Instructor Insurance

OldFogie

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A couple of issues ago, there was a small article about the advisedness of all Instructors and folk who offer rider training to have pukka insurance - in case they are negligent!!! Negligent how? By failing to vet out those clients stupid enough to injure themselves and blame other folk for something blatantly their own damned fault?

Now, I fully realise that I am quickly blending in with the hills so my take on such matters is far from modern - but REALLY!
Am I the only one that is hartily sickened by this intrusion of the litigant obsessed American way of life into what is one if not THE most British of pastimes - Riding?

It was good to see a few years ago that the Law Lords - after about twenty years of normal education, the Bar exam, working as Barristers, being called as a Judge that they came to the conclusion (wait for it...... ) that learning to ride was dangerous! But they passed the buck on liability ( obviously, because all their mates are still looking for work ambulance chasing.)

What say you?
 

Theocat

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There are plenty of ways in which an instructor could be negligent and cause accidents over and above the normal risks of horse riding. As a result, insurance is necessary.
 

OldFogie

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There are plenty of ways in which an instructor could be negligent and cause accidents over and above the normal risks of horse riding. As a result, insurance is necessary.
Well - come on then - name them!

I reckon that most people would think jumping out of a perfectly working aircraft was pretty dangerous - it's killed far more people than riding accidents. Granted all the parachute instructors I know are insured but I've never heard one blamed for an accident - prosecuted for murder, yes, accidents, no.
 

Theocat

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Jumping lesson - instructor throws the cups down carelessly - horse refuses and lands on the cups causing injury.

No question the instructor has made a mistake. No way the rider could have reasonably known in advance.

Now that i've got you started, I'm sure you have the intelligence and imagination to consider the question further and come up with a few more yourself.
 

OldFogie

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..... I'm sure you have the intelligence and imagination to consider the question.......
Oh deary me, yes (well, I'm not too sure about the intelligence but imagination may be).

Jumping lesson - instructor throws the cups down carelessly - horse refuses and lands on the cups causing injury.
Many thanks for posting such a glaringly obvious "watch what you're doing" example of modern life. Soooooooo depressing!

What about the stupid student who continues to use an area unfit for the purpose? All it would have taken is a couple of little words -"I say, would you mind awfully - picking those ********g things up and putting them somewhere safe?" Incident avoided. You haven't mentioned to whom the jumps or the cups belong to either - if they are the student's or a third party and there's no bag to put them in etc., etc.,

No question the instructor has made a mistake.
Yes - picking that fri***g student!

No way the rider could have reasonably known in advance.
Oh yes she/he could ( we're still in panto season) - you put up any point you like and I'll knock it down. I've run large building sites - they used to kill and maim a lot of people which had to stop but the Elf&Safety went from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous! I can't abide it.

Worse still, I find it even more depressing that folk like you want to join in the blame game -don't you ever accept responsibility for you own actions?
 
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ruth83

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You make the assumption that the instructor is teaching someone who has a certain level of knowledge. In particular when teaching beginners and novices, they do not understand the risks associated with horses.

Example; rider tries to mount horse without checking the girth as they do not know they need to do this. Saddle slips and rider falls backwards banging their head on the mounting block and needing significant lifelong care due to a brain injury. Instructor, who was probably in the process of checking the tack and missed the confident novice throwing themselves up the mounting block, is found guilty by a persistent lawyer and is liable for the care costs for this person.

Unconscious incompetence (not knowing what you can't do) is the biggest problem for many coaches.

If I sent a novice rider out into an open field to ride when they were incapable of controlling the horse in that situation - would they know that they do not have enough ability to control the horse in that situation? If they simply had a slight concern, but I - as a qualified person they have paid to teach them - have told them to do it, would they question me? Some would, some wouldn't. If they have an accident as a result of this, then whose fault is it? Mine. If I send a more experienced rider out there who has shown me that they have the requisite skills to control the horse, and they have an unexpected accident, then is it still my fault? No. If I have never met them but they tell me that they regularly ride in this field without issue and this is where they choose to ride but they have an accident, is it my fault? No.

If a very young child burns themselves on a hot iron, is it their fault or the parents? If the child has not yet been told (and understands) the risk of the hot iron then someone else has to ensure their safety around it until the child understands enough to make their own decision on the risks.

Yes, the compensation culture is poor. However it is not enough to say that insurance is unnecessary due to common sense.
 

OldFogie

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You make the assumption that the instructor is teaching someone who has a certain level of knowledge.
No Ruth I don't and I don't have to. Kindly notice that I was quoting from a published article that itself quoted the Law Lords ruling that Riding was inherently dangerous - that to me is fine and dandy, good enough - as it should be for anyone. If your notional "beginners" are so niaive as to be devoid of reason they can't understand plain English they should be politely told to ***off.

I fully realise that stupidity exists in the world - I witness it everyday but I do not see why people who do know what they are doing - say, highly educated judges, barristers and for that matter insurance folk put up with the intelectually challenged call all the shots - they should be plainly told - this is dangerous, fun but dangerous, if you wanna do it great but if you wanna complain - s*d off!

In particular when teaching beginners and novices, they do not understand the risks associated with horses.
Though I've been critical elsewhere of one particularly highly regarded centre of equitational excellence - I will say that any of their clients never went anywhere near a horse until they did understand the risks! When I had flying lessons - I had to read a damn great book before I ever went near an aircraft and once inside one I would be regularly shouted at (perhaps as an instructor, you might like to remember this one because it is THE favourite for all Flying Instructors) "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO? KILL US ALL!!!

If a very young child burns themselves on a hot iron, is it their fault or the parents?
I'm glad you brought that one up. When my elder daughter was toddling about, we had an AGA type cooker - her indoors was never endingly fretting over the hot bits - I said not to worry because she'd only touch it once - which was the way I was brought up.

However it is not enough to say that insurance is unnecessary due to common sense.
Ah, but what I'm saying is - the only reason the insurance is needed is because of the LACK of commonsense - those of us with it should tell anyone trying to claim compensation to bog off.
 

ruth83

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A client of mine is a district nurse. She recently said that, having had to assist someone who was significantly and life long injured by a preventable accident, she would thoroughly challenge ANYONE who declared they would never claim against someone who led them into having that accident.

For me, that is enough to feel I would want to be fully insured, and to ensure that anyone I train with is the same.

The centre you mention is, for me, proving my point rather than disproving it. They must educate the people first to understand the risk!

I suspect there is no example in this world that would lead you to even consider that your opinion may be flawed. In some ways that is to be applauded, and you are perfectly entitled to your opinion. At least your daughter would only have been lightly burned by touching the AGA, not killed by being kicked in the head.

Perhaps next time you make a quote, you could kindly consider putting it into quote marks so that it is identifiable as such?
 

OldFogie

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A client of mine is a district nurse. She recently said that, having had to assist someone who was significantly and life long injured by a preventable accident, she would thoroughly challenge ANYONE who declared they would never claim against someone who led them into having that accident.
Oh I agree - this is one of the points I hopefully brought out - folk just look for the best person to sue and deny any fault of their own. All "accidents" are preventable BTW - that's the reason why the police etc., call them "incidents" now though for the complete oposite reason - in modern parlance "accident" implies that god had a good hand in the business but he can't be sued so they've changed the word to make litigation easier!

For me, that is enough to feel I would want to be fully insured,
Well point taken, we none of us can do without it and the very fact that we have it - ensures we will be sued or are at least likely fodder. My proffessional indemnity insurance which is on top of the contractor's all risks arranged on the site itself - will continue on liabilty two decades after I'm dead!!!

I suspect there is no example in this world that would lead you to even consider that your opinion may be flawed.
Quite the contrary - I'm always open to debate. The only positive thing about insurance is that it does provide for an injured person however imperfectly ( usually )- it's just that I deeply object to it being dependant on someone's negligence. Don't forget that in the last few years the H&H pages have brought us several harrowing tales of yard owners finding themselves not covered or insufficiently covered.
 

OldFogie

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Thinking laterally about compensation - instead of arranging proffessional indemnity or public liability insurance where blame has to apportioned - why couldn't there be accident/incident insurance arranged on one's own stupidity - all the contents of my house has accidental damage cover - and to my mind the risks are roughly the same for an insurer.

If my opinions make me seem rather old fashioned - then damn good show - because I am, I was born when we still had an Empire yet later had to learn that all the guys that made it were complete barstewards to all the peoples we enslaved rather than educated and modernised. We gave away our jewel in the crown to placate negative opinion only to have our good friends the Americans nick the rest of our worldly wealth to pay for a war started by the Germans but left them top dogs.

Sometimes I feel as though my chin has taken far too much of a battering.
 

Theocat

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I struggle to understand why you have no doubt about the stupidity and lack of common sense in the person receiving the instruction, but somehow seem to be unable to accept that stupidity and lack of common sense can be present in an instructor.

If stupidity or lack of common sense contribute to an accident, that person has played a part in making it happen- but that can be the instructor as easily as the rider.
 
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I struggle to understand why you have no doubt about the stupidity and lack of common sense in the person receiving the instruction, but somehow seem to be unable to accept that stupidity and lack of common sense can be present in an instructor.

If stupidity or lack of common sense contribute to an accident, that person has played a part in making it happen- but that can be the instructor as easily as the rider.
You have hit the nail on the head.
 

Farma

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As someone mentioned above, unconscious incompetence is a real problem for instructors, I work freelance and often have to cover classes and riding schools with people I have never met, horses I don't know, I have to make a judgement on what exercises and lesson structure is suitable after warming them up.
If I took peoples word for what they were capable of I cant imagine the amount of accidents that might have been caused and that's where the problem lies, the instructor has to make a judgement about what is within the riders capability to keep everyone safe, that's your duty of care to the client, especially children who mostly think they are capable of anything!
 

OldFogie

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I struggle to understand......
That'll be your problem then?

.....why you have no doubt about the stupidity and lack of common sense in the person receiving the instruction, but somehow seem to be unable to accept that stupidity and lack of common sense can be present in an instructor.
Take a look at the title of this thread: Instructor Insurance. There's a clue.

However, facetiousness aside - I of course agree that climbing to the heady heights of Riding Instructor doesn't embue commonsense or intelect but it doesn't matter for the purposes of this thread. My own feelings should be clear - I'll outline them for you again. If you volunteer for the Army - don't whine if they send you to a war! If you get blown up while in the war - you have to realise that those who can't take a joke shouldn't have joined!

Also consider the nitty-gritty of what we are talking of here - riding lessons. And a long way away from anything HRH The Princess Royal experienced most them! Homespun little equine heavens on earth held together with baler twine, fluffy ponies circling in the mud - and what amazing sums are demanded by these Instrutor types eh? I bet they're all millionaires!!!
 

OldFogie

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As someone mentioned above, unconscious incompetence is a real problem for instructors, I work freelance and often have to cover classes and riding schools with people I have never met, horses I don't know, I have to make a judgement on what exercises and lesson structure is suitable after warming them up.
If I took peoples word for what they were capable of I cant imagine the amount of accidents that might have been caused and that's where the problem lies, the instructor has to make a judgement about what is within the riders capability to keep everyone safe, that's your duty of care to the client, especially children who mostly think they are capable of anything!
You do realise that what you outline above is a fine example of Breach of Contract to such an extent that it's probably null and void?

Depending on how you are booked - you go along to the client's premises with the intention of imparting your knowledge and skill. The thing is - how did the client hear about you and get the idea you could help them? If you ring folk up and offer your service - that's one thing but if the boot's on the other foot - it's quite another. You may well find it necessary to accept folk leading you on by overstating their talents but if you are offering a level of tutoring that the student is incapable of even appreciating - it's hardly your fault is it? In a pure contractual sense of anything I've been involved in - there's no contest - you could sue them! And what's more important - you'd win. I find the whole idea that you have to deal with incompetant or ignorant people who you fear would sue you for professional misconduct bad enough - but totally up the wall if you are agreeing with it!
 

OldFogie

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Ironically, I know quite a bit about insurance and it's history (oh booooriing!) It should interest the majority on here as I reckon blokes are few and far between. If you modern girls think you have a hard time - thank your lucky stars you're living now! You can own your own property, make your own money and you are your own person.
All of you probably realise the pressure old time girls were under to marry - and become their husband's chatel - but even ones that were well-off by marriage could fall on real hardship if their bloke died penniless.
So called Friendly Societies were started to look after widows, a group of well meaning people who would take money in on the "ASSURANCE" they'd pay it out if the payee died - the beginning of Life Assurance. Thing is, back then no one had any idea of how likely it was that any individual would peg out so this made them very cautious as to whom they let join in. A guy appeared but was refused because he was 40 - yep, 40, it was one foot in the grave back then! Luckily, he was a maths master and after getting the hump with his society, thought he'd try and prove something to them. He visited all the cemetaries and graveyards writing down the ages of the dead (though this is not "dead reckoning") and produced tables from which he calculated a sliding scale of rates - young folk paid less than the old to receive the same payout. He formed his own Society and it became vastly successful, so successful in fact, that it didn't need all the money it had taken in to payout claims - so he returned a share to each policyholder - where we get the idea of ENDOWMENT.

So if you've ever wondered - you ASSure against an inevitablity (some day we're ALL gonna die!) but INsure against a probability - you hope it won't but your house could catch fire - and you could get sued by stupid people you're trying to teach to ride!
 

Leo Walker

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Negligence implies a fault. Not usually a fault in picking clients either. I've been sued once. It wasnt successful as I wasn't negligent and it was a genuine accident. Had I been negligent then the insurance would have paid out to stop my employer losing his business. I do know other instructors who have done negligent things and the insurance has paid out on their behalf.

Equally if you work for yourself insurance is a choice. You can choose not to have it an assume your own risk, potentially losing clients along the way, or you can do the responsible thing and have insurance and sleep soundly at night.
 

OldFogie

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Are you an instructor and if so have you worked freelance or in riding schools at all?
I am not a riding instructor and have only ever been in a riding school as a fee paying client. However, I have been in the building industry most of my life which you might realise is one of the most contentious areas for insurance and compensation claims - directors of companies have found themselves being sued by people that have injured themselves while being on site illegally and other such nonsense. I am insured and have always been insured. This thread is really a lament at it all being necessary!
 

OldFogie

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Negligence implies a fault........... I do know other instructors who have done negligent things ....
It's just the crazy level of nitpicking that goes on that gets me Leo! One of the folk above details the nonchalant placement of jump cups as a potential cause - MEIN GOTT!! And people really believe this stuff!
I was having a pleasant conversation with a guy on site once but had to interupt him to ask "excuse me, Old Chap -what's underneath the thing you're standing on?" "Ah I don't know sir" said he. THEN WHAT THE HELL ARE DOING STANDING ON IT?
Half my time used to be spent stopping people injuring themselves from their own stupidity - and the Law the way it's become, expects me to be practically all seeing and ultimately liable.

Equally if you work for yourself insurance is a choice......
 

Batgirl

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Have to say I feel there is a big difference between private client relationship and an instructor at a riding school due to the levels of competence. I am struggling to think of an 'accident' that could be my instructors fault in the context of me picking an instructor and asking for their teaching with the only exception of 'health and safety' mishap such as equipment lying around. In a riding school I could see more easily a group lesson going awry with poor instruction and over estimation of ability.
 
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Thoughts on this? Novice rider in a riding school, in a group wtc lesson. Rider and instructor check girth at start of lesson, seems fine. 15 mins into lesson, rider feels something isn't quite right, asks instructor if they can stop and check girth. Instructor says no. First canter, novice overweights the outside stirrup, rider slips off to the outside and horse canters to the back of the ride with the saddle completely underneath the horse. I feel the instructor was negligent, yes I should have spoken up and insisted the girth be checked but I was a quiet child and the instructor obviously didn't think it was a big deal so why should I have? It happened absolutely years ago but has stuck with me, I wasn't hurt badly or anything but I certainly hope the instructor learnt from it. People sue more nowadays, insurance seems a highly sensible decision to make.
 

SEL

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I have been asked to sign a disclaimer when I took over the training of a young horse with known problems. When I told the YO I had no intention of suing him if it went wrong he quite rightly pointed out that if I ended up in hospital with brain damage or a broken back then he had no guarantee that my husband wouldn't come after him for compensation for life changing injuries. Having worked in the insurance industry myself I knew the disclaimer had absolutely no legal standing whatsoever, but I 100% got where he was coming from.

Similar to Otherwise's post above I still remember finishing a jumping lesson at a riding school and a lady standing at the gate telling me my girth looked a little loose. The yard manager had tacked up that pony and had attached the girth to the 2 back straps on the saddle - which at some point in my lesson had torn loose (we all know to attach to front and back straps don't we?!). How on earth the saddle stayed in place I'll never know, but I actually think that was negligent. Back in those days we wouldn't have sued because it just wasn't something that people did - but times change.
 
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