Horse riding is a sporting activity where the rider works in many physical areas. It helps to tone muscles, maintain good posture, and is also a good cardiovascular exercise. Besides, of course, the mental benefits it brings, like clearing the mind.
It is an activity where the balance between horse and rider must be perfect. There is a great variety of sports modalities within horse riding, each one with its peculiarities in terms of physical preparation, rider and horse training, equipment, etc. And therefore, there are some more frequent injuries in one discipline or another, but in general, the same type of injuries derives from this sport practice regardless of the modality practiced.
In horse riding, both the rider and the horse can be injured, however today we are going to focus on the rider’s injuries and how to prevent them. Ready?
It can be believed, especially those occasional riders, that the practice of this sport does not require great physical demands on their part. This is a fairly common mistake that can lead to muscle and tendon injuries due to overexertion, injuries, and/or fractures due to falls due to a lack of knowledge of the horse-riding technique.
That is why we want to emphasize that the practice of horseback riding, especially in an inappropriate way and without the necessary equipment, can cause very serious injuries such as head trauma, vertebral fractures, spinal cord injuries, or another type of injury that can leave sequelae. So, we are going to know what the risks of riding a horse are and, most importantly, how to avoid them or reduce the damage.
3 Tips to Avoid Horse Riding Injuries
Horseback-riding can be a fun and adventurous hobby for new and veteran riders alike. But horses are also unpredictable and easily startled. This makes horseback riding dangerous, especially for inexperienced or first-time riders. Getting an affordable horse insurance quote can help lower the financial damage in the event of an accident, but here are a few things you should keep in mind in order to avoid injury altogether.
1. Dress for Success
Like riding a bicycle, all horseback riding should be done with a helmet. Wearing a helmet that follows proper safety regulation will do more than anything to prevent injury. It is also important to wear comfortable clothes that are not too loose. Avoid anything that could get caught or tangled. Proper leather boots should be well-fitted and with no prominent heel. Wearing the proper attire will keep you safe in the event that you fall off your horse.
2. Take Precautions Based on Experience Level
Novice riders can take precautions to make sure that they won’t get hurt, even if they don’t know much about handling a horse. Any inexperienced rider should use breakaway stirrups. If you fall off the horse, the stirrup will come off with you, keeping you from being dragged by the horse as it moves. Novice riders should also only practice horseriding in open, flat terrain; any young riders should always be supervised.
3. Interacting With Your Animal
Be aware of your horse’s demeanor. This is a thinking, feeling animal that is easily startled; know how to gauge its mood and make sure not to do anything to frighten it. Pay attention to your horse’s ears to figure out what mood it is in. If its ears are pulled back, then it feels threatened or angry. Keeping your horse’s feelings in mind could stop an accident before it starts.
Most Common Horse Riding Injuries
It is necessary to prepare the horse before performing any type of horse riding, during this process, we can suffer some injuries from different causes such as scratches with the environment, bites or stomping by the horse. And, of course, the well-known kicks.
During the entire process of preparing the equine, we must be attentive to the reactions of the animal to avoid all these injuries that can be a consequence of the animal becoming frightened and moving, injuring us.
Injuries Due to Unsuitable Equipment
All sports have the necessary equipment not only as a distinction of said sport but they are designed to help us carry out an adequate and safe practice of it. In horseback riding, you will need boots, riding pants, gloves, helmet, and protective vests. On some occasions, it is also recommended to wear glasses in those activities carried out in the open field.
Not using the right equine can cause hand wounds, calf injuries or erosions, irritation to the legs and buttocks, trauma from blows to the head, etc.
Horse Fall Injuries
One of the most common causes of injury to riders is the fall of the horse. The most common injuries in these cases are broken bones such as the ribs, clavicle, or vertebrae.
On many occasions, fractures in the bones of the hands or dislocations in the humerus also occur when trying to hold on to the reins during the fall. This reflex action occurs both to try not to fall and so that the animal does not escape. There is some controversy between whether the act of holding the reins is good or not since it can cause injuries to the hands and spine, but on the other hand, it slows down the speed of the fall and usually avoids blows to the head since in many Sometimes it makes us fall to our feet.
It is inevitable to fall off the horse at some point or other, however, what we can do is prevent the injuries that the fall can cause by wearing suitable equipment, where the helmet is essential.
Muscle Decompensation Injuries
When riding a horse, a large number of muscles are toned, such as the abdominals, buttocks, or the back. However, in professional or regular riders, certain ailments derived from horse riding are common, especially in the lower back.
It must be taken into account that when practicing horseback riding, some muscles develop a lot, while the opposing muscles are not worked and therefore do not develop. And this causes the muscles to become unbalanced, leading to chronic back ailments and problems and/or joint blockages in the spine.
To reduce the risk of these injuries, it is necessary to work the muscles to increase their mass. How? performing certain exercises that raise the percentage of muscle mass in our back to prevent horseback riding from affecting our spine. This is not something isolated from horsemanship, but it occurs in many sports, so full-body training is essential for athletes.
Let’s take an example to make it clear. Horseback riding works a lot on the biceps, wrist and finger flexors, traps, and erector spines. Therefore, exercises that work the triceps, the wrist and finger extensors, the pectorals, and the abdominals should be performed in parallel. In this way, we would avoid decompensation injuries in those areas of our bodies.
Other common injuries
This part of our legs is one of the ones that can suffer the most from the practice of horseback riding, because the position in a pleat, together with carrying them close to the body of the animal, causes the ligaments to suffer.
The adductors of the thighs, due to their use to support and handle the horse, can suffer greatly and fibrillar ruptures can occur.
The calf muscles and the Achilles tendon, depending on how the stirrup is used, can be injured.
Due to the opening of the legs necessary to ride a horse and depending on the pounding suffered by the rider, it can even dislocate the hips on certain occasions.
Even with everything, do not panic, with good preparation, and with caution, you can ride a horse safely and healthy. And, of course, in case of back problems, it is advisable to consult a doctor before practicing horse riding.
If you are fond of horse riding or usually choose to ride a horse as a hobby, the option of taking out horse insurance is necessary. The main reason is none other than to cover our backs in the event of a possible accident or loss to third parties, or in the face of other issues such as illness, theft, or loss that weigh us down financially. And horse insurance is the solution.
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