The British Horse Society’s (BHS) online record of horse-related accidents is starting to influence legislation, two years after it was launched.
Since the site was set up by the BHS in November 2010, 347 dog attacks have been reported on www.horseaccidents.org.uk.
This information was fed into the recent dangerous dogs consultation, highlighting the issues of dog attacks on horses and riders to the Government, in the hope the law will be toughened up.
“We set out to collate as many statistics and hard facts as we could on a selection of issues that we knew could make equestrians unsafe,” said Sheila Hardy of the BHS.
“Our greatest success has to be the influence of our reports received in the case of dangerous dogs, which contributed hugely to the requested changes to the Dangerous Dogs Bill.”
The BHS said it has also seen an increase of more than 250% in the number of road accidents that have been reported since the site was set up.
Previously, neither the highways authorities nor emergency services had kept specific records of accidents relating to horses.
The horse accidents site enables riders to record everything from dog attacks and road traffic accidents to incidents involving low-flying aircraft, fireworks, gates and wind farms. The data is used to lobby for better riding conditions.
“Third-party anecdotes are not sufficiently reliable to influence those in a position to make a difference,” added Ms Hardy.
“The importance of first-hand reports should not be underestimated.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (15 November 2012)