Studies show that horse-related activity (HRA) can be risky. The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimated that in 2006, 68,060 Americans went to a U.S. emergency room with horse-related injuries (HRI), of which 5,676 were hospitalized. However, Thomas et al estimated that 102,904 people each year from 2001 to 2003 were treated for HRI in emergency rooms nationwide.
In Oregon, horses are the leading cause of animal-related fatalities in Oregon and Oregon's annual death rate from animals is 45% higher than the national rate. In a survey of 679 Northwest equestrians in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, 81% riders reported at least one injury during their career, and 1 in 5 equestrians required hospitalization, surgery, or sustained permanent disability as a result of a HRI.
One study indicated that in the pediatric population, 41% of injured children and adolescents had residual complaints and were still hampered in their daily activities an average of 4 years after HRI.
Chances of being seriously injured is one in every 2,000 hours of riding and one in every 10,000 riders are fatally injured each year. Serious injury types include head injuries and fractures. Unmounted equestrians are also at risk of serious injury. Special populations are also considered.
Costs of serious horse-related injuries add up very quickly. When it is realized that costs of a serious injury impact many facets of life, the importance of preventing horse-related injuries becomes obvious.
Beyond the cost of missed work, long-term rehabilitation, psychiatric care and counseliing, cost data from the UK HealthCare's Trauma Center where the most severly injured partients are treated shows that initial medical care without including rehab or psychiatric counseling averages $16,218 if the person requires hospitalization. If hospitablization is not needed the cost of treatment is about $2,357 per patient.