As a member of the Sivewright family, Sarah had a privileged upbringing at their Talland School of Equitation in Gloucestershire, where she competed through Pony Club and affiliated competitions to represent Great Britain as a member of the British dressage team for the European Championships in 1974. Having gained British Horse Society qualifications, Sarah trained students at Talland as well as working with competitors and riders at home and abroad and she spent time learning about the running of a private yard with the Martin-Bird family in Sussex.
Marriage to William moved Sarah to Angus where, until a riding road accident in 1991, she operated a popular training yard for children and adult competitors. Work moved the Houstouns to Cumbria in 2002 where Sarah’s focus became the threats to riding schools and other equine businesses from crippling insurance payments and a lack of understanding of risks and hazard reduction. She launched her SARA4H business in 2005 while continuing to train riders and carriage drivers for international competition.
I understand first hand what’s involved in running and insuring an equine business that is safe and fun for everyone.
- International Coach and Registered British Horse Society Instructor (BHSI regd.)
- Judge for British Carriage Driving
- Cardiff University Expert Witness (CUEW)
- Chartered Management Institute: Diploma in Business Management
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: Health & Safety
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: Risk Assessment
- C+E (Artic) Licence and Animal Movement Certificate
- Previously a Pony Club Visiting Instructor for 40 yrs
SARA4H evolved from Sarah Houstoun’s experience of a threatened equine industry, her enthusiasm for horses and riding and her 2002 business management diploma studies.
Passionate about the horse industry, Sarah focused her research (supported by LANTRA) on learning what she could do to find a solution to the escalating problems, litigation and threat of closure facing riding schools.
With help from her network of legal, insurance, environmental health, safety, emergency services and equestrian experts, Sarah developed a pre-accident initiative, which was launched in 2005 with the support of the Country Land and Business Association. The initiative, SARA4H or Safety And Risk Assessment For Horses, is a straightforward and practical system that enables business operators to identify, control and reduce the risks for everyone on their premises.
Will happily recommend Safety and Risk Assessment for Horses.Jane Holderness-Roddam
West Kingston Stud
SARA4H was tried and tested through a pilot project with Cumbria Tourism in 2005 and has since been used by riding schools, livery yards, studs, polo clubs, training yards, facility-centres, show grounds, holiday centres and animal sanctuaries up and down the country.
Preparation, information and handouts are excellent.Sandra Morrison BHSI
The Old Stableyard Livery
Growing out of her early work with riding schools and other equine businesses, Sarah set up an online shop, Rural Safety Signs, in 2006. This one-stop shop provides specialist signage and safety equipment for rural businesses. Signs are made to order and customers can be sure of detailed Fire Procedure, Emergency Contact Details, Rules for Riding in an Arena and many other notices that have been specifically designed to meet the needs of those working with horses. There is a specialist Fire & Emergency Information Box, which was developed in consultation with Jim Green of Hampshire Fire & Rescue Services. SARA4H has also been involved in designing signs for Riding and Road Safety training and tests.
For further information please visit our sister site, Rural Safety Signs
Sarah is available to share her accumulated expertise and experience, delivering key note presentations to policy makers, enabling the owners of equine businesses to survive and thrive. Working with her clients on more detailed expert reports, Sarah is able to help tackle some of the external issues facing equine businesses and their premises.