Injury Rehabilitation Underutilized by Equestrians, Researchers Say

It is our hope that through sharing the experiences of injury and recovery, other riders may be able to prevent some accidents from happening. Or, if they do sustain a horse-related injury, they will utilize the rehabilitation services offered to them during their recovery to ensure they achieve their maximum recovery possible.

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You're a horse owner. You can effortlessly throw hay bales into the loft, halter break weanlings, pound fence posts, and handle a fractious stud–all before breakfast. You eschew wimpy "city folk" things like sunscreen, tetanus shots, and annual wellness exams. You fall off, you get back on. Yeah, you're tough. We get it.

But when it comes to rehabilitation from major horse-related injuries, researchers have one request: knock it off and listen to the nice doctors.

Doctors at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta, reviewed the records of patients over 16 years of age that were admitted to the Level 1 trauma center from 1995 to 2005. Of 7,941 trauma patients, 151 (2%) were injured while participating in an equestrian activity. Head, chest, and abdominal injuries were the most common in this group. A report on the injury portion of the study was released in 2007.

Now the researchers have shifted their focus to the long-term effects of major equestrian injuries by following up with 78 of the 141 surviving injured equestrians, 55% of whom had chronic physical difficulties following their accidents. Of these respondents, 38 (49%) underwent rehabilitation therapy in the course of their recoveries while admitted to the hospital

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Written by:

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care.

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