Drone users urged to take care around horses

  • Warnings have been issued surrounding the use of drones around horses following a rise in concern among riders.

    The British Horse Society (BHS) has received an increase in calls as more horse owners become concerned about the flying devises.

    The charity is now calling drone users to avoid flying drones in areas where they know horses may be — for instance near riding centres or bridleways.

    “Drones are an increasing concern for us as they become more popular,” said Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS.

    “While we don’t want to stop people enjoying drones, we are asking that they consider the impact they can have on horses.

    “Flying drones near horses can potentially have fatal consequences for horses and horse riders.”

    In October 2015, police horse Fimber from West Yorkshire Police’s mounted unit was spooked while a drone was flying close to his paddock. He tried to jumped a fence and collided with a wooden post.

    The horse was seriously injured and died on his way to the vets.

    Superintendent Pat Casserly of West Yorkshire Police said: “There is a possibility that Fimber was reacting to the drone landing nearby or being close to him when he bolted with tragic consequences.

    “Technology such as drones offer great opportunities for work and leisure activities. However, with that freedom comes an equal amount of responsibility.

    “It is really important that purchasers and users of drones learn what they can and cannot do with them in order to protect the safety of other people, animals and property.”

    The BHS is advising drone users to research an area before they fly there.

    “By researching whether any riding centres, bridleways or beaches accessible by horse riders in the area, users can choose to fly their drone in other locations and potentially prevent accidents from occurring,” Mr Hiscox added.

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    Since the launch of the BHS’s horse accidents website in November 2010, the society has received more than 400 reports of horse accidents involving loud or moving objects such as Chinese lanterns and fireworks.

    Of these, 11 horses died as a result of the scare, and one horse rider was killed in an incident involving a low flying aircraft.

    Horse accidents, including incidents involving drones, can be reported to the BHS horse accidents website: www.horseaccidents.org.uk.

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