Making it Legal
If you have not done something before and you do not know what the rules and regulations are, it may not much matter if its not going to be noticed, but it is likely to matter when you want things noticed by a seriously large number of people over a period of years - which I do! So:
For some things I am having to find out, learn and make sure I comply!
I have to make sure everything is very clear between
Support offered to help me make the ride, and
Donations to the charities, the purpose of the ride.
Support for the Ride: Why I need it?
It will take me:
At least six months to do the ride
180+ days of B&B, stabling, feed for him and food for me
More sets of shoes than you need in normal life
Any number of small purchases
A year from when I buy him until we set off with:
For starters, the cost of him and all his tack
Around six weeks of B&B, stabling, feed and food on training rides
The cost of his livery, insurance, shoes, vaccinations and the normal wear and tear of horse kit etc
Finding the right phone, gps, helmet cam etc, and getting them all working well
Eighteen months to two years before the ride starts:
Setting up a website
Registering a company; finding an accountant etc; and complying with HMRC and the rest.
Creating publicity material
Planning the route, which will need more than 120 Ordnance Survey Explorer maps at 1:25,000 scale.
Finding our accommodation and stabling
Finding supporters, recording support in kind, and banking any money.
Finding donors and getting donations to the charities.
Some of that is the normal cost of keeping a horse, but a very big chunk is “extra” and I am looking for support, in cash and in kind. I needed to find out whose money that would be and how to account for it? So I got professional advice in 2010 which was to set up a company limited by guarantee. That is now registered and has to comply with the rules from Companies House and from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Data Protection Registrar and I am sure there will be others! “A Ride Round England Ltd”, company number 7272049, has a bank account, an accountant and access to legal advice.
Fundraising for the Charities
Most donation will be through the website via Bmycharity and setting that up is straightforward when you know how but I have had to find out. Meanwhile the donations are split between the two charities, Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre – riding for disabled, and the Family Holiday Association which could complicate any Gift Aid processes, but fortunately the FHA are looking after that.
People may offer me donations on the street as I go, but I will not be asking for them or soliciting them in any way. There is a licence system for street collections with permission granted by local councils – how many would I need and how many applications would it take? I cant do that many! I will have a card with the website address so people I meet and who ask can easily be directed to where they can get more information, and take action if they want.
This is chiefly a concern for images on the website, but I need to take care and get permission if I am quoting from any publication, including material published on the web. Ordnance Survey material is copyright so photocopying maps has issues. Luckily the OS has recently launched its getamap subscription service which for modest cost looks as if it might cover a lot of my needs. A mapping alternative is Bing Maps and their potential is also being investigated. There is also copyright on music and I need to check rights there too. This all takes time and getting permission for use, and possibly paying something, is an extra time taker and hassle, but if I had done the work to create the image or write the article or song I would want the recognition or the income so I do understand the need!
And some things I already know something about:
Where can you ride a horse?
That is simple, put simply: On the highway, which includes roads, byways and bridleways but, for horses, excludes footpaths and the pavement, unless you have the landowner’s permission. On roads horses and riders are simply traffic, like cars and lorries. The chief difference might be regarded as the fact that while the horse and rider is there as of right, the car is there by licence, and while most horse riders know what signals a car will use and where it will be positioned for turning etc, very, very few drivers will have the same knowledge about the Highway Code provisions in respect of horses: So, We Will Be Careful!
Other places you may not ride a horse include: motorways, some bridges, for example the Humber Bridge, most canal towpaths - built for horses! - some cyclepaths, for reasons which seem to be based on ignorance, and possibly prejudice, as cyclists can use bridleways and there are hundreds of miles of multiuser trail where riders, cyclists, walkers and wheelchairs coexist successfully, and there is government funded independent research to show that.
And, just to keep one guessing, the Highway Code says “you should not take a horse onto a cycletrack. Use a bridleway where possible”. It does not say must not which states a legal requirement and if you disobeyed it you would committing a criminal offence. Should not means if something happens then the book may be thrown at you. Then the Highway Code says “Use a bridleway where possible” which seems to imply there may be a bridleway going where you want, and somewhere near the cycletrack you shouldn’t use. I think the phrase "Fat Chance" comes to mind.
Cathedrals mostly stand in their own land
So the last ten to a hundred yards of the approach needs permission. I am writing to the Dean at each cathedral asking for that permission.
Safe and Seen: The Highway Code
The Highway Code, and my strong instinct for self-preservation, come together on this one! I will be wearing a helmet with the chinstrap done up. I and the horse will have plenty of hi-vis (fluorescent and reflective). On my retirement from the Farncombe Estate Centre colleagues have given me a set of the "POLITE" range of hi-viz stuff made by Equisafety Ltd and Equisafety have said they will give me more when I need it. At any time it is dark or murky I will have the “should be" fitted with a band with lights on my right arm, leg or riding boot (white to the front and red to the rear); plus some more lights like any serious commuting cyclist. and I will ensure all tack fits and is in good condition.
My British Horse Society Gold Membership gives me public liability cover to £10,000,000 and I would not own or ride a horse without it.
Yes, all horses are required, under EU regulations, to have one. It is, I understand, primarily for recording veterinary treatment to ensure that inappropriate drugs do not get into the food chain - for humans or animals. If a horse is away from home the passport needs to be with you and the horse. I will be carrying it, and he will be uptodate with all his vaccinations.
And as I find anything else that by law requires compliance, I will share it with you.
Add: link to Equisafety and OS getamap