Most Riding Horse Fractures Result From Pasture Accidents

The most common fracture sites in competition and leisure horses were the medial splint bone and the head.
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Among the cases in which the fracture’s cause was known, 43% resulted from a kick by another horse. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett/The Horse

While fractures in racehorses get a substantial amount of research focus—and for good reason—there are fewer studies on fractures in other horses, from the pasture puff to the casual riding mount. But recently, Swiss researchers looked in the whats, hows, and whys of fractures in competition and leisure horses. And they’ve found that most fractures result not from riding mishaps, but from pasture accidents.

Contrary to what they expected, pasture injuries aren’t necessarily more serious than injuries sustained during work, said Brice Donati, DVM, of the Equine Surgery Clinic at the University of Zurich’s Vetsuisse Faculty.

“Pasture-incurred fractures do have a serious prognosis most of the time, but on average, they’re not more serious than injuries incurred during a fall while being ridden, for example,” Donati said during his presentation at the 2017 Swiss Equine Research Day, held earlier this year in Avenches

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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