Questions raised over horse riding death - ABC 730 report

Discussion in 'News Items' started by oldtenth, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. oldtenth

    oldtenth Well-known Member

    How sad and tragic, a young girl lost her life.


    The death of a young woman during a TAFE riding course raises questions about whether the horse industry needs to be regulated.

    7.30 - ABC

    LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: If I asked you which animal kills the most Australians each year, what would you say? Maybe snakes, crocodiles, sharks? The answer's actually horses.

    Tonight we bring you the story of one young woman killed two years ago after she came out of the saddle during a TAFE riding course. The horse industry's unregulated, except for racing, and the teenager's death raises questions about whether that should change. Sarah Dingle reports.

    SARAH DINGLE, REPORTER: For 18-year-old Sarah Waugh, this was the life she'd dreamt of. She was training as a jillaroo in western NSW, a stepping stone to studying rural veterinary science at university.

    But shortly after this video was taken, the unthinkable occurred.

    JULIANA WAUGH, MOTHER: The uniformed and plain clothes policeman came into the classroom and told me the news that changed my life forever, (getting emotional) ... that Sara had died in a horse-riding accident.

    SARAH DINGLE: Two years on, her parents Mark and Juliana Waugh still live with their grief and their memories.

    JULIANA WAUGH: Sarah was an effervescent individual, she embraced people. She loved music and she loved animals. She found life and everything in it fascinating. So she learnt things because she was really interested in them.

    MARK WAUGH, FATHER: She really wanted to have a life on the land.

    SARAH DINGLE: Sarah Waugh had no inkling this horse was anything but a quiet ride. Just days before the jillaroo course began, the horse was here, on the track at the annual Binnaway Races. The horse used by TAFE's beginner riders was in fact a race horse, registered as Snakey Thought.

    JULIANA WAUGH: I have to say that it consumes me because I've lost my daughter, and upon investigation, I realised that things had occurred that had led to Sarah's death that shouldn't have happened.

    SARAH DINGLE: Juliana Waugh had moved to Dubbo from the family home in Newcastle to support her daughter through the eight-week course. She says her daughter was a city girl whose past riding experience included casual riding and childhood horse camps.

    JULIANA WAUGH: I'd packed a lunch for her - one of the things that mums do - and I said, "Have a lovely day and don't forget your sunscreen." And she walked off into the blue sky of Dubbo as happy as happy.

    SARAH DINGLE: This video was shot just minutes before the tragic accident. Sarah Waugh is riding Dargo, laughing at the antics of another horse. A WorkCover report details what happened next.

    The accident took place here at TAFE's Dubbo campus. Sarah Waugh was trotting just ahead of the group. She was asked twice to bring her horse back into line, but said, "I can't." The instructor told her to take the reins and pull 'em up, but she was unable. The horse then began to gather speed.

    This police video recreates the accident. As Dargo raced down this laneway towards the yards, Sarah Waugh fell 1.5 metres, suffering severe internal and head injuries.

    TONI JENKINS: It was about an hour after we all stood there watching and one of the teachers come up, he said, "Well, we're really sorry, but she's just not coming back." Half of us broke down in tears.

    SARAH DINGLE: The jillaroo instructor, Sara Falkiner, told police she only let the competent students ride outside the arena.

    SARA FALKINER, JILLAROO INSTRUCTOR: There's no good, logical reason why she didn't just do what I was telling her to and pull the horse up. He would have stopped, but she didn't, you know - she didn't pull on the reins.

    SARAH DINGLE: According to Sara Falkiner, the rules were do as she said, or dismount.

    POLICE OFFICER: What about students taking photos on horseback, are they allowed to do that?

    SARA FALKINER: They're not allowed to do that, but I believe there was some of that happening, yes.

    SARAH DINGLE: In fact it was happening just minutes before Dargo bolted.

    ? (Home video): That's not a photo, it's a video ...

    BOB CAMERON, NATIONAL COACHING ACCREDITATION SCHEME: It was an accident waiting to happen in that there was no risk analysis done, obviously no risk analysis done on how the scheme would work.

    SARAH DINGLE: Veteran riding coach Bob Cameron has spent about 80 years on or around horses, including thoroughbreds.

    BOB CAMERON: Once anything happens out of the ordinary they go back to their instincts, they either bolt, bite, buckle or kick or rear, as quick as that. I couldn't believe they had contractors take strange horses to a strange area for beginner riders.

    SARAH DINGLE: A WorkCover report says TAFE NSW leased the horses, bringing them in two days a week. The owner didn't stay with them and the instructor didn't have a long-term knowledge of them.

    As a former chairman of the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme, Bob Cameron says ex-race horses are particularly dangerous.

    BOB CAMERON: That horse can get out of the barrier quicker, wins the race. If you get out last, well you don't catch 'em up. And of course they have jiggers and things, electric things they put on the (inaudible) to make 'em jump and all those things. So he would have been teed up if he'd been racing, I've no doubt about that.

    TONI JENKINS: You wouldn't think on a TAFE course like that something could happen.

    SARAH DINGLE: TAFE student Toni Jenkins had become firm friends with Sarah Waugh. She says Sarah was convinced she had a strong connection with Dargo, even though early in the course he'd already thrown another female student.

    TONI JENKINS: She come off him once. He sort of played up a little bit. Other than that there was nothing wrong with him. Every now and again he'd sorta play up and Sarah'd stand there and talk to him and never have a problem with him after that.

    SARAH DINGLE: TAFE NSW told 7.30 it had complied fully with WorkCover and the police and declined to comment ahead of a pending coronial inquiry.

    PAUL MCGREEVY, VET SCIENCE, SYDNEY UNI: Outside the racing industry, there are no regulations on the horse industry.

    SARAH DINGLE: Professor Paul McGreevy is a horse management expert and an advisor to the RSPCA.

    PAUL MCGREEVY: There's no register of horses in Australia, there's no register of their history, so it's very difficult to keep track of horses, either good or bad.

    SARAH DINGLE: It's not clear what happened to Dargo after the accident. Its owner claims it was sold to the Sydney Equestrian Centre or swapped with another horse there. The equestrian centre denies receiving it. Its current whereabouts are unknown, but its new owner may have no idea of Dargo's past.

    PAUL MCGREEVY: Horses definitely disappear. I'm aware of other incidents where horses have put people into vegetative states and have then disappeared.

    MARK WAUGH: Our prime concern is about safety.

    SARAH DINGLE: Sarah Waugh's parents are hoping an inquest later this year will recommend major changes to the riding education industry.

    JULIANA WAUGH: No-one could ever make horse-riding completely safe, we understand that, but there are lots of things you can do to lessen the risks. ... Children are going and doing this course. There's 12 students every term, so approximately 48 students are being put in a dangerous situation.

    MARK WAUGH: What really bothers us is the thought of waking up the next morning to find that another incident has happened.

    LEIGH SALES: Sarah Dingle reporting.
  2. oldtenth

    oldtenth Well-known Member

  3. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Is this picture of Sarah on Dargo?

    A very sad accident, and I feel for her family.
  4. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    This is very sad. :(

    The girl clearly was not experienced enough to stop the horse, and clearly the TAFE made the wrong call (letting a green rider out in the open).

    Reiterates the importance of a one rein stop. They should be teaching this instead of pull on the reins. Horse can't exactly run anywhere if it's nose is on your boot.

    Tragic accident, I don't think anyone was negligent though. Just a sad reminder to teach all riders a vital stopping tool. Any horse can bolt - jeez even my quiet and safe as houses stock horse tried to take off over the weekend - quick reaction stopped it from happening.

    And as for being unregulated ';':} I beg to differ.
  5. Jessie_13

    Jessie_13 Well-known Member

    This horse was 2 days off the race track....There is no way it should have been used to teach beginner riders!!! The horse was completely uneducated and would have had no idea what she was asking of him and to "pull on the reins" would have been the worst thing...The poor girl! How wrong of the tafe to put her in a situation like that!! and then to say "she should have done as she was told"!!

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