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The Most Common Horse Riding Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Johnny Howard
The Most Common Horse Riding Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Horse riding is a thrilling activity that requires skill, balance, and proper safety measures. However, riding a horse also comes with its own set of risks and hazards. Injuries caused by horse riding can range from minor bruises to severe spinal cord injuries that can be life-threatening. In this article, we will explore the most common horse riding injuries and how to avoid them.

Veterinarian bandaging the leg of a horse in stable

Horse Injuries

Horses can also suffer from injuries when ridden, with the most common being sore muscles, wounds, bruises, and damaged tendons and ligaments. The legs and hooves of the horse are often the most vulnerable to injury, which can be devastating for both the horse and the rider. Prevention is always the best option when it comes to horse injuries [9].

Injuries Due to Unsuitable Equipment

Using unsuitable equipment can lead to serious injuries when riding a horse. Poorly fitting saddles, bridles, and stirrups can cause muscle soreness, cuts, and blisters. Injuries to the arms, wrist, shoulder, and elbow can occur due to inadequate hand grips and inappropriate reins. To avoid these injuries, it is important to ensure that the equipment used is appropriate for the rider’s size, weight, and experience level. Regular inspection and maintenance of equipment are also crucial [1].

Horse Fall Injuries

Horse falls are a common cause of injuries when riding. Falling off a horse can cause bruises, sprains, strains, and fractures. The most severe injuries include damage to the pelvis, spine, and head, which can be life-threatening. To avoid horse fall injuries, riders should take steps to prevent falls, learn how to fall safely, and wear proper gear [4].

Muscular Decompensation Injuries

Muscular decompensation injuries are caused by muscular imbalances that result from riding with incorrect posture or an uneven distribution of weight. These injuries can lead to back pain, muscle strain, and spinal misalignments. To avoid muscular decompensation injuries, riders should take steps to improve their riding posture and ensure proper weight distribution [3].

Other Common Injuries

Apart from the injuries mentioned above, there are several other common injuries that riders can experience when riding horses. These include:

The Knees

Knee injuries can occur due to prolonged periods of riding, and they are common among riders who do not use proper stirrups. To avoid knee injuries, riders should ensure that they use stirrups that are the correct length for their leg length and level of experience. They should also take regular breaks to stretch their legs and avoid riding for prolonged periods [1].

Leg Muscles

Injuries to leg muscles can occur due to improper riding posture and lack of conditioning. Riders should take steps to improve their riding posture and ensure that they engage in regular exercise and stretching to prevent muscle strains and tears [10].

The Hips

Hip injuries can occur due to prolonged periods of riding or a lack of proper conditioning. Riders should ensure that they engage in regular exercise and stretching to prevent hip injuries. They should also take regular breaks and change their riding position to reduce pressure on the hips [3].

Fractured Clavicle

The collarbone, also known as the clavicle, is a major part of the human body that supports the shoulders. A fractured clavicle is a common injury among horse riders and can occur due to falls or improper riding posture. Riders can avoid this injury by using proper gear, including protective vests and helmets, and learning how to fall safely [7].

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries can occur due to falls or prolonged periods of riding with improper posture. Incomplete spinal cord injuries, such as anterior cord syndrome and central cord syndrome, can cause paralysis in the lower body. Complete spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic, leaving the rider paralyzed from the waist down. To avoid spinal injuries, riders should take regular breaks and use proper posture when riding [5].

How to Avoid Horse Riding Injuries

Here are some tips to help riders avoid horseriding injuries:

  1. Use suitable equipment that fits properly and is appropriate for your size, weight, and experience level.
  2. Learn how to ride with proper posture and weight distribution.
  3. Use proper gear, including helmets, vests, and safety stirrups.
  4. Take regular breaks to stretch and rest.
  5. Stay calm and avoid making sudden movements that could startle the horse.
  6. Build up riding duration and intensity gradually to avoid muscle strains and injuries.
  7. Avoid riding in dangerous or unfamiliar terrain.

By following these tips, riders can reduce the risk of horse riding injuries and enjoy a safe and thrilling ride.


Horse riding injuries can range from minor bruises to severe, life-threatening injuries. Riders can avoid these injuries by using suitable equipment, learning proper riding posture, using proper gear, taking regular breaks, and staying calm while riding. With these safety measures in place, riders can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience while riding horses.