Is horse riding dangerous?

Is horse riding dangerous?

Horse riding isn’t as dangerous as you may think, contrary to the opinion of those that may be concerned that they may be injured or have had a bad experience would have you believe.

Most things have a certain level of risk, walking across the road, catching a plane, eating weird and wonderful things in a foreign country. And horse-riding is no different, but perhaps those of us that have been around horses a long time feel dangerous is a pretty strong word.

Despite horses being primarily replaced by machinery in the industrial era, they have

continued to ‘work’ for humans. They are our beloved athletes, entertainers, and therapists. They assist with agriculture, law enforcement and take center stage in racing.


They are supported by an equine industry serviced by human specialists: riders, handlers, trainers, coaches, farriers, veterinarians, transporters, and more. There are so many things to be grateful for when it comes to questioning the horse.


When compared to other hobbies, shall we say, horse riding is rated reasonably low on the “danger matrix.

The statistics released for the United States in 2020 as the cause for death are as follows.

1. Road traffic accidents​ 38,800
2. Accidents around the home​ 30,000
3. Knives​ 1500
4. Hypothermia​ 700
5. Horse riding accidents​ 100
6. Hornets, Bees, Wasps​ 48
7. Snake Bites 5
8. Grizzly attacks​ 2
9. Mountain Lion attacks​ 0.24 

Now, if number 9 has you scratching your head, don’t worry; you are not alone.


A study conducted using data from Insurance claims concluded the following list of sports most likely to result in injury.

1. Motor Racing
2. Horse Riding
3. Cheerleading
4. Gymnastics
5. Base jumping
6. Bull Riding
7. Cycling
8. Boxing
9. American Football
10. Soccer

No one said it was easy!

There are many horse riding disciplines around the world, and each discipline comes with its own associated level of risk. Horse riding can be dangerous even for experienced riders. Sometimes accidents just happen, and a rider can be caught by surprise. No one in life is immune from risk; however, the level of risk is far more significant for inexperienced people.

We think it is essential to acknowledge the fact that horses are up to half-ton animals, with a fight or flight instinct, a mind of their own, and the ability to cause some chaos.

A good relationship and connection with a horse takes a lot of time and effort and a lot of trust on both parts, don’t be fooled by what you see in the movies.



What are the most common injuries from horse riding?

The most common injuries caused by horses are fractures, bruises, abrasions, and concussions, many of which happen can when a horse kicks or steps on a person. Not to be said that the horse is out to get you, but people often become complacent or simply don’t know what they are doing.

The most severe injuries often occur when the horse falls and rolls over the top of the rider or when the rider is thrown from a horse and lands on their head. In many cases, accidents like these result in brain damage or paralysis.



What do I do if I'm scared of horses?

If you have a solid admiration for these beautiful animals but are secretly scared to death of going near one, you are not alone.

There are many different methods for getting over fear (false evidence appearing real); however, fully immersing yourself in the world of horses is an ideal place to start.


So what do I do if I'm scared of horses but want to learn to ride?

In this weird and wonderful world of social media, I bet, somewhere in your friends' list, is a horse-crazy person, hopefully, someone you know and trust. Contact and confide in someone who is very experienced with horses and ask where to start; having someone you know can make a world of difference.

You can also follow other equine enthusiasts on social media to get an idea of what they do in the daily goings-on of horse life.

Watch horse-related movies and shows to get an idea of terminology and general behaviors. This is a helpful step in the process, but don’t take everything you see in the movies as gospel.

Surround yourself with horses. Yes, you read correctly, get involved, volunteer, go to club riding days and get to know some people. A great way to gain more confidence is to volunteer and assist at the “Riding for the disabled” clubs. The people and horses are wonderful and kind. This experience can really put things into perspective for you from a different point of view.

Learn as much as you can about horses in your spare time; seize every opportunity to learn from someone that knows what they are talking about. Attend some clinics that are close by and observe others being taught.

Take it day by day, and step by step. Create a goal, invest in a planner, and work towards discovering and overcoming what it really is that you are afraid of.


Can I reduce the level of risk when riding a horse?

The short answer, yes, you can reduce the level of risk.

There are many factors to take into consideration, especially if you are a beginner or intermediate rider – and these levels of experience can often have a different meaning to different people.

Have you ever been on one of those Holiday Trail Rides,more so catering for tourism? Some folks will declare that they have many years of experience riding and often wind up with the gnarly old horse of the group and find themselves in a bit of strife.

For experienced riders, complacency is often the most significant cause of being caught by surprise; riders who are attentive and constantly aware of their horse and their surroundings rarely get injured.

Most of the time, you can follow some basic principles to avoid getting yourself into a situation. However, there are times where something can catch you by surprise regardless of how well trained your horse is. It is important to remember to stay alert and pay attention to what is going on around you all the time to reduce that level of risk.


What safety equipment should I use when horse riding?

Safety equipment approved for certain associations, clubs or societies vary somewhat, but the basic principles remain the same. Choosing the appropriate Equestrian dress takes into account the unique history of your chosen sport, the physical demands of the rider and varies widely from one riding discipline to another.

 Hat or Helmet
 Long-sleeved shirt
 Long pants

English disciplines vary from Dressage, Endurance, Cross-country, and Showjumping.

Western disciplines include but aren’t limited to pleasure riding, barrel racing, reining, cutting, team penning, and an event in Australia called Camp drafting.

Riding helmets come in a wide variety; whether you are a casual trail rider or an Olympian, buying the most suitable helmet for you will be one of the most important decisions you will make as a rider; getting it right could save your life.

You should take your safety into consideration and the discipline, numerous competition rules, and traditions.


Boots specifically designed for riding and for particular genres are also an important choice when it comes to safety. One way or another, they are all designed for the rider to fit into a stirrup instead of other shoes like sneakers or thongs. Riding boots should have a closed toe to help protect your foot in the event your horse steps on it. Boots should also have a heel to prevent our foot from sliding through the stirrup and getting caught.

Again, you should consider everything mentioned above when choosing a boot that is right for you and your chosen discipline.


Shirts and pants are an essential part of safety when riding horses as well. In Western disciplines, long sleeve shirts with collars and jeans are the most common choices.

English riding apparel, like pants or breeches, are used by riders of English disciplines. Most requirements are to wear a signature plain riding jacket in black or navy. Upper-level riders don tailored jackets with yellow vests.


Additional attire can include a body protector or vest. These are special horse-riding safety PPE, designed to cushion your chest and stomach against falls, headbutts, and kicks should you find yourself at the business end of the horse.


Choosing the appropriate Saddle and tack is also very important; having the incorrect fit for you or your horse can lead to all sorts of problems.


How do I choose a saddle that is the correct fit for my horse?

Choosing a saddle that is the correct fit for your horse is essential. Due to the saddle panels sitting on either side of your horse's spine and directly on top of the muscles, not forgetting to add your weight to the equation, it can mean the difference between a comfortable horse and a very uncomfortable horse.

Saddle fitting has the same basic principles regardless of the discipline you ride in, which can be used as a standard selection criterion. Your horse, like you, is constantly changing. Selecting a saddle when they are young and ridden often can be different from fitting a saddle for a horse that is older and not as trim or fit. If used a lot, Saddles can also suffer from wear and tear, so it is essential to check the fit of your saddle throughout the year.




Will taking riding lessons reduce the level of risk for horse riding?

If you are just starting out with horses, finding a reputable riding instructor or coach is a fantastic way to get you off on the right path and a safer path at that. It is essential to remember a number of hazards can interact together, and this might change the risk.

Under what would be considered to be normal circumstances, a horse might be calm and not pose a serious risk to an experienced rider. However, when ridden by a beginner on a windy day, the horse might be more unpredictable, and the rider's risk may be significant.

This is where riding in a controlled environment with a qualified instructor or coach comes into play. It is their job to prioritize your safety and constantly evaluate control measures such as replacing an intermediate-level horse with one suitable for a beginner rider.

New or inexperienced workers and others who interact with horses are more at risk of harm. For example, they:

 are less likely to understand horse behavior
 may be nervous or frightened
 are more likely to be young
 may not understand the significance of instructions and directions, and
 are unfamiliar with the workplace environment.



Taking riding lessons will not only help to reduce the level of risk, but they will also assist with forming the correct habits right from the beginning and potentially enable you to advance a lot faster due to the boost in confidence of having someone help you from the word go.

Consider the following when deciding about taking riding lessons;

 Choosing the discipline that you want to ride in
 The amount of time you can dedicate to lessons
 Choosing an instructor
 Decide to own a horse or hire one from a training stable
 Select where you will be able to ride.

Working with an experienced horse person allows you to learn from their knowledge and seek advice when you don’t know what to do. Their presence can make you feel more at ease as you work with your horse, knowing that they can step in and help if something goes wrong.

1 comment

  • Good article this one!


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