Novice 3 52% 9% 74% Intermediate 17 80% 19% 61% Advanced 30 84% 22% 58% Instructor/Professional 34 94% 37% 59% *Serious Injury=medical care, hospitalization, surgery, permanent disability SOURCE: Mayberry et al.
Equestrian Injury Prevention Efforts Need More Attention to Novice Riders, The Journal of Trauma, 2007. 63:734-739 1 Preventing Horse-Related Injuries What can you do to be ready when you or someone you are with is injured while handling or riding a horse? First, be prepared.
Take a basic human first-aid class before you engage in riding so you will know what to do.
Your local fire department and American Red Cross chapters usually provide regular classes.
Know where the nearest emergency medical services (EMS) and first responders are and how to reach them.
If you are in an area without phone coverage, you might not be able to reach EMS immediately, so knowing what to do is important.
Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in your horse trailer, car, barn or stable.
Education is paramount to injury prevention.
Get appropriate instruction when you begin your horse experience.
As you progress, continue to absorb as much knowledge as you can about horse behavior, horsemanship skills and riding safety from those more experienced than you.
A good resource for tips on safety issues is SaddleUpSAFELY.org.
Armed with the number of horse-related injuries seen annually in UK HealthCare’s emergency departments, a unique collaboration between the University of Kentucky and community partners was born. “Saddle Up Safely” is a five-year educational and awareness campaign to educate about horse handling safety that aims to reduce the number and severity of injuries.
This site has an ever-expanding volume of first-hand tips submitted by riders. Could this happen to you? I was leading the horse by the cheek strap of his bridle and he reared, taking me up off the ground, and my hand was trapped in the bridle cheek strap.
I swung under the horse as he leaped forward, jerking my right arm out of its socket.
I fell to the ground and the horse trampled on both of my legs.
Thank goodness I was wearing a helmet, as the horse’s hooves hit my helmet.
If I had taken the time and used proper leading equipment, I might not have been injured.” You should always lead your horse with a halter and a lead rope attached to the ring under the chin.
If you have been riding and need to lead your horse, remove the reins from his neck by bringing them back over his neck and head and lead with two hands as you would with a halter and rope. Cost of Serious Injury The cost of a serious injury goes beyond the actual initial medical costs and includes the cost of missed work, long-term rehabilitation, psychiatric care and counseling.
Cost data from UK HealthCare’s Level I Trauma Center, where the most severely injured patients are treated, shows that the initial medical care without including rehab or psychiatric counseling averages $16,218 if the person requires hospitalization.
If hospitalization is not needed, the cost of treatment is about $2,357 per person. Source: UK Level I Trauma Center Analysis of Patients, 2009-10 2 Basic Tips for Horseback Riders Plan ahead.
Whenever you ride, be prepared for emergencies.
Try not to ride alone, but if you do, be aware of the risks.
Keep your cell phone charged and with you.
If you do go out alone, always let someone know where you will be riding and when you anticipate returning.
When taking an extended trail ride into unfamiliar territory, someone in your group should carry a GPS.
Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, and, depending on anticipated time away, consider taking drinking water, sunscreen, rain gear, a blanket, flashlight, signaling mirror, tack repair kit, halter and 12-foot lead rope.
Pack a basic first-aid kit with you.
Below is a list of items that should be included in the kit: • Disposable latex or synthetic gloves (at least two pairs) • Antiseptic solution or towelettes • Saline solution • Antibiotic ointment • Adhesive dressings • Assorted sizes of gauze pads • Assorted sizes of rolled gauze • 4-inch elasticized athletic wrap • Triangular bandage • Cold pack • Scissors, tweezers and pocket knife • Lighter/matches • First-aid instruction manual • CPR facemask • Drugs to treat allergic reactions: ie Benadryl® or EpiPen® if prescribed by your physician. • Adhesive tape Be sure to check your first-aid supplies periodically and replace open packages or expired items.
Check expiration dates of saline, antiseptic solutions and ointments.
A more extensive first-aid kit should be available in your horse trailer, car, and barn or stable. 3 Extended Trail Riding Check List Keep this checklist with you and review it before riding. 3 Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 3 Always carry some form of communication (cell phone) on your person – not just on your horse – because you might get separated from your horse.
Do not carry a pouch in the small of your back. 3 Carry a basic horse and human first-aid kit. 3 Carry a jacket and/or light raincoat – especially in cold weather. 3 If riding in a wooded area, carry a small emergency or pruning type saw, and make sure it has a protective cover. 3 If the ride is of any length, have some means of starting a fire such as waterproof matches or cigarette lighters – especially in cold or damp weather. 3 If you are riding in an area not familiar to you, someone in your group should carry a compass or a GPS device. 3 It is always much safer to ride with someone than to go alone. 3 Be sure your horse has solid trail experience before leaving. 3 Check your tack and equipment to be sure they are in good repair before you head out. 3 Find out in advance if ATVs, bicycles and hikers will be using the same trails. Medical Conditions Even if you have a medical condition, riding can be safe if you take a few precautions.
First, do not ride alone.
If you are on blood thinners such as Coumadin®, Plavix®, or aspirin, you are at increased risk for severe bleeding in the brain should you fall.
Wear an approved riding helmet (see next page). What to carry on you: • Mobile phone • ICE – List of “In Case of Emergency” information (personal information and emergency contacts) in a waterproof bag • Multitool (knife, wire cutters, etc.) • Emergency whistle • Personal medications Riders prone to severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in which breathing could be compromised should carry Benadryl and an EpiPen.
You must have a doctor’s prescription for EpiPen, but in the case of severe allergies, an EpiPen can save your life.
Let your riding partner(s) know of your allergies and that you have medication with you.
If you have diabetes, make sure you have your blood sugar meter with you.
Keep snacks handy for quick access; carry high-sugar snacks and glucose pills or gel if needed for battling episodes of very low blood sugar.
Those with insulin requirements should remember to carry insulin on the ride, especially if you plan to be gone for an extended period and/or during mealtimes.
If you have asthma, bring your inhaler. 4
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