Quiz Tests Equestrians' Rider Safety

Are you aware of the potential accidents that could happen if you're not well-versed in the safety rules of riding? You can now test your knowledge before getting back on a horse by taking the simple 12-question Safety Quiz available on the Saddle Up Safely website.

The Safety Quiz comes on the heels of a national survey conducted in September 2010 by Saddle Up Safely, a rider safety awareness coalition of 40 community organizations led by the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture's Equine Initiative and UK HealthCare, which revealed that most riders don't get enough safety training or rate their safety knowledge low.

"Our study and a number of others showed that many injuries can be prevented or reduced in severity by practicing safe horsemanship," said Fernanda Camargo, DVM, PhD, equine extension professor within UK's College of Agriculture.

The most common horseback riding injuries are fractures, bruises and abrasions, sprains and strains, internal injuries, and concussions. Injuries are most often caused by falling off a horse, but people can also be kicked, stepped on, or fallen on by horses.

Julia Martin, MD, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UK College of Medicine, said the most severely injured riders are seen at UK HealthCare's Chandler Hospital.

"If there was one recommended behavior we would like to see, it would be for every equestrian, whether novice or experienced, young or old, to wear an approved, correctly fitting helmet," she said.

Saddle Up Safely is one of a number of organizations including the Certified Horsemanship Association and 4H Clubs that are trying to make the sport of horse riding safer. To learn more about what you can do to improve your horse riding safety knowledge, go to saddleupsafely.org or call 859/323-5508.

Ann Blackford is a public relations specialist for the University of Kentucky.

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More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK's Equine Initiative.

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