The Long Face How Risky Is Horse Riding

Global equestrians were shocked by the March death of Olivia Inglis, a 17-year old horse rider. The hashtag #rideforolivia became a viral sensation. Two months later, Caitlyn Fischer, 19, died in an identical event. Both girls were skilled riders and specialized in event, an Olympic equestrian event in Australia in which Australian horses compete internationally. It consists of three phases: cross country, dressage and showjumping.

Both girls were killed in a series of rotational falls while on the cross-country course. Cross-country is especially dangerous because it involves galloping across solid obstacles on mixed terrain. This phase is known for its high speed and frequent falls.

  • A horse that clips a solid fence or falls on its side can be fatally injured.
  • Wayne Roycroft of the International Equestrian Federation called them freak events.
  • Their deaths are tragic. How risky is horse riding and event?

There Horse Are Risks

One researcher tracked down rider deaths at all levels of event around the world. Between 1993 and 2015, she identified 59 confirmed riders who died. This is an average global death rate of 2.68 per year in event. In 1999, Dr Bruce Paix, an Australian trauma specialist, published a highly-cited article claiming that event is more dangerous than car or motorcycle racing. Paix concluded that event was 70 times more dangerous than horse riding, and 180 times more dangerous at the highest levels.

However, can event compare with other forms of horse riding or even motorcycle racing? Paix calculated injury rates per hour spent in the saddle. Recent research suggests that the risk of injury is not equally distribute in an event competition. This is why the water jump is so popular. Another option is to examine injury rates per field starter. This data doesn’t distinguish between falls at obstacles and those on the ground.

Denzil O’Brien recently criticized the method of measuring injury. He suggested that it was more accurate to calculate injury rates per jump attempt. It is at these jumps that both horse and rider are most at risk for a rotational falls. Event may not be as dangerous as motorbike or car racing, but are they more likely to cause death than other forms of injury?

Freak Factor

An estimated 20 horses-related injuries cause death each year in Australia. This compares to the average of 1.7 shark attacks-related deaths. There is always a chance that a rider may lose control of a horse they are riding. There is always a chance that a beachgoer will be expose to sharks if they swim in shark-infested water. These events are freakish This isn’t semantic quibbling about terminology. Freak events are often regard as those that cannot be prevent. They might not have been possible to predict.

There is a concern that the horse-related death of a horse could be view as a rare event and lead to an indifferent attitude towards safety for those most at greatest risk. The freak factor is not only applicable to rock climbers, base jumpers, motorcycle riders and base jumpers, but it also applies to anyone who is astride or handling a half-tonne animal that can run 50 km/h, has its own mind and teeth, and doesn’t fear using them.

Safety apathy is a risk for equestrians. This is compound by the acceptance that horses can be dangerous due to their unpredictable nature as herd animals. Their flight instincts are always ready to kick in when their riders are kick off. Horse-related injuries can be cause by horses being unpredictable. If it activates complacency, that is.

Technical Horse Controls

Although no sentient being (human include) can predict the future, there are technical controls that can be use to decrease the chance of an accident, injury, or death. Are we missing the point? Instead of focusing on how unpredictable horses can be, how about how humans read horses and interpret them? Are we able to improve our ability to predict horse behavior?

There is a fine line between confident-aggressive, shy-afraid or quiet-sick, as any recipient of a dog bite or horse kick might know. Some tools have been develop by animal scientists to allow us to communicate with the animals. The Horse Grimace Scale was create by researchers to allow for the scoring of horses’ pain faces. The assessor is require to carefully examine the horse’s ears and facial features.

This chart was create to assist horse owners in interpreting their horses. Although it is not a cure-all for horse-related fatalities, understanding the horse’s facial expressions is a good idea. A lot of experienced riders and trainers who are keenly observant and sensitive to horses will often claim that they can see things from a mile away.

However, the question should not be about whether horses are unpredictable but rather how we can better understand and interpret horse behavior. Talking to horses might be more common than getting injure by them.

Olympic Equestrians Could Be Riding For A Fall

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein (President of the International Equestrian Federation, FEI) warned in 2008 Olympic that equestrian sport might not be include in the London 2012 Games. She was mistaken, and equestrian events were describe at that Olympics as the most dangerous at the Olympics.

Event is a sport in which one horse and one rider compete across three disciplines: dressage, cross country, and show jumping. It is extremely dangerous. All horses and riders who fell in the London 2012 competition were found to fine, according to a review. One rider was hospitalize with concussion, a sacral fracture and one horse was sent to veterinary observation for bruises on the chest. Another horse was retire from competition after sustaining a tendon injury.

Equestrian sport, despite safety concerns, is recommend to be include in the 2020 Games. There should not be any debate about how important it is to ensure its safety. In 1999, five riders from the UK and one from the USA died after falling at jumps.

Horses that hit the fence and somersault, then throw the rider from the saddle, and land on them, were responsible for five of the six deaths. This type of fall, also known as rotational falls, is still the leading cause of death in event.

International Event Safety Committee Olympic

The International Event Safety Committee was establish in 1999 after the tragic events of 1999. The committee’s recommendations were to do everything possible to stop horses from collapsing. Cross-country fences, unlike show jumps and other types of fencing, are generally solid. One recommendation was that jumps made collapsible if the horse hits them hard.

Many horses and riders have been save by collapsible fencing. In 2014, nine fences at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Course were equip with frangible pins that allow them to fall on impact. Course design is heavily influence by safety concerns. It is important to create fences that are safer for both horse and human welfare.

British Event requires frangible pins use on as many jumps possible since 2006. However, in FEI event they are at the discretion of course designers. It will be interesting for Rio to see how many cross-country collapsible jumps Pierre Michelet, French course designer, includes.

Unfortunately, fifteen years after the initial safety report was commission, event still has fatalities. There have been ten deaths in event since 2013, with three of them occurring between March 2016 and May 2016. Horses can still fall despite the existence of solid fences.

A FEI audit found that fences made with frangible pins had a higher risk of falling. Unsurprisingly, it also revealed that riders with less experience were more likely to fall and that certain jumps such as downhill fences or water jumps can cause problems.

Safety With A Horse

The ability of the rider to correctly judge the location, height and landing position is crucial to clearing a jump safely. The eye-tracking footage of Tim Stockdale, an Olympic showjump rider, shows how maintaining a steady gaze as you approach a jump.

The FEI cross country course design guidelines include a list of points that the horse should consider. Horses might have difficulty seeing risky jumps. The reflective layer at the horse’s back will increase water’s dazzle effect. Our comparative review of horse vision and human vision showed that some fence designs can challenge the athletic abilities of event horses as well as the visual judgment of the animal. This has safety implications for horse and rider.

The most important thing to remember is that horses cannot walk the course. They must judge how fast they can jump obstacles based on what information is available. Event will remain an Olympic sport beyond 2020. Jim Wofford, an Olympic rider and coach, has state that event must be design by humans to benefit horses. It is important to review jump design from the perspective of horses. This is also essential for improving the skills and abilities of riders. Let’s all hope Rio 2016 proves to be a highlight event in safe eventing.

Equestrian Sport’s Unisex Approach Hides Inequity

Olympic equestrian events have been celebrate for their ability to allow men and women to compete against each other. Is this a win for gender equality or just a sign of the coming together of hooves and hands? Many Olympic sports are gender-segregate because of the assumption that men have an unfair advantage in physical strength. To able to ride a horse well, you need to have the ability to communicate with your horse and use precision, technique, precision, and fine communication.

One argument against sex discrimination is that it reinforces the notion that women and their sports are more important than men and women’s. However, integrating women in sports that were previously exclude from does not necessarily raise their status. For example, increased participation of women in Swedish equestrian sports has seen as a negative feminization of the sport rather than a symbol for gender equality.

Why Is Equestrian So Different?

The big picture of the equestrian sport & recreation sector shows a group of amateur women and a dearth of professional female riders. Women have dominant in Olympic dressage since the 1970s the equestrian dance, which was accept by women at the 1952 Olympics.

They have been underrepresented in Olympic showjumping (the high jump or equestrian hurdles), which was accepted in 1956 Olympics. Team selectors may favor male riders, which could explain the relatively low number of women competing at elite levels of equestrian sports. It is most likely a result of female riders quitting their riding careers to support their children and partners.

2011 was a busy year for me as I interviewed showjumpers on the European Veterans’ showjumping circuit, while they were competing in events in France. After having children, several women had stopped riding. Some women had stopped riding after becoming risk-averse, while others were too busy caring for their horses and raising families to continue competing.

This is not a unique equestrian sport. Equestrian’s gender integration is unique. Is it not time to look beyond the equine experience and consider how this might hinder equal participation by both men and women in all events and at all levels?

Keep It Apart

What if there were separate events in equestrian sports for male and female riders. The Olympic equestrian team would have equal numbers of male competitors and female competitors. In the case of countries that lack riders. There would be equal opportunities for both men and women to get into the Olympic program. Female show jumpers may be more willing to accept family responsibilities. In order to keep their equestrian involvement, if they see more opportunities for success.

Sponsors and selectors may give equal attention to men and women. So participation at elite levels in equestrian events might be less affected by gender bias. It may be possible to reimagine equestrian sport that were once considered masculine or feminine with more freedom.

There could be more opportunities for women and men to show their skills in all equestrian disciplines. From qualitatively-assessed events like dressage to quantitatively-assessed events like showjumping. This would allow them to challenge gender norms in society

Male Equestrian Participation

For example, increased male participation in dressage could challenge notions about male ability to communicate and influence subtle forms. But also provide an opportunity for men to express their artistic side through sport. Furthermore, women could be more involved in professional showjumping and challenge the notion. That women are less likely to take on risks or capable of managing a business in a physically demanding industry. The rural leisure landscape of Britain is being challenged by a growing number of female riders.

All changes have unintended consequences. Many female athletes in sex-segregated sport, like golf and football, struggle to get the same recognition as their male counterparts. However, no sport is exactly comparable to another.

The inclusion of equestrian in Olympic programs is being recurrently reviewed because of the high cost of hosting these events. There may a financial return if events double with sex-segregate classes. And there is an increase in participants from both sexes across all disciplines. It is possible to transform equestrian culture as well as wider society.