Believe it or not! Horseback riding carries a higher injury rate than motorcycle riding. On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding. By contrast, an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours.
Locations and types of injury
Injuries commonly occur in the upper extremities, the wrist, elbow, and shoulder are easy targets for being pinned caught, or flung around causing an injury. Lower extremity injuries, involving the knee, ankle, and foot, are more frequent in rodeos and less common in other equestrian activities according to the data collected. Maybe some riders don’t present with lower leg injuries and just self care.
Although most accidents occur while riding a horse, some take place in the stable while handling, grooming, or feeding the horse. The stable is a dangerous area for repetitive type injuries. The lower back is susceptible to strains and trauma from lifting. The horse is in close proximity and always at risk of kicking biting or fleeing another horse.
People can be kicked, crushed, or pushed over at any time. Serious injuries, such as an injury to the spinal region, can leave permanent impairment, possibly resulting in paralysis.
A herniated disc is the most common injury. Others may cause long-term side
effects, such as seizures from a head injury. Even a simple mild injury can result in permanent loss of range and or strength on various body parts. The most frequent types of injuries are bruises, strains, and sprains, which affect the soft tissues (skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles).
Other types of injuries include fractures (broken bones), dislocations, and concussions. The seriousness of the injury will determine the time away from the horse and from work. Many injuries can be healed with rest, however, may require surgery and a lengthy rehab period. Deaths resulting from horseback riding injuries are not very common. Most deaths are a result of a traumatic injury to the head.
Approved safety standard hardshell helmets should be worn at all times when you are mounted on the horse. The helmet must always be securely fastened and should be replaced after any significant impact. Many riding and pony clubs have very strict rules regarding the use of helmets. However, many trail riding and pleasure riding clubs choose not to wear a helmet leaving them vulnerable to severe injury.
Numerous injuries are related to being caught in the stirrup and dragged by the horse. A properly matched boot-stirrup combination is very important. The size of the boot must be 2cm smaller than the stirrup width. Release catches are available on some saddles to prevent dragging if your foot is caught in the stirrup.
Correct positioning of the foot in the stirrup is also important. This is taught at all registered riding and pony clubs. Riders should wear properly fitted boots and nonskid gloves. Do not wear loose-fitting or baggy clothing. All riding equipment should be maintained and inspected thoroughly before venturing out.
Body-protecting gear can be used to prevent soft tissue injuries and rib fractures; however, it does not protect the spine from injury and does not protect against a massive crushing blow to the chest. Some horses are safer than others, but no horse is 100% safe.
The medical community has a responsibility to educate the horse riding public and to participate in investigations requested by the horse organizations. If you want to improve your Rider skill, balance confidence, and ride better and safer then have a look at my program
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