Kentucky Study Finds Horseback Riders Lax About Wearing Safety Gear

A University of Kentucky HealthCare survey found that 60 percent of Kentucky horseback riding respondents did not wear any safety apparel the last time they went riding.

“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.”

Survey results also found that out of the 100 respondents, 31 have been injured at least once in the past three years from handling or riding a horse. However, out of those 31 injured respondents, 70 percent of them thought their injury could have been prevented.

“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,” explained Camargo. “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.”

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.