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Posted on Feb 10, 2019 in Articles

How dangerous is horse riding?  Are you covered in case of an accident?

How dangerous is horse riding?  Are you covered in case of an accident?

Horse riding is for many a fulfilling hobby and an excellent way to keep fit. Horse riding works the core muscles and thighs and is a great way for people to tone their midsection. It is also well documented to be a relatively dangerous hobby. Christopher Reeve, who played Superman from 1978 to 1983, was paralysed in a horse riding accident when he was thrown from his horse during an eventing competition. Eventing is also known to be the most dangerous of all horse riding activities, simply because the horses are very large and the demands on the rider and horse are great. Inexperienced riders are the most likely ones to have a serious accident.

Attempts to quantify risk depend on large scale surveys and reviews of injury data from health services and other government departments. None of these sources are perfect and the statistics produced will only give part of the picture. Data on injured riders are quite straightforward to collect. However, comparisons of risk with other activities depend on knowing the total number of riders, how many horses they ride, how often, for how many hours and for which activities. These are far more complex statistics to collect and so it is common for even ‘research’ reports to involve a large degree of estimation. A report from 1980s if often referred to for the ‘horse riding is 20 times more dangerous than motorcycling’ claim.

Every year horse riding causes deaths and very serious injuries such as long term paralysis from spinal cord damage. Even if the danger is difficult to quantify, it is unarguable that horse riding is potentially dangerous. Moreover, anyone can be unlucky. Also, many injuries are sustained whilst on the ground around horses. Children may be particularly vulnerable. Some seemingly straightforward activities such as leading a horse out to its paddock can result in fatal kicks.

Since the launch of our Horse Accidents website in 2010 there have been:

  • More than 2,914 reports of road incidents involving horses; 230 horses have died and 39 riders have lost their lives
  • Over 1,400 reported incidents involving dogs and horses
  • Over 200 incidents involving fireworks and horses reported

In 2011 there were 8 deaths on UK roads from horse riding (as reported to the British Horse Society scheme), 107 pedal cyclist deaths and 362 motorcyclist deaths (Department for Transport). British Eventing recorded 1 death in competition 2010-2011. Otherwise, the number of deaths due to horse riding or contact with horses away from roads is uncertain. In part this is due to the way that injuries and causes of death are coded in hospital and by the Office of National Statistics. For every equestrian related death there may be approximately 7 or 8 very serious injuries.

Horse riding does account for 3% of all spinal injuries each year, according to statistics from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, England. A report was published in 1991, “Hazards of Horse-riding as a Popular Sport” by Dr. Silver, a spinal injury expert. It was this paper that Prof. Nutt cited in his report earlier this year. Here follows part of the  abstract from the paper:

“The increasing incidence of horse-riding accidents, which are often severe in nature, prompted a pilot study of a questionnaire designed to elucidate the cause of such accidents. The detailed analysis paid particular attention to the setting and to the experience and task of horse and rider. It was found that 70% of the 20 accidents could be thought attributable to the behaviour of the horse at the time, and seven of these were in the spinal injuries group. Rider error was a significant contribution in seven cases, and in two instances the rider was under instruction at the time. There was also inadequate experience of the rider in seven cases, of which five were thought to show inadequate supervision. The limited number of cases studied precludes significant observations, but, as the majority of accidents seemed preventable, a larger study has been initiated in collaboration with the British Horse Society.” J R Silver, J M Parry, 1991.

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The statistic illustrates the risk of serious or fatal injuries in British eventing in Great Britain in 2015, by type of fall. As of 2015, somersault horse falls have a 28 percent chance of resulting in serious or fatal injuries in Great Britain.

Any rider, or parent of a young rider, can reduce risk by adopting a sensible approach; the jargon for which is risk management.

Most injuries from horse riding do not involve hospital treatment but there is concern that a significant number these soft tissue or musculoskeletal injuries may also cause riders long term pain and disability. Of injuries seen at hospitals, head injuries are the commonest; about one fifth of the total. Various patterns of broken arm amount to about a quarter of injured riders seen in hospitals. Fortunately the majority of head injuries are not severe but even minor head injuries can be significant. Concussion has probably been under diagnosed in the past. The increased use of protective riding hats is most probably responsible for a significant reduction in the proportion of fatal head injuries recorded in the USA over the past thirty years.

Riding is a high risk sport and the high profile falls of eventers Harry Meade and Laura Collett — who suffered serious injuries from horse falls, but didn’t have personal accident cover raised awareness of the need for riders to protect themselves in case of an accident.

More than two million people regularly ride in the UK… and equestrianism is one of Britain’s most popular countryside pursuits. The number of people taking to the saddle has nearly doubled since 2000. But as the riding population increases, so do the fears that accidents are happening because not everyone taking part truly understands the risks of the sport.

The programme Inside Out learnt that in the Midlands alone, the air ambulance is now attending three horse riding incidents a week.

It is actually very difficult to know just how many riding accidents there are in Britain because – with the exception of top races and competitions – no-one is really keeping any detailed records.

But, after road accidents, paramedics attend more equestrian-related incidents than any other type.

Therefore it seems insane that many riders do not cover themselves for accident insurance, life insurance or Income Protection! While insuring our horses is high on our priority lists, riders often leave themselves completely uncovered. When protection matters! Are you covered even while you are competing?

What is personal accident insurance?

Personal accident insurance will cover you for loss of income if an injury stops you from working temporarily, and provide a lump sum if you are permanently disabled or die in a riding accident. The type of things covered include loss of eyesight, loss of limbs, permanent disablement and death.

Why should you have it?

Personal cover is not just an issue for professional riders — who rely on being fit and healthy to compete and pay the bills. It is a matter that amateur riders should take on board as well.

“If you are self-employed and break your leg, you might be just as badly affected as a professional rider would be”

“Even if you are employed and are entitled to sick pay, you have to take into consideration the additional cost of someone looking after your horse if you can’t.”

Make sure you are covered it’s better to be safe than sorry get in touch today to discuss your requirements or find out more!

The fracture,dislocation,tendon and ligament damage cover starts at £10 pm,included is an amount of life insurance.


Income Protection Insurance

If you lost your ability to work and were incapacitated by illness or injury an income protection plan would provide a monthly benefit until you were able to return to work.

State benefit can be means tested and will only provide £80.25 per week.

How would your mortgage,food,gas,electricty,loan payments be made.

Income protection from a panel of insurers

All risk covering activities at home,work and sport

All construction industry trades covered

Day 1 cover available

Benefit options of 1 year,2 years or until retirement

Existing cover in force

No obligation review to establish if the following can be achieved

Lower premium

Lower Deferment

Increase monthly benefit

Increase length of benefit

Life insurance,critical illness,PMI,buildings & contents and commercial insurance available.

DHM Financial Protection Services (Chesterfield) Ltd

Tel – 07772 560827.


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