Joan Alexander 0

Royal Highland Show Parade 2008

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We, the undersigned, wish to protest at the lack of responsibility taken by RHASS for the Heavy Horse Section of the Grand Parade this year. On Friday 20th June, there were no marshals to create order amongst the Highland and Shetland Ponies which were to parade. There were no safety stewards at the Pony Lines to ensure the safety of members of the public, many of whom have no horse knowledge and who were pushing babies in buggies or leading young children right up to and past stallions and youngstock. This was an accident waiting to happen. We quote from the Society's own mission statement regarding Health and Safety at the Royal Highland Show: "It is the policy of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland to put in place systems and procedures to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable that the operations under its control are safe and without risk to the health and safety of any person who may be affected by its activities. Access and egress to the areas of the showground will be controlled to ensure the safe movement of animals and persons. All members of the public are requested to follow the instructions of the safety stewards, in particular regarding the movement of livestock to and or from the showing rings." We feel that the Society has fallen far short of its mission statement in this regard. Members of the public are not currently aware that the stabling area for Highland and Shetland Ponies is part of the Heavy Horse Area. They readily vacate the shed where the Clydesdale Horses are stabled when asked to do so; however, they flock from thence to the Pony Lines. In our opinion, action is required to ensure that the entire Heavy Horse Area is barricaded off to prevent access thereto at the time of preparation and dispersal of the Parade; and not only the area currently isolated for the movement of the Clydesdales from the Horse Hall to the walkway and thence to the parade Ring. Additional signs and barriers, showing where the Heavy Horse Area is should be provided; and stewards and marshals should be appointed and in place in the Heavy Horse Area for all the Heavy Horse Breeds prior to and at the dispersal of the Parade. This, in fact, would be similar to the restrictions at present in place to exclude members of the public from the Cattle Hall prior to and throughout the duration of the Cattle Parade. The other aspect of the lack of care of the Society is that the promotion of the winning ponies in Friday's Parade was a shambles. The Highland Ponies were not in champion and class order and so the commentator could not identify champions or winners. The Parade, apart from being a spectacle for the public, is also a shop window for the Heavy Horse Breeds and we feel sadly let down. Highland Pony exhibitors would have been willing to steward and marshal the organisation of the Parade had they been given the support of the Society which they have had in the past. The attitude of the Society this year was that if menbers and exhibitors took it upon themselves to perform these services, they would do so on their own account, with no remit, insurance or risk assessment from the Society. Little wonder, then, that few would volunteer to undertake such tasks. A small number of us did volunteer to marshal the ponies into champion and class order for the Parades on Saturday and Sunday, to ensure that we had our shop window for the public. None of us would take responsibility for the safety of the public, since, had there been an accident, we could have been held personally liable. The Royal Highland Show is the premier show in Scotland and all of the undersigned are honoured to exhibit at the show, but we consider that the Society has not fulfilled its obligations to ensure that safety of the public nor to promote the Heavy Horse Breeds. We would therefore urge the Society toi take note of our concerns and to act upon them for the show of 2009.

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