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Wear Helmet while Riding Horses

Wear Helmet while Riding Horses

Our office represents the injured throughout North Carolina. Each Spring we receive calls from parents of injured equestrians. We hope the trend of wearing helmets continues to grow so that we receive fewer calls about head injuries in children.

According to the CDC each year in the United States, an estimated 30 million persons ride horses. The rate of serious injury per number of riding hours is estimated to be higher for horseback riders than for motorcyclists and automobile racers.

Horse riding is extremely popular. Celebrities talk about their horse riding, horse jumping and western showing on the television and with posted pictures.

The risks for severe injury to the head associated with horseback riding are well known. Although no national estimates exist for the number of fatal injuries associated with horseback riding, a review of state medical examiner records from 27 states for 1976-1987 identified 205 such deaths; head injuries were associated with more than 60% of these deaths.

Although falls account for most horseback-riding-associated injuries in one study, fewer than 20% of riders had worn a helmet at the time of the fall. Even when riders wear headgear, the headgear may be decorative or improperly secured, thereby providing limited or no protection. Because of the potentially severe sequelae of head injury horseback riders should wear a properly secured hard shell helmet lined with expanded polystyrene or similar material.

Most organizations including the AQHA, 4-H and other horse organizations stress the usage of helmets.

AQHA changed their rules for 2015 to acknowledge the growing concern about head injuries. Starting in 2015, youth exhibitors will be required to wear an ASTM/SEI(American Society for Testing and Materials/Safety Equipment Institute ) approved hard hat with harness when competing at any AQHA-approved show in an English class, including flat and over-fences classes.

Having represented children with head injuries in the past make your children wear helmet while riding horses— parental requirements for helmets when riding can cut down on the serious injuries and even deaths associated with this wonderful sport.

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