Equestrian injuries

Med Sport Sci. 2005:48:8-17. doi: 10.1159/000084280.


Objective: This chapter reviews the current evidence for the epidemiology of pediatric equestrian injuries.

Data sources: The relevant literature was searched through the use of MEDLINE (1966-2004) and SPORT DISCUS (1975-2004) searches, hand searches of journals and reference lists and discussions with experts and sporting organizations worldwide. Keywords and Mesh headings used in all searches included horse racing, children, pediatric injuries, sports injuries, equestrian injuries and sports trauma.

Main results: Limited data exist on the epidemiology of pediatric equestrian injuries. Most studies note the high preponderance of females with a peak incidence at approximately 14 years of age. This is likely to reflect the higher rate of female riders. The two most common horse riding-related injuries are long bone fractures and head injury. Although most injuries occur during recreational riding, approximately 15% of injuries occur in nonriding activities such as feeding, handling, shoeing and saddling.

Conclusions: While there is little knowledge of injury demographics or the efficacy of prevention countermeasures in this field, it is likely that injuries will continue to occur. The major challenge in reducing pediatric equestrian injuries is the formal scientific demonstration that the various proposed injury prevention measures are effective. With the majority of equestrian injuries happening during unsupervised leisure riding, the prospect of injury prevention is limited.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries / classification
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Horses
  • Humans