The University of Kentucky’s HealthCare questioned 100 riders about their safety habits and injury history while horseback riding. Of 100 respondents, 60% did not wear any safety apparel the last time they went riding, and 31 had been injured at least once in the last three years either riding or handling a horse. 70% of those that had been injured thought that their injury could have been prevented.
"Many riders who have been injured say that they feel that those injuries were preventable," said Fernanda Camargo, DMV, Ph.D., equine extension professor at the University of Kentucky. "Wearing a helmet and paying attention to what your horse is communicating to you are two of the primary ways you can prevent injuries. The survey conducted by this campaign showed that the majority of people who rode recently didn’t wear any protective gear, like a certified and properly fitted helmet."
In response to the findings, UK HealthCare has launched a campaign called "Saddle Up Safely", in which it is inviting members of the public to share their experiences of safe horse riding for a chance to win a number of prizes, including gift certificates and event tickets. The campaign’s website showcases booklets, produced in conjuction with dozens of participating equine organizations, featuring educational information on horse-transmitted diseases, horse-related injuries and general horse rider safety information.
"One of the aims of this important campaign is reaching out to riders of all ages and abilities to educate them about how to stay safe riding and handling a horse. It can also serve as an important reminder to many of us who have years of experience but might become lax in our everyday behavior," continued Camargo.