Injuries are going to be an inevitable consequence of horse riding since the rider’s head may be poised up to 4 m (13 feet) from the ground and will be in constant motion as the horse travels at a speed of up to 65 km/h (40 mph) or jump up to 8-10 feet in the air. The horse rider is trying to control an animal that under some circumstances will be trying to control the rider!
Although numerically few, catastrophic injuries to spinal cord from horse riding giving rise to paralysis have attracted considerable attention. The injuries to the spinal column and the injuries to the spinal cord are unremarkable. The first aid, immediate treatment, and long term rehabilitation follow conventional lines.
The most common location of horse-related injuries is the upper extremity (24% to 61%) with injuries to the lower extremity second in frequency (36% to 40%). The head and face sustain 20% of horse-related injuries. The most common type of injury is a soft tissue injury (92% to 1%), followed by a fracture (57% to 3%). Concussion is the third most common type of injury (63% to 2%). The most frequent cause of hospitalisation is concussion (38% to 4%) with fracture second. The most common injury which leaves residual impairment is injury to the central nervous system.
The approach to horse riding has been that everything is ok for the amateur until something goes wrong. At Therapyroom1 we recognise this but also place unique and specific pre and post injury rehab exercises in place.
Bixby-Hammett D, Brooks WH. 1990. Common injuries in horseback riding. A review. Sports Med. 1990 Jan;9(1):36-47.
Silver. J.R., 2002 Spinal injuries resulting from horse riding accidents. Spinal Cord (2002) 40, 264-271 doi:10.1038/sj.sc.3101280