Posted by: rstor | November 7, 2011

Head first into safety – HorseScene magazine features an article on rider safety – read it here…

HorseScene magazine, the UK’s national free equestrian title, featured this article in their Sept issue, by RSTor’s George Gorman; we hope you like it…

Head first into safety

We all know horse riding is dangerous – but for most of us, we simply balance dangerous activities against the risk factors present. For example, we wear a seat belt in a car, and check the road before crossing as a pedestrian.

Where horse riding is concerned, there are of course many safety precautions that can be taken – however, falls and accidents still occur.

At Badminton Horse Trials, this year, three riders fell badly, despite being highly experienced – Elizabeth Power, Camilla Spiers and German rider Ingrid Klimke were all taken to the local hospital, whose staff are presumably used to seeing riding boot-clad people pacing the wards each April.

Fast-paced sports have a high correlation with injury rates, in any sector. Unfortunately, it is difficult to fully assess the amount of horse riding accidents that occur on a large scale; and to date, there is no formal register for equestrian injuries. However, Kathryn Doodson, a student at Leeds Metropolitan University, is currently collating data for a web-based Major Independent Study (MIS) called the Equestrian Injury Knowledge Mobilization Database.

Visit – In addition, British Horse Society has an Accident Reporting Website at that invites people to report equestrian related incidents. With the resulting data, the charity aims to “lobby those who can make changes”.

Many studies point to the fact that head injury is the most common reason for equestrian-related admittance to hospitals; famously, American dressage rider Courtney King-Dye fractured her skull after a fall from a horse in early 2010, when she was not wearing a helmet. Wearing approved helmets has been shown to reduce the rate of injury, and American dressage guru Michael Barisone, a member of USEF’s High Performance Dressage Committee, has stated that: “Wearing a helmet… should be implemented anytime when mounted, all over the world.” Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace ‘declined to comment’ after her majesty the Queen was pictured on a horse wearing a headscarf and no helmet earlier this year.

Aside from wearing helmets, there are of course other safety products that are widely used by riders, such as body protectors and air jackets. In addition, there are specially-padded jackets, safety stirrups, high visibility wear and lighting products that all help reduce the risk factors for accidents, or reduce the likelihood of injury in the event of a fall.

Showjumper Susi Rogers Hartley, who competes in able-bodied showjumping classes and also Para jumping classes, as she is paraplegic, advocates riding with an RS-tor rider safety aid – the product may be used in all show jumping competitions by all riders. At the recent RDA National Championships, Susi won the Grade 1 show jumping section (70cms), and says the RS-tor rider proved invaluable. “It enables me to stay sitting up, no matter what direction my horse Seamus, who is a real spinner and spooker, goes in. At the RDA Championships, I could nip in and out on the sharp turns without coming out of the ‘side door’,” she states.

Oxfordshire-based Susi is fronting a photo competition to raise funds for a new electric wheelchair for her. Winning photos will be used on a 2012 equestrian calendar that will be available for sale in due course. Susi is inviting people to submit a high resolution photo that shows themselves safety enjoying their horse-riding; any discipline / activity applies! Images can be emailed to:, together with a caption for the photo, and your name and contact details. Closing date is 31st October. “Professional and amateur images are welcome,” Susi explains.

Visit for info.


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