Over the stable door: Health and safety is stifling traditional events

Jo Foster and family are involved in today's Pendle point to point fixture. Picture by Tony Johnson.Jo Foster and family are involved in today's Pendle point to point fixture. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Jo Foster and family are involved in today's Pendle point to point fixture. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Whoever said the most stressful thing in life was going through a divorce had obviously never tried to convert a relatively unstable barn into a live-able and saleable dwelling place without breaking the bank or upsetting the planners; being in a green belt area just adds to the tension.

The builders have only just started work on dismantling the old mistel and we have already run into serious issues. Training horses is the least stressful thing I have to deal with at the moment.

After last week’s fall on the gallops my head is still recovering. When I shake it I can feel my brain rattling around uncomfortably. I went for the results of a previous brain scan on the same day I had the fall. Happily the news was positive. I have a brain (a start) with no sign of a scar or shrinkage. I was pretty relieved. My neck, however, resembled a scattered jigsaw, but I half expected that to be the case.

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Today the family are heading to the Pendle point to point, our local meeting at Skipton. It’s the first time for many years I haven’t been heavily involved and it feels strange not to be rushing around madly worrying about marquees, generators, runners, the weather and, after last year’s fiasco, ambulances arriving.

The one beneficial thing to come from the NHS ambulance not turning up when booked was the money it has since saved. Little did we realise we were paying double for our medical supervision than most other local private ambulance firms charge. It would be useful if there was a Yorkshire countryside community website specifically for event organisers to allow secretaries to compare prices for insurance, medical supervision, marquee hire, et cetera when putting their country events on. We are slowly losing these traditional days out due to ridiculous health and safety rules so saving money in any way will benefit everyone.

The Foster family are still helping out today. Father is a paddock steward, Mum is selling the homemade refreshments whilst my 10-year-old son Felix is running his charity tombola stand with the help of school chums. We have one runner who will probably contest the hunt race so I’m looking forward to an enjoyable day helping them out for a change.

Action begins with the first of two Candlelighters Charity Races at 1.15pm - an entertaining spectacle which last year raised almost £20,000 for the charity. The feature race is the Tom Bannister Mixed Open which looks set to be a competitive affair. Entry is £10 per person and all children are free. The races can be found at Heslaker Farm, Skipton, BD23 3AB. Gates open at 11am.

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