Horse Riding Speaks for Itself as a High Risk Sport for Young Girls in A&E
A recent study has concluded that horse riding is one of the riskiest sports for girls between the age of 0-19 years old. Although this may well be something that we already know, statistics help show exactly how often young children attend accident and emergency due to horse related injuries.
Will the results call for a change in safety standards?
Researchers, Graham Kirkwood, Thomas Hughes and Allyson Pollock reviewed A&E department admission over three-years, at two Oxfordshire-based hospitals. They found that children between 0 and 19 years old accounted for 47.4% of those injured through recreational activity.
Riding was accounted in the top three riskiest sports for girls in this age category, including trampolining and netball. Boys, on the other hand, were likely to be injured playing football, rugby union or rugby league.
8% of all injuries in girls admitted were attributed to horse sports, just behind admissions from trampolining accidents.
Girls aged between 5 and 9 years-old showed high frequency of fracture, accounting for 68.8% of injuries in this age group. Riding was also the most likely cause of head injury in girls.
Not only did the finding of the study highlight injury rates, it also revealed a gender divide in participation rates within equestrian sports, girls making up 92% of admissions.
The study concluded that sporting injuries are becoming a “high burden on NHS hospitals”, identifying the need for prevention work within this field. They called for the need for improved intervention regarding safety, and targeting of those in the “first four years of secondary school”. The study also highlighted the need for further work to be completed regarding participation rates in young boys.
Although high injury risks have been found, beneficial effects of riding cannot be ignored. Previous studies have shown benefit to physical and mental well-being, regarding riding and interaction with horses. Further support toward the benefit of horses comes from equine activities becoming more commonly utilised within therapy programmes.