Equestrian sports continue to grow in popularity in the Unites States and abroad, with an estimated 30 million people riding horses annually in the United States alone. Approximately one in five of these riders will suffer a serious injury during their riding career, requiring medical care and potentially hospitalization. Riding carries with it an implicit risk of injury associated with the unpredictability of the animals, the rider's head being positioned approximately 9 feet off the ground, and traveling unrestrained at speeds up to 40 mph. This article reviews common equestrian injuries, epidemiology, mechanism of injury, risk factors, and prevention strategies, with an emphasis on the more dangerous aspects of the sport.
Sports Medicine Program, Charlotte Medical Clinic, Charlotte, NC
Address for correspondence: Heather S. Havlik, M.D., Director, Sports Medicine Program, Charlotte Medical Clinic, 1001 Blythe Blvd Suite 500, Charlotte, NC 28203 (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).