview of the type of cover available to clubs or groups:

Employers’ liability. It is a legal requirement that a valid employers’ liability insurance policy protects any paid employees of a riding club, as set out in the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. If the club has volunteers or unpaid staff, they are not obliged to hold this insurance, but the club could still be pursued by a claimant in the event of negligence.

Public liability. This provides cover in respect of third-party property damage injury in the event of the riding club’s negligence or liability. Some landowners/venues stipulate that a club has this type of policy before it can hire the premises.

Property insurance. This provides cover for property owned by the riding club, such as trailers and show jumps and hired property such as public address systems.

Personal accident. This gives cover for helpers, judges and club members.

In addition, it is worth checking that any external instructors providing training to club members hold a valid public liability policy.

British Riding Clubs Tel: 0844 8481666 www.bhs.org.uk
KBIS British Equestrian Tel: 0845 230 2323 www.kbis.co.uk

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (28 June, ’07)