Occupational vs. non-occupational equestrians: Differences in demographics and injury patterns

Kaitlyn Samuels, Amber Bettis, Daniel L. Davenport, Andrew C. Bernard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Nineteen million people participate in horseback riding activities in the US, and the horse industry employs more than 460,000 full-time workers. Emergency department data suggest young female amateurs and male professionals are most at risk of death from horse-related injuries. However, there has been no investigation into factors that may increase severe injury and mortality risk in these populations. This study investigates demographics and injury pattern differences between occupational and non-occupational horse-related injuries in the US. Methods: The 2017 American College of Surgeons National Trauma Databank (ACS NTDB) was analyzed for horse-related injury using ICD 10 codes. Demographics, injury data, protective device use, and hospital procedures were analyzed. Occupational versus non-occupational injuries based on incident location (farm, sports, recreational, residential) were compared using ANOVA or Pearson's Chi-squared test. Results: Of 3911 incidents, the most common injury mechanism was falling from the horse, but occupational and non-occupational farm injuries showed higher incidence of being struck by a horse. One-third required surgery. Upper extremity injuries were most common. Occupational injuries more often affected upper extremities of working age, minority males with commercial insurance. Non-occupational injuries most often affected heads of women at the extremes of age. Helmet use was higher in occupational, non-occupational sports, and non-occupational recreation injuries, and severe head injury incidence was decreased in these groups. Complications and discharge dispositions were not different across groups. Conclusions: In the largest trauma center study to date, we have shown equine-related trauma to be common and affect a predictable demographic that may permit injury prevention initiatives. Helmets may reduce severe head injury, but the efficacy of protective clothing remains to be validated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-175
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Equestrian
  • Horse
  • Injury
  • Occupational safety
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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