Family in bale warning plea

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The family of a woman who died when a stack of hay bales collapsed on her have called for more to be done to raise awareness of the potential dangers of hay stacks.

Charlotte Conroy-Taylor, 45, died after she was struck by a bale of hay from an unsafely constructed stack whilst she was mucking out her daughter’s horse at the Beaumont Grange Stables in Lancaster,

Mrs Conroy-Taylor’s 13-year-old daughter found her unconscious with two hay bales, said to weight a ton each, close to her body.

An inquest into her death has recorded a narrative verdict, finding that the way the hay bales were constructed contributed to her death.

Coroner Dr James Adeley said he would write to The British Horse Society and The Pony Club to issue a warning about the dangers of badly constructed hay stacks and highlight the guidance that is available.

Following what they have called a ‘tragic accident’, Mrs Conroy-Taylor’s family have stated that they believe that access to hay bales in equestrian centres needs to be regulated far more closely.

The family’s solicitor, Jonathan Bridge of Farleys Solicitors, said: “This inquest has clearly demonstrated that there is a serious lack of awareness about the safe construction of hay bales in the equestrian industry. “We come across cases involving serious accidents on farms and at equitation centres far too frequently and along with her family, I only hope that Mrs Conroy-Taylor’s tragic death can be used to promote safe practices, and thus prevent accidents, in the future.”

A spokesman for The Pony Club said: “As a part of our core training objectives, The Pony Club is happy to make any best practice guidelines produced on bale stacking available to both its Members and linked Centres; Pony Club linked Centres are commercial entities in their own right.”

The British Horse Society was unavailable for comment.