Hospital admission rate for injured [equestrian] riders is greater than motorcycle riding (approx. 3.5x’s greater).1
The majority of head injuries are caused by unpredictable events, such as your horse spooking. Even more surprising, 1 in 5 people who are seriously injured weren’t even riding – they were just hanging out around horses or watching someone else.
About 70,000 people go to the emergency room each year for equestrian-related injuries. About 12,000 of those have suffered head injuries.
Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM/SEI approved helmets that fit correctly. They should be properly adjusted every time you ride including a snug chin strap.
Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding.
1 The Equestrian Medical Safety Association (EMSA) Spring, 2010 Newsletter
5 MYTHS ABOUT HELMETS AND RIDING SAFETY
A helmet is a helmet… Bicycle Helmets, Skateboarding Helmets and Equestrian Riding Helmets are not all the same. While similar in appearance, bicycle helmets are not subject to design specifications and standards that a riding helmet must pass in order to provide adequate protection.
Horseback riding isn’t dangerous unless you’re going really fast... Actually the risk of injury is more closely related to your distance from the ground than speed. Falls from just over 2 feet high can cause serious injury, regardless of how slow you ride. Risk of injury is also tied to how much you ride, not how good you are.
The more expensive your helmet, the more protection it offers... You can spend $500 on a helmet but it doesn’t make it safer. As long as it is ASTM/SEI certified, you’re getting the proper protection. Spending more might get a fancier helmet but it isn’t safer.
If you don’t have a helmet, you can borrow your friend's... Avoid lending or borrowing helmets. As a savvy rider, you want to know exactly what kind of treatment your helmet has experienced during its life so you can knowledgeably assess its integrity over time.
After a fall, if there are no cracks or visible damage to your helmet, it is fine... You should replace your helmet whenever you’re in a fall. There could be a defect that is not visible that compromises the integrity and therefore your safety. Even if your helmet has never taken a hit, you should replace every five years (sooner if you ride often). The materials can be broken down by heat, dust, sweat and rain/weather.