Riding-related injuries in Malaysia are common, study shows

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Nearly 84 percent of horse riders in Malaysia who took part in an online survey reported a riding-related injury in the preceding 12 months.

A fall from the saddle was given as the most common injury cause by the 169 survey respondents, 145 of whom reported injuries.

There was no significant correlation found between the level of experience and injury prevalence.

The researchers, Nizar Majeedkutty and Nor Khairulanuar, writing in the Journal of Family and Community Medicine, noted that, despite the frequency of injuries in equestrian sport, there was no published study on rider injuries in Malaysia.

The pair, from the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Selangor, Malaysia, set out to determine the prevalence of injuries among riders in the country using an online questionnaire that took about 10 minutes for each participant to complete.

Of the 169 participants, 93 were females and 76 were males.

Majeedkutty and Khairulanuar said that 83.8% of participants reported having been injured in a horse-related incident in the preceding 12 months.

A table providing a breakdown by anatomical areas of the injuries reported by 145 of the 169 survey participants.
A table providing a breakdown by anatomical areas of the injuries reported by 145 of the 169 survey participants.

The most common injury area was the upper extremities (43.4%), followed by the lower extremities (40.7%), a head injury (8.3%) and injuries of the upper and lower back (3.4%).

About 70% of the riders sustained soft tissue injuries, with another 11% reporting fractures and 6.9% reporting concussions.

There was a higher prevalence of injury among female participants (55.03%) than males (42.60%).

Fifty-five percent of the injured were involved in recreational riding.

“The most common mechanism of injury was a fall from a horse,” the pair reported.

Sixty percent of the injured riders did not seek medical attention, with only 10.3% going for physiotherapy.

“The high prevalence of injuries and low rate of medical consultation emphasize the need for education programs on safety in Malaysia,” the pair suggested.

“Sessions should be held to improve coaching for riders and instructors, and their knowledge of the nature of the horse, mechanisms of injuries, horse handling, and riding skills to help them host safe equestrian activities.”

The researchers, discussing their findings, noted that horse riders were one of the top four groups being targeted by the country’s Injury Prevention Department to reduce injuries in sport and recreation.

The authors noted that all survey participants wore helmets while riding, indicating that they were well informed about the need for this piece of safety equipment.

“The use of helmets or headgear is compulsory for horse riding in Malaysia, so the clubs provide helmets or headgear to riders.”

They continued: “In addition to headgear, the focus should be on protective equipment for the upper extremities because of the high frequency of injuries involving those parts of the body. The use of properly fitted protective equipment will not eliminate all injuries, but should substantially reduce the severity and frequency of injury.”

Certification of instructors was critical, they said.

“It is recommended that riding establishments and schools should keep records of each horse and any incidents that occur. Riders need to be examined before they return to the saddle after an injury for their own good.

“Organizers of equestrian events should ensure that adequate first aid and medical services are available.

“All horse riders should receive basic training in the principles of first-aid as part of their rider education.

“The use of rules and regulations for the conduct of events, knowledge of horse behaviour, well-conducted lessons, contraindicated medical conditions, public education, rider education, appropriate equipment and clothing, the riding environment, rider experience, safety stirrups, body protectors, and instruction on first aid are some of the measures to be taken to reduce injuries.”

Majeedkutty NA, Khairulanuar NA. Prevalence, patterns, and correlates of equestrian injuries in Malaysia: A cross-sectional study . J Fam Community Med 2017;24:18-22

The study can be be read here

One thought on “Riding-related injuries in Malaysia are common, study shows

  • January 10, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Reduce Rider Related injuries by never letting go of the reins with your strongest hand. I trained and broke in racehorses for years and used the bush, beach and hills for conditioning and had numerous falls without any injury apart from a red hand, sometimes minor laceration from the buckle joining the rubber coated reins.
    When you fly off a moving horse and your mindset is don’t let go of the reins, then the reins slide through your hands and you will be left clutching where the buckle joins the reins.

    I found during the split second of your departure from the horse one hand will let because the horse instinctively jerks it’s head the opposite direction to the pressure thus you will always be left with one hand holding the reins while you may be swinging through the air and if you do not land on your feet which i have done numerous times, then your ground impact will be greatly reduced.
    I have amazed myself how during a serious fall from a medium pace gallop on a footpath at the start of an incline, when a dog from behind a bush ran in front of the horse and the horse reacted by going backwards from the grass footpath on the road while I flew off head first looking at head first on the road but to end up running with the horse with it’s head in the air going in reverse. I jumped on and kept going, stunned as to how this was all physically possible. This was repeated in so many ways.
    I have had the reins ripped out once or twice from gallop but usually I could hang on it became instinct.
    A Colonel in the British army in India in the colonial days discovered his men had greatly reduced injuries when they were given the order to never let go of the reins because camp may be hundred miles away.
    Strong hands and good strength to weight ratio certainly helps but any reduction in body velocity before hitting the ground will reduce injury especially head injury.
    Unfortunately fear during a fall, stiffening off the body and panic will increase chance of injury.
    Women especially would do well to practice judo and break falls and this will reduce fear during a fall.
    What has amazed me after so many falls in so many ways and swinging on the end of reins has never resulted in being struck by the horses flying feet.
    I doubt much notice will be taken of this post. People think their theory on why it does not work defies the fact that in practice it has been proven to work especially by the Colonel.


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