A review of 156 horseback-riding accidents that occurred in southern Alberta over a 6-year period and resulted in nervous system trauma, including 11 deaths, is presented. The majority (81%) of accidents occurred during recreational activity and 81% were associated with falling or being thrown from a horse. Head injury occurred in 92% of patients and accounted for all of the 11 deaths. Spinal injury occurred in 13% of the patients and was associated with head injury in 40%. One peripheral nerve injury was identified. Helmets were used by only two victims. The 11 deaths that occurred as a consequence of severe head injury accounted for 79% of all deaths associated with horseback riding. This profile of neurologic injuries associated with horse-related accidents supports a need for use of protective headgear.