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Risk assessment is a fundamental part of any riding coaches job.

In many countries a risk assessment is a legal requirement and has to be completed in any situation that involves the general public or employees. The legislation that governs risk assessment is generally overseen by a health and safety administration.

Often the legal requirement is for a written risk assessment that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Training centres or Riding Schools in countries where this applies should have a generic risk assessment that covers all areas and functions of the establishment.

A written risk assessment should identify the following areas:

1 What is the risk
2 What is the severity of the risk
3 Who is at risk
4 What steps have been taken to manage the risk

All coaches within an establishment have a responsibility to comply with the conditions of the risk assessment in terms of managing risk. It is important to recognise that risks have to be managed, but cannot be eliminated. To try to eliminate all risks, i.e. to become "risk averse" results in little or no activity taking place.

Although a generic risk assessment on a riding arena will highlight the need for clear surface and boundary maintenance, and for "riding arena" rules to be implemented and possibly displayed, it should also state that an "at the time" risk assessment is completed by the user. This means that the Student Coach must be able to identify unneccesary equipment and remove it, identify any surface damage and secure it, and ensure that all all doorways are closed securely prior to starting their coaching session. It also means that adverse conditions such as weather will be considered at the start of any individual session.