Helen Whitbread is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Riding School Inspectorate, and able to perform inspections of riding establishments and also beach donkey operations according to the Riding Establishments Acts of 1964 and 1970.
These are conducted on behalf of local authorities who issue riding school licences and permits for beach donkeys. Without a licence operations are illegal.
Premises are inspected to ensure they provide all facilities required for the welfare of the horses, ponies and donkeys and also to ensure the safety of any member of the public attending the riding school. There are specific requirements for first aid kits, adequate lighting, suitable and safe tack, as well as for riding establishments, a suitable selection of hats.
All horses and ponies used must be 4 years or over. They are individually inspected, their legs are lifted, their feet are checked, feet must be regularly shod or trimmed, tack fit is checked, ages are verified, eyes are examined and heart and lungs listened to. The animals are then walked and trotted in hand, any medical conditions are noted and if they are considered unsuitable for work, they must be withdrawn from the establishment until treatment is completed. Diaries are inspected and vets, worming and dentistry records should be available.
Unfortunately, horse riding is a dangerous sport so health and safety is paramount, but the most important feature of the veterinary inspections, is the welfare of the working horses and donkeys.