Equestrian sports are popular in the United Kingdom (UK), with approximately 2.7 million people of all ages participating in equine-related sports in 2015. These sports are not without risk; the position of the mounted rider puts them at risk of injuries sustained by fall from a height, compounded by movement at speed. The aim of this study was to characterise demographics and injury patterns of equine-related trauma presentations at a major trauma centre in the UK.


From a trauma admissions database and electronic search of radiology requests including keywords “equine”, “equestrian”, “horse”, and “pony” with cross-referencing from ICD-10 coding, 144 patients were identified to have presented to an adult major trauma centre with equine-related injuries from falls while mounted over a 3-year period.


Females accounted for 86% of patients (n = 123). The most common presenting age group was age 20-29, but most injuries occurred with patients of ages 50-59. Spinal injuries accounted for 41% (n = 69) of all injuries and occurred in a similar proportion in all age groups. Upper limb injuries accounted for 100% of injuries in those aged 0-9. 39% (n = 56) of patients required operative management for their injuries.


We have been able to identify which body zones of injury are more at-risk in equine-related sports following falls from mounted riders, and recognize how certain injury patterns may be more prevalent in particular age groups. Spinal injuries have been demonstrated to be a new leading zone of injury, possibly due to stricter legislation from government and industry leading to the relative reduction of head injuries. Reducing the number and severity of these injuries will not only improve patient outcomes but reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

Keywords: Equestrian, Equine, Horse riding, Sports injury, Spinal injuries, Trauma.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub