Insurance costs hit riding schools

14 July 2004
Horse riding and pony trekking schools are under increasing threat from Britain's growing compensation culture, a new report claims.

The British Horse Society states that dozens of riding centres are being forced to close because of spiralling insurance costs and customer claims. Some riding schools have seen insurance costs increase five-fold in the past five years and the number of riding schools in the UK has plummeted from 2,500 to 1,900 in recent years.

Spokesman for the BHS, Chris Doran, explained: "There was a time when someone who fell off would dust themselves down and get back on again. Not any more.

"Horse riding is a risk sport, always has been. The government is encouraging young people to get out into the countryside and undertake activities, but the chance is being taken away in the same breath."

Insurance firms have said they cannot rule out the possibility of further rises in premiums. In the US, changes to the rules governing responsibility for injuries have moved it back towards the rider.

Alun Michael, the minister for rural affairs, has called emergency talks at the House of Commons between business owners and insurance companies in order to tackle the insurance problem.