In the second part of our equestrian blog series, we find out from Kay why knowing first aid is so important…
Horse riding is a dangerous sport. We know there are an untold number of possible risks that riding and even being around horses can bring, however we all tack up regardless. It’s not just the commonly thought of injuries from falling from a horse riders have to think about – a stray kick on the way to the field can be just as serious.
Research shows that most accidents in the saddle happen during the more extreme riding disciplines, such as cross country, racing and hunting. Don’t let this fool you; accidents can easily happen in any equestrian discipline and even when handling horses. There is no such thing as a truly safe horse and, as with everything in life, accidents do happen. However, researchers have noted a key way to prevent horse related accident and injury is to study horses and learn their behaviour, thus helping you to avoid possible harm.
The chances of dying from a horse riding accident are very slim. In a recent survey, www.medicine.ox.ac.uk gave a 1 in 175,418 chance of dying when riding. This means that if you ride every day for 480 years, you might die in a riding accident. However, severe life changing injuries ,such as been paralysed due to spinal and head injuries, are slightly more common, with 3% of all spinal injuries in the UK caused by horse riding. Minor injuries, such as cuts, bruises, broken bones and concussion, are much more common and can be caused by anything from a spooky horse, riding on the road, or a rider trying to perform above their level of ability.
Don’t be tricked into thinking if you only work in hand or carriage drive you are safe from injury. Horse drawn vehicles can also be involved in traffic accidents and misbehaving and lashing out in-hand, such as kicks to the head and other areas of the body can be just as serious, if not more so than a fall.
Soft tissue injuries, fractures and concussion are the top three horse related injuries reported in the UK. Most of these are minor and heal with time and proper care, however quick and correct first aid is vital to limit possible damage.
In fact, any form of rider injury including a fall from the saddle or a bang to the head, must be treated quickly and correctly using first aid, until a professional arrives or they are taken to a hospital. For this reason, knowing rider first aid is a must, not only for all horse riders but anyone who spends time around horses.
Would you know what to do if your friend was kicked? If they had a knock to the head? How to stop a bleed? Or if they fell from their horse but something was obviously wrong? If the answer is no to any of the above, it’s time for a first aid course.