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Riding school death ruled accidental

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The death of a 72-year-old grandfather, who died from head injuries sustained when falling from a horse, has been ruled accidental.

Anthony Golding died on 15 December, two days after falling from a riding school horse.

The 72-year-old was out with staff from Fern Bank Riding School, near Cromer, when he fell and suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying the riding school’s lack of a licence had no bearing on the death, but called for examination of how riding schools are licensed.

Riding schools must be licensed by their local authority.

The school’s licence, issued by North Norfolk District Council expired in July 2011 and was not renewed until February 2012.

Mr Armstrong said it was “not satisfactory” that it had been unlicensed for so long while paperwork was being processed.

Rosemary Fabb from Fern Bank said they had applied for their licence, but receiving it had been a long process.

“We are very sorry for Mr Golding’s family. The whole issue has caused them and us a lot of stress, and the council has been unsympathetic,” she told H&H.

Chris Cawley from North Norfolk District Council said: “The coroner intends to raise a few issues with us. Licensing at riding establishments is more with regard to animal welfare than public safety, but we will look at what we can and can’t do.”

Julian Marczak of the Association of British Riding Schools said he was surprised by the council’s comment.

“In our experience, both welfare and public safety are looked at, though there is a lack of uniformity among local authorities.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (16 August 2012)