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Why Do Riding Instructors Need Insurance?


Answer this question:

Do accidents ever happen?

 Yes they do but….

  • Unlike years ago when riding horses was common and accidents happened, People called it ‘an accident’ – no one was blamed for an accident.
  • It seems however, that accidents never happen these days – there is always someone to blame – someone always ‘caused’ the accident.

AS an instructor therefore, because it seems that today someone ‘always caused the accident’ and so they make a claim for financial compensation, you will obviously need insurance cover.

This cover is to protect you (and your clients) in the course of your work – i.e. your ‘paid for’ commercial activities.

  • Riding Instructors and trainers as well as grooms, all need insurance.
  • They need insurance in the same was as:  a beauty therapist, vet, ski instructor, canoe / kayak trainer, your boiler repair man or car mechanic needs insurance.
    • If they are a professional they need insurance – just in case something happens – i.e. an accident for which they could be blamed.
  • Why would you employ any of those people without insurance?
  • If something went seriously wrong – serious disablement perhaps – how would the instructor/trainer pay the cost of the claims if they were not covered. Would they be bankrupted and be forced by law to pay the claim perhaps losing their house and home to cover the costs of the claim.
  • ‘No insurance’  means  ‘no money’ with which to cover court and legal costs never mind the claim for compensation which can run into hundreds of thousands in some cases – we have all read about them in the papers!

Any person working in or involved with ‘business-related’ equestrian activities should have public liability insurance and more. 

Public Liability insurance provides cover against:

  1. claims by members of the public who have themselves been injured
  2. or have had their property damaged as a result of the person insured’s actions (e.g. the instructors actions),
  3. the actions of animals in that person’s care (e.g. the instructors care).

 Not all insurance policies however, are the same, so you have to look carefully and choose one that is relevant to you and specifically to your line of work. 

If you just teach it might be one type of insurance but if you also school horses for people or groom/muck out/exercise/ offer clipping services, it might mean you need a different insurance policy as well.


Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance Services, stated in response to a question on Horse & Hound site that there are 3 aspects of liability cover where horses are concerned.

  1. First is riding instructor liability, providing cover when an instructor is giving lessons to a rider. A claim could arise if the rider had an accident during a lesson for which the rider felt the instructor was liable,” he explained.
  2. Second, there is public liability, which provides cover if a horse the instructor is directly responsible for causes injury or damage to a third party, or their property.
  3. And third, there is care, custody and control, which covers loss or damage to an animal while in an instructor/trainer/groom’s care.


David Ashby of Amlin Plus Sports Horse Insurers says you should ideally have two types of liability cover — public (or third-party) liability and care, custody and control.

“For example, if you are schooling a horse or giving a lesson, and the horse escapes and collides with a car, or injures a passer-by, you would be covered by public/third-party liability,” explained David.

Care, custody and control provides cover against a horse being killed or injured through the insured’s (e.g.instructors) negligence (or that of any employee), while it is in their care.

Trainer and show jumper Tim Stockdale takes out this cover for his own peace of mind, explaining that in the course of his teaching, he has found pupils, as well as horses, can be unpredictable.

“A very useful part of this policy is that it will also meet the costs of your defence, if you are the subject of a claim for negligently injuring a horse,” David added.

“You could in theory incur a liability if either you sat on a horse for a client and it was injured, or if in the course of a lesson, it was alleged you caused the horse injuries.

An example would be if you made the horse jump when it had previously refused, and it was injured while jumping.

“Furthermore, if, for example, you work as a holiday-relief groom while the horse’s owners are away, if it were held you had negligently injured a horse in your care, you could be liable for damages. Care, custody and control would cover you in this instance.

You could also consider a private health and accident policy and loss of earnings or temporary disablement cover to be advisable,” David said.


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