Common causes of injury when working with horses

The British Horse Society, on average, is notified of eight accidents involving horses and persons who ride or work with them, each and every day of the year – and these reports do not by any means represent the total number of accidents and injuries involving working with horses in the UK. There are, in short, a lot of accidents and injuries in the equine sector but the injuries themselves fall mainly into just two main categories:

1) Horse inflicted injuries. These represent by far the most common injuries that are suffered by workers in the equine section. Such horse inflicted injuries usually result from a person being kicked, crushed or dragged by the horse. According to Health and Safety Executive statistics there are two horse inflicted injuries to every one of any other injury type suffered by equine sector workers.

2) Falls from height. – This is a common accident for employees in the equine sector but it is the primary cause of injuries for those not employed in the sector and who spend most of their horse related time riding one horse rather than caring for many horses. Recent statistics from America reveal that 85% of horse related injuries to non-employees are falls.

The accidents generally occur for the following reasons:

Lack of training and awareness – horses can be nervous and unpredictable animals, easily spooked by traffic, sudden noises and unfamiliar phenomena. Like other animals they see humans as either a threat to be frightened of, of no importance at all, or to be obeyed. The failure of a rider or groom to understand or be tutored in basic horse psychology can make them vulnerable to accidents caused by the natural reactions of the horse, including the speed, force and reach of their defensive kick. The sheer bulk and weight of a horse can also be the main factor in accidents in which crush injuries are sustained.

A mis-match of rider and horse – horse size and temperament have to be matched to rider experience. When they are not such mis-matches have been statistically shown to be the primary causal factor in the majority of equine accidents.

Lack of suitable clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) – Suitable clothing and PPE are essential for the health and safety of anybody who rides a horse.

It is the legal duty of the employer or the person in total or partial control of an equine establishment to ensure that their employees and those who aren’t employees operate in safe environment. A specialist personal injury solicitor can explain the eligibility criteria to any injured equine worker thinking about claiming injury compensation.

Making a horse injury claim

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