The Medical Equestrian Association was founded in 1985.
On 10th August 1985 a notice appeared in the Medical News section of the BMJ stating ‘A group of doctors have formed the Medical Equestrian Association to improve the standards of administration and emergency treatment at equestrian events. The Association is to set up a study of equestrian accidents and plans to cooperate with existing organisations to reduce risks and increase safety for all horse riders…’.
The first formal meeting took place at the Chiltern Hospital, Great Missenden on the 5th of October 1985 .
HRH The Princess Royal has been the president of the MEA since 1988. The association has been registered as a charitable organisation since 1989.
The Medical Equestrian Association (UK) (1985-2007)
On the 12th November 1984 a British Horse Society seminar on “Human Head and Back Injuries in Equestrian Accidents” was held in London at the Royal Society of Medicine. The medical profession was represented by Dr Michael Allen (CMA The Jockey Club), Dr Robert Beazer (Heythrop), Mr John Firth (Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham), Mr John Griffiths (Heythrop), Dr John Lloyd Parry, Mr Roy Sanders (Heythrop), and Dr John Silver (Stoke Mandeville).
Dr Beazer, a General Practitioner from the Wychwoods, Oxfordshire, spoke from the floor about the need to collect information on these injuries and for an organisation to interpret the findings. In response, Mr Firth suggested that the interested doctors present might convene after the end of the seminar to consider this initiative and subsequently Dr Allen suggested that he might be able to further this cause through The Institute of Sports Medicine. However, Dr Beazer undertook the task of writing to the Horse and Hound on 27th November 1984 and a notice also appeared in the British Medical Journal in the Medical News section on 19th January 1985 requesting that all interested doctors write to him at the Wychwood Surgery, Milton under Wychwood.
In May 1985 a group of doctors met at the Chiltern AMI Hospital, Great Missenden Buckinghamshire and a steering committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr Sanders and Dr Beazer (1939-1996) acting as Hon. Secretary.
On 10th August 1985 a further notice appeared in the Medical News section of the BMJ stating “A group of doctors have formed the Medical Equestrian Association to improve the standards of administration and emergency treatment at equestrian events. The Association is to set up a study of equestrian accidents and plans to cooperate with existing organisations to reduce risks and increase safety for all horse riders. Further details to be obtained from Dr J L Parry, Hawthornden, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire”.
The first formal meeting took place at the Chiltern Hospital, Great Missenden on the 5th of October 1985 with Mr Ernest Macmillan, Chairman of the Pony Club, and Mr Michael Overton MRCVS the principal speakers.
Since that October meeting the Association has held Spring And Autumn meetings in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland at various locations that have included Great Missenden, Warwick, St Bartholomew’s Hospital London, Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, Honourable Artillery Company London, Rookwood Hospital Llandaff Cardiff, Royal College of Surgeons London, York, Millbank London, Cambridge, Cheltenham, Reading, Peterborough, Harrogate, Wexham Park Hospital Slough, Mansfield, Bath, Badminton, Stamford (Burghley), Kenilworth, Warrington, Windsor, Dublin, Penrith, Leicester, Northwick Park Hospital Harrow, Queens Medical Centre Nottingham, Weston Park and Adare, County Limerick. It is encouraging to note that in 1988 a sister MEA was formed in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, followed by the United States (AMEA) and Australia (Health Organisation Responsible for Safety in Equitation).
In the early years the constitution was adopted on November 26th 1988 and charitable status registered on 29th August 1989.
There have been combined meetings with the British Horse Society in Safety symposia and on five occasions we have been exceptionally privileged to receive visits from HRH The Princess Royal GCVO at the meetings in Rookwood Hospital Cardiff (combined with Riding for the Disabled), Badminton Horse Trials, Cheltenham, Windsor and Bath. She had graciously agreed to become our President on the 1st August 1988.
During the last 23 years the Association has been under the chairmanship of Professor Roy Sanders, John Lloyd Parry, Alan Moulton, Os Macnamara, James Zaman, Phillida Barnett, Peter Whitehead, James Allenby, Tony Dux (resigned), Pamela Jarvis, Ian Mackay, and Stephen Chadwick. The long serving officers have included John Inman, Peter Whitehead and David Carter prior to Jo Trelawny as Hon. Secretary and Bob Marshall (1922-1998) Neville Sutton, Brenda Gilligan as Hon. Treasurers. They have been assisted by Council which has met on two or three occasions during each of these years.