A new look at horse-related sport and recreational injury in New Zealand

J Sci Med Sport. 2009 May;12(3):376-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2008.04.001. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


Although equestrian injury studies to date have provided useful information for injury prevention, these studies have not been detailed enough or inclusive enough, to identify and characterise all sub-populations that may be at risk. One study has reported injury rates for the population-at-risk. The present study was carried out to determine, more precisely, who is injured in horse-related activities in New Zealand, what sorts of injuries they sustain, the circumstances of injury and the cost of treatment. A novel search of linked hospital discharge and compensation claim data for 2002 and 2003 was carried out. Of 716 newly hospitalised cases, 29% were in the 5-19-year and 28% in the 35-49-year age groups. Incidence rates for regular riders peaked at 13-15 years (900/100000) and 50+ years (880/100000). Where the 'place of occurrence' was specified only 12% of cases sustained injury in a 'sports and athletics area'. This new study has highlighted injuries occurring in farm and other 'open' locations such as mountains and forest, injuries to older riders and injuries to bystanders/handlers during non-organised recreational activity. Attention was drawn to the high in-patient cost of hospitalised injuries in persons >40 years and the need for injury information relating to specific riding activities. Current equestrian injury prevention tends to target young females and organised riding; in focusing on these, other significant population groups and injury mechanisms may be overlooked and opportunities for injury prevention missed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries / economics
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Bites and Stings / economics
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Horses*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Recreation*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sports*
  • Young Adult