This study aims to estimate the burden and describe the profile of equestrian injuries in Greece, where horses, donkeys, and mules are still used in agriculture and where horse riding is a popular leisure activity.
Prospectively collected information on 140,823 injuries reported in the national Emergency Department Injury Surveillance System was examined and 244 equestrian-related injuries that occurred during farming, equestrian sports, or horse racing
The estimated countrywide injury incidence for farming and equestrian sports combined was 21 per 100,000 person-years, but it was 160 times higher for horse-racing personnel. Men had higher rates of racing injuries and women had higher rates of equestrian sport
injuries. Fractures accounted for 39.0% of injuries in horse racing
and 30.5% in farming; head injuries accounted for approximately 50% of injuries among farmers. Farming injuries were more serious, with 25% requiring hospitalization. Analysis through the Barell matrix pointed to the role of spurs in the causation of ankle fractures and dislocations and the likely contribution of helmets in preventing traumatic brain injuries.
Equestrian-related injuries are a serious but underappreciated health problem and merit targeted prevention efforts for each category affected.