Recently BHS Scotland ran a number of Safety events, again reminding us that a few common sense measurements may make all the difference when it matter most. So, this might be a good time to remind members to stay safe when out riding.  Go for it – it’s isi! 
Identification of rider and horse Here are some very basics things you can do to protect yourself and your horse:
  • carry ID on yourself
  • carry contract details on your horse (dog tag or luggage/key fob attached to the saddle)
  • display emergency contract details on your trailer or lorry
  • carry insurance details in your vehicle

Also check your hat for wear and tear and remember: the best make of hat is the one that fits your head properly.
Driving and Transporting 

Make sure that your vehicle is fit to pull the trailer, and remember to service your trailer (includes checking the floorboards) once a year. 
Do you know what to do in the event of a breakdown? You may want to consider joining one of these.
Horse Accidents 
Too horrible to contemplate? Maybe! But at least check out your own area, and encourage your fellow riders to report accidents to this website: www.horseaccidents.org.uk 
Any data collected here to help bring changes in the law in areas such as the Highway Code.  Common types of accidents are caused by:
  • traffic 
  • dog attacks
  • low flying aircraft/helicopters 
Cross drains!!!! 
Cross-drains are a commonly used versatile drainage feature used to shed water off a path or track. They are used in many environments including forestry, open hill and in and around buildings and animal handling facilities. The majority of cross drains are readily visible and pose no problem for horses. 
But – recently three accidents happened locally involving metal-lipped cross drains that trapped hooves and legs. These resulted in two degloving injuries from which equines recovered after long periods of recuperation, and one broken leg which resulted in a horse being euthanised. 
The BHS is very keen that riders record any incidents involving cross drains onwww.horseaccidents.org.uk and especially report the type of cross drain, and circumstances of where the incident occurred. However, it is very important to emphasise that under the law, it is always the riders’ responsibility to negotiate any obstacle – obvious or not - with care. 

For a full presentation on the issues above plus more visit:http://www.bhsscotland.org.uk/safety.html

Loftur and Gerpla, parents of Vordis, below
Facebook? WorldFengur? Hmm, I quite like FB, but nothing beats WF when it comes to tracing connections! Below you find the story of Alison, her faithful Ómi, and that very elegant homebred mare Vordis. Of course, I had to look this up - and lo and behold, Vordis' father, Loftur, is a very special horse in our family. There was me looking for my first Icelandic horse in the winter of 2003. We did as we were told, and went here and there to try out as many different horses as we could manage. I say ´we´... the horse was supposed to be for me, but Jeremy, who had only just started to ride (5 lessons), came along wherever this search took me. One of the places for Pentland Hills, and Jill kindly invited us for a ride in the hills. There was me, concentrating on a possible mount, and Jeremy - on Loftur. The Pentlands are wild and steep, and very soon you are on top of the world. Up, up, up we rode, faster and faster - and finally a quick canter to the very roof of the world. When we arrived, breathless and exhilarated, Jill turned round to Jeremy, asking, if he had ever done any canter? There was only one answer: of course, now he has! 
Needless to say, Jeremy got his own "first" Icelandic not so very long after that! (GMS) 

Ómi and Vordis enjoying the winter sun
Just over 20 years ago, Alison bought Ómi, a 3 year old gelding from Pentland Hills, unaware  that  this would be the beginning of a life-long relationship – and, not without its drama. Ómi turned out to be a competent and reliable riding horse, and he was also quite good at driving. But after 6 years Alison decided to start breeding, and  - yes, you can have too many horses… So Ómi found a new home, and soon afterwards Alison had a beautiful filly playing in her paddock. Vordis is still around, and so is Ómi! When he was 16, circumstances conspired that he ended up back with Alison, where he has been ever since. He's now 23 and still the same as ever. They ride out as much as time allows. Alison used to think that she wanted something a bit more challenging than, him but in the past few years the traffic has often made her really appreciate his calm manner and reliability, which is second to none!

It has been agreed that every km towards Berlin will count. That includes not only ridden but also driven distances. And what could be better than driving towards an unknown destination in the company of faithful Ómi. (AF/GMS)