Welcome to the Equine Safety Initiative. On this page we’ll tell you all about the Initiative, why it was developed and how you can get involved.
What is the Initiative?
The Equine Safety Initiative aims to highlight the importance of being adequately insured around horses. By doing so, it aims to protect riders, stable staff, farriers and all forms of riding establishments in the event of a horse-related accident. It’s been developed by Hive Insurance Services in consultation with equestrian governing bodies including AIRE, SJI and ISSA, along with numerous riding establishments across Ireland.
Why has the Equine Safety Initiative been launched?
We’ve seen an alarming trend in recent times where riding centres have closed due to the unsustainable rise in insurance premiums. Rocketing costs have been due to a variety of reasons including a rising claims culture when riders and riding centres have been inadequately insured at the time of horse-related accidents. Unless the issue is tackled head-on, the trend of closures will continue and naturally, we all want riding centres to be open and available to all. This is why the Equine Safety Initiative has been created.
Here's a brief interview of Rob McOwan from the 2020 Avonmore Summer Classic Series, to explain a little more about the Initiative:
And here's an interview with Mikey Pender at the same Avonmore Summer Classic Series, to show support for the Initiative:
How does the Safety Initiative work?
Firstly, by encouraging everyone involved in horses to take responsibility for their own safety and financial protection. Additionally, the Initiative offers a number of insurance solutions tailored to the specific needs of riders, farriers, stable staff and centres. As a result, if an accident takes place, both the individual and riding centre are insured. This means that the insurance company will deal with the claim directly, which allows the riding centre to focus on managing their business, and allows the individual to focus on their recovery.
Who can be covered by these insurance products?
Plans are available for a wide variety of riders, from younger to older, families, hobby riders and more serious performers. Stable staff, farriers, trainers, huntsmen, freelance instructors and any other professionals involved with horses can also find cover. Businesses are covered too, from individual stable staff through to owners and entire centres. And insurance products are also available for horses and ponies, carriages and events. We’ve been able to negotiate discounted premiums for certain plans, so please contact us for more details.
How do the insurance plans help riders and stable staff?
Equine accidents can put significant financial pressure on the rider or member of staff. Depending on the accident, the individual may need an extended period of time off work or may need multiple hospital visits and expensive treatment. All of these factors can have a huge impact on household income, and so an insurance plan can help to provide cash or a replacement income that will give the individual peace of mind, knowing that they can focus on getting better without worrying about money.
What are the key insurance plans available for riders and stable staff?
The insurance plans for riders and stable staff that are central to the ESI are plans that protect the individual in case of an accident, and protect you as a horse-owner for if your horse was to cause an accident. With this in mind, the key plans are:
Personal Accident Plan
Approved by the SJI and AIRE, our flagship plan is designed to financially protect you and your family 24 hours a day, in or out of the saddle. The Premier level plan offers 21 different fracture benefits paying up to €3,000, while the enhanced Premier Plus option covers a further 18 serious accident benefits. All in all, the plan gives you comprehensive protection from accidental injury.
Rider and Stable Staff Accident Plan
As the name suggests, this plan has been especially created for those individuals who spend their lives around horses. The plan offers financial protection in case of an accident, and also includes a variety of helpful benefits including hospitalisation cover, fracture lump sum payments, income protection and accidental death.
Private Horse and Foal Third Party Public Liability
As This policy provides cover against bodily injury to third parties or damage to third party property, and so protects you, the owner, should your animal cause an accident. There are four limits of cover available, from €1.3m up to €6.5m, and as well as covering you, the policy also covers authorised users of your horse(s).
Is it mandatory to take out insurance when riding?
No, but many centres see the benefit of the scheme as a way to protect themselves and their customers, and are seizing the opportunity to get involved. Michelle Kenny of River Lodge Equestrian comments, “As an equestrian centre manager as well as a rider myself, I think the Initiative is an excellent idea as it gives riders and riding centres a lot of reassurance going forward. I’ve introduced the scheme to everyone at River Lodge and I encourage our riders to take out cover too”.
Pat Curran, Chairman of ISSA, notes, “We are delighted to have worked with Hive, AIRE and SJI on the development of the Initiative. Hive listened to our various concerns and the tailored solutions they’ve put in place for our members will help to protect the welfare of our valued stable staff”.
High profile equestrians have also been quick to voice their support. 2018 World Equestrian Games silver medallist, Cathal Daniels, notes, “I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the Equine Safety Initiative. I know only too well that having the right support team at home and at shows helps me focus on winning medals. Knowing that my staff are covered for accidents means that extra piece of mind and helps me focus on the competition”.
What are people saying about the ESI?
Heike Holstein, Olympic dressage rider
“I am proud to be working with Hive Insurance Services as I think their approach to Irish Equine Insurance is breath of fresh air and very much needed within our industry.
Their alliance with all of the various equestrian governing bodies and their introduction of the Equine Safety Initiative (ESI) is just one example and I strongly believe that if we all get behind, support and promote this important safety program; given time, the Irish equine insurance market could change for the better, with less small claims burdening our equestrian businesses premiums could stabilise, even drop… can you imagine that!”
Elaine Lynch, AIRC member:
“Having spoken with Rob at Hive, he was able to offer me a superb policy which gave me piece of mind to get back into the saddle once restrictions eased during the year. As an active member in the AIRC, I was delighted to recommend this initiative to all our club members as Hive’s customer service and expertise in the equine industry is second to none".
Melvyn Kennedy, Hughes Kennedy Show Jumping:
“With all sports, the risk of injury is always present and equestrian sport is no different and in the case of our yard, where the risk ranges from 128cm ponies through to Grand Prix horses, covering Riders, Grooms and Yard Staff the danger seems ever present. Therefore, these day every risks combined with the issues surrounding Irish equestrian insurance; the launch of the Equine Safety Initiative could not be more perfectly timed in my opinion. Furthermore, after a visit, Rob McOwan expertly and efficiently introduced and implemented the roll out of the ESI to everyone involved within our yard without any disruption. Highly recommend everyone involved in horses gets behind and supports this initiative as we will all benefit from it in the short and long term”.
Here are just a small selection of pictures of riding centre staff that are involved in the Initiative.
Daragh O’Neill, Abbeyfield Farm
John Joe O’Brien, Ballyhoura Horse Trekking Centre
Rachel Maher, Clondalkin Equine Club
Jennifer Lawlor, Rathfarnham Equestrian Centre
Barbara and Jessica Stallard, Danville House Farm
Olive Barrett, Happy Trails Therapeutic Riding School
Ger O’ Brien, Raheen Na Gun Stud
Lisa Kane, Riversdale J Stables
The Paddocks Riding Centre
Noel Cosgrave, Birr Equestrian Centre
1. Personal Accident Plan – Approved by ISSA, SJI and AIRE, this plan gives 24 hour financial protection to you and anyone riding within an equestrian establishment, so you’re covered in or out of the saddle.
2. Private Horse Insurance – If you own a horse or pony, then this is a simple, affordable plan. It’s easy to arrange as we only need very basic information like the name, colour, sex and year of birth of your animal. And once cover is in place, your horse will be protected should they get out onto the road or cause damage.