Horseback riding and equestrian sports are good for your mind and body, but there are various precautions you should take to ensure your wellbeing. Like most sports or pastimes, riding a horse is not entirely without risk, and nor is taking care of one. But you can limit those risks.
Common Injuries in Horse Riding
Unsurprisingly, most significant injuries from horse riding come as a result of falls. Here are some of the common ones.
When a rider’s head hits the ground after a fall, there is the risk of concussion. This should be checked out quickly by a doctor since the consequences can be serious. Even if you feel okay after a fall, the symptoms of a concussion may not appear until hours or even days afterwards.
Anyone that has been concussed needs sufficient time to recover and should not risk a second concussion soon after, which could be fatal. Wearing a helmet undoubtedly reduces the risk of serious head injury.
Ankle sprains and fractures are common in equestrian sports. They occur when the foot contorts after a fall or when it is caught in the stirrup. Riders may not be able to prevent such injuries beyond using adequate equipment (e.g. robust riding boots that cover the ankle) and allowing themselves enough time to heal after previous injuries.
The instinct when falling is to break the fall with an outstretched hand rather than hit the ground head first, but this often causes a wrist injury such as a fracture or sprain. As with an ankle injury, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is the usual treatment. If the pain remains severe, a doctor should be seen, and an X-ray may be necessary.
Illness from Horses
Illnesses and conditions passed from horses to humans are possible through grooming, handling and cleaning out stalls. If you feel you may have such a disease, you can click here to see a GP by video within minutes for diagnosis.
Although it’s rare to become ill through contact with horses, several illnesses and conditions may be contracted. Here are two of the more common.
Salmonella can be passed on through the stools of horses. Human symptoms include diarrhoea, high temperature, vomiting and/or abdominal cramps. Horses infected with salmonella will not necessarily show signs of having the disease. Keeping the stall clean helps prevent the spread of salmonella between horses and humans.
A horse with ringworm can pass the condition on to humans that make contact with its skin or infected equipment. Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection, found on the skin and not an actual worm. In horses, ringworm causes circular, scaly lesions that may appear inflamed. An itchy, scaly rash is how the condition manifests itself in humans, and it may spread to various parts of the body.
Good Health and Hygiene
In equestrian sports, paying attention to safety and hygiene will result in fewer setbacks and more time in the saddle.