Prevalence and impact of bumps, bruises, and other painful incidents among children while handling and riding horses
Background: Horseback riding and related activities bring risks for serious injury. Extant literature focuses largely on moderate to severe horse-related injuries resulting in a need for medical care. Yet incidents deemed as less severe are also important, with potential to impact subsequent safety precautions and behaviors of parents and children. The study objectives were to gather preliminary information about: (1) the prevalence of a range of horse-related painful incidents experienced by children, (2) children’s helmet use and supervision, and (3) the subsequent impact of horse-related painful incidents. Methods: One hundred and twenty four child (120 Female; Mage: 11.82 years; rangeage: 8 - 18; SDage: 2.26) and parent (103 mothers; 16 fathers; 5 other legal guardians) dyads completed a brief five minute researcher-generated questionnaire. Results/Conclusions: Painful incidents are common for children when handling and riding horses, with the majority of children having experienced these incidents more than once. Helmet use and supervision (typically by parents and coaches) were reported to occur consistently during riding, but less commonly during handling (e.g., grooming). Despite the high prevalence of painful incidents, these incidents largely do not impact children’s ability to participate in other activities, result in access to specialized medical attention, or alter children’s perceptions or behavior around horses. Findings may have implications for safety and education initiatives.