- No smoking in the barn, arena or any of the premises directly associated with the actual operation of the program. Signs must be posted.
- No flammable materials, such as gasoline, paint or kerosene may be stored in the stable vicinity. The must be in a separate building.
- There must be adequate fire extinguishers, as advised by the local fire department. These must be placed in the barns, arena and offices, and be recharged and inspected annually.
- Inspection card must be signed and dated by the inspector.
- Fire drills must be carried out twice per year, and must involve all staff and instructors. (It is strongly recommended that one drill be done in the winter during snow/ice conditions.) Confirmation of this, in the form of a signed and dated report on the fire drill, is to be completed and signed by a Fire Officer (employee of the Fire Department). If you are unable to get a Fire Officer out to your centre, you must submit a copy of your Fire Safety Plan to the Fire Department for approval.
- Emergency numbers and directions to the facility must be posted by the telephone(s). Location of additional telephones and emergency procedures should be posted near the entrance of the barn.
- First aid and veterinary kits must be well stocked and accessible. Location must be visibly marked. Minimum requirement list attached. Emergency eyewash station or eyewash bottle should be in the barn and accessible to all staff and volunteers.
- Barn, including stalls, bars and mesh wiring, must be in good repair.
- Feed must be securely stored and inaccessible to the horses. All utility equipment (forks, rakes, etc.) must be stored safely.
- Arena, fences and gates must be in good repair. Kick boards to protect the riders’ knees and the volunteers must cover any protrusion into the arena.
- The ramp and/or mounting block must be easily accessible, in good repair and, where possible, separated from the arena.
- Tack must be cleaned and checked for necessary repairs on a regular basis. A record of repairs must be kept.
- Up-to-date records of care for the horses, including vaccinations, worming and farrier care, must be available at all times.
- Horses must be in good flesh and well groomed (frequently brushed, mud and burrs removed, proper foot care).
- Horses must be schooled by a competent rider to keep them tuned up and ridden out occasionally. Written schooling schedule must be available.
- Horses must be kept a safe distance apart in the ring/arena (Minimum of one horse’s length).
- Paddock size/sufficient turnout (quality of pasture).
- All staff and volunteers must be trained in the correct tying of a quick-release knot, if tying horses is required at any time in the normal operation of the facility. Quick-release clips may be used instead.
- Paid and volunteer instructors must have a current First Aid and CPR certificate. Volunteer personnel should also be encouraged to take First Aid and CPR courses.
- Personnel working around the horses must wear safe footwear, which protects heels and toes.
- Volunteers must be trained in methods of basic horse handling in addition to leading, side walking and methods of supporting the rider. It is advised that all centres have a volunteer training session given by a professional.
- Volunteers should understand lesson content and the purpose of the lesson plan.
- Instructors should be trained in the correct procedure in the event of an incident/accident (e.g., rider falls from the horse). This should be available in writing.
- Volunteer clinics must be held regularly and a handout including safety precautions must be available for all program personnel.
- Instructors must either be professionally certified (RDA, CanTRA PATH International, etc.) or show evidence of working toward certification. This must be a priority.
- When mounted, every rider must wear correctly fitted ASTM-approved protective headgear, secured with a permanently affixed safety harness. This applies to instructors, exercise riders and volunteers when schooling horses or mounted during a lesson, etc. Check the lightweight helmet guidelines in the Operations Manual.
- Therapy excluding helmets must have written procedure, helpers, location, etc. in cases when the sensory limitations of the rider preclude hemet use.
- Some form of safety stirrups must be used (i.e., Devonshire boot, Look stirrup, Peacock, Australian safety snaps, etc.).
- Any rider wearing running shoes or a shoe without a heel must use Devonshire boots or have a side walker
- Saddles should be equipped with handholds.
- The following forms must be on file
- For students:
- – physician’s referral
- – physiotherapy evaluation (where applicable)
- – witnessed release form, signed by the rider or in the case of a minor, their parent/guardian
- – photo release/consent
- – therapy report (optional)
- – progress report
- – Down’s syndrome atlanto-axial verification, where applicable
- – incident report (where necessary)
- For volunteers:
- – confidentiality form, signed and witnessed
- – release form, signed and witnessed
- – incident report (where necessary)
- For students:
- An instructor must supervise safe mounting and dismounting procedures, along with a therapist’s input, as required.
If this is offered as part of the program, two qualified personnel are required to be present: an instructor who is responsible for the horse and a qualified health care professional (PT or OT) who has taken basic and/or intermediate hippotherapy courses and who is responsible for the rider. (Reference: www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org
Back riding is only practiced following written guidelines regarding horse, equipment, back rider, location, and rider. Ground driving is permitted with written guidelines regarding horse, equipment, trainer, location and rider.