Background: Horseback riding injuries are responsible for an estimated 2300 hospital admissions annually among persons younger than 25 years of age in the United States, but injury rates, patterns of injury, and risk factors for this population have not been well studied.
Methods: Study participants were selected from a list provided by a national mail-order company that sells riding equipment. A total of 557 persons younger than 25 years of age who rode horses at least six times a year completed survey questionnaires.
Results: Among the study participants, 34 (6.1%) had been hospitalized at least once because of a riding injury and 153 (27.5%) had been treated by a physician within the previous 2 years for such an injury. The overall injury rate was 0.6 per 1000 riding hours. Among those injured, sprains or strains (41.8%), lacerations or bruises (40.0%), and fractures or dislocations (33.3%) were the most common types of injury. A total of 27.5% of those injured sustained concussions or other head injuries. Riding 15 to 24 hours per month (odds ratio [OR] = 2.04), being female (OR = 1.81), and riding English style (OR = 1.77) were the characteristics most strongly correlated with injury.
Conclusions: Horseback riding injuries among participants in this study tended to be serious. Family physicians should inform their patients who ride horses about the risks associated with equestrian activities and should emphasize helmet use.