Horseback riding is a very popular activity among children and adults in South Africa. The only issue with riding horses is that even the most experienced riders are prone to serious injuries.
No horse rider is immune to falls and, not surprisingly, this is the cause of most horseback riding injuries, especially if the rider is thrown off at a bad angle or crushed by the horse.
Concussions can occur when the rider’s head hits the ground during a bad fall. Concussions can disrupt the brain’s function either temporarily or permanently.
If a rider is concussed, he/she needs to be taken to the hospital as soon as possible to be treated for potentially serious injuries. To prevent concussion, riders must wear a riding helmet/ cap while horseback riding.
A wrist injury normally occurs when a rider tries to protect himself/herself and then falls onto an outstretched hand. Bones and ligaments may be injured when a rider hurts his/her wrist.
Treatment usually includes RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and elevate) therapy. If the wrist is sore or swollen the next day, the rider will need to see the doctor for X-rays.
A sprained ankle is a common and frustrating injury that can prevent athletes from being allowed to hop back onto their horses for a while. A sprained ankle can be caused if a rider is thrown off a horse and lands awkwardly. If the ankle rolls in (inverts), this can lead to a sprain. Sprains are more likely to occur if a rider has recently/ previously had one.
Like the wrist injury, if a rider has a sprained ankle, they may need RICE therapy. If the ankle prevents them from walking properly because of pain or swelling, the rider will need to see the doctor for X-rays.
Prevent Horseback Riding Injuries
Horseback riders need to be as safe as possible when it comes to riding horses. They need to ensure that they never walk behind a horse, make sudden movements or loud noises near a horse and be left alone around unpredictable horses.
All horse riding equipment needs to be in working order and properly secured onto the horse before riding; this includes stirrups, reins and girth strap. The rider should wear a helmet at all time, sturdy riding boots that cover the ankle and have a low heel and a protective vest to reduce the impact of any falls.