Why I Gotta Trot - Page 242 - The Horse Forum
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post #2411 of 3045 Old 10-18-2018, 09:52 PM
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The problem with horses and accidents is kind of like the problem with crime statistics.

Quote:
The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties. Murders actually used to be even more concentrated. From 1977 to 2000, on average 73 percent of counties in any give year had zero murders."



Quote:
Horse riding carries a high participant morbidity and mortality. Whereas a motor-cyclist can expect a serious incident at the rate of 1 per 7000 h, the horse-rider can expect a serious accident once in every 350 h, ie 20 times as dangerous as motor cycling. This depends on the type of riding. A Cambridge University study of 1000 riding accident hospital admissions has shown:

* One injury for 100 h of leisure riding
* One injury for 5 h for amateur racing over jumps
* One injury for 1 h of cross-country eventing"

https://www.nature.com/articles/3101280
Hmmmm...one injury involving a hospital admission for every 100 hours of leisure riding? About a month after I got hurt dismounting Mia, I went to a hospital to make sure nothing was broken. Nothing else in the last 10 years. Nothing for my family.

My THEORY is that accidents occur at some fairly low rate for anyone involved in riding, and go up as the rider takes on more difficult horses and activities that require maximum performance from the horse. What I was doing with Mia was, for her, "max performing" her - taking her way outside her comfort level because I assumed trail riding was something ANY horse could do. VS Littauer and the glorious Australian saddle were all that I had going for me, but I'd never try to do it again! It wasn't fair to her or safe for me.

I think motorcycle riding is like that. Or like crime statistics. There are places I'd feel perfectly safe riding a cycle - rode them a lot in my 20s, including daily to work. In city traffic or on a freeway, like my BIL does daily? You couldn't pay me to do it!

With Bandit? I feel pretty confident he'll let me know if it is a bad time to ride him. He also accepts that dismounting means I'm going to make him safe. If he is tense, I'll let him know I'm about to dismount, and he'll be, "Why yes! Good idea! Get on the ground and take care of me!" That is good enough for me.

PS: Motorcycles don't scare me. The idiots in cars around me are what scare me. Like Hondo said. They DO NOT SEE YOU.
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post #2412 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 08:39 AM
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I think some caution needs to be exercised when forming conclusions based on what seems to be an obvious common sense conclusion.

Traveling at 55 MPH is safer than 70 MPH for instance.

Back when the US had a mandatory National speed limit of 55 MPH, some traffic engineer noticed a higher traffic accident rate in his city after the new speed law. He got curious. He checked other cities. Same thing. These were cities with freeway systems.

As it turned out, people were taking an arterial road of say 45 MPH rather than the 55 MPH freeway which was farther leaving the 45 MPH arterial as the fastest route.

Freeways have a much lower accident rate than arterials. There is more visibility, more controlled entrance and exits, no traffic signs, lights, left turn lanes, etc.

When the National 55 MPH was done away with, the trend reversed.

The mantra back then was "55 SAVES LIVES". Should have been "55 COST LIVES"

What I'm getting at is the fact that the country roads can, may well be, and probably are more dangerous than the freeway with the higher speed rate.

I was told jokingly in a serious way early on that horses are an exercise in awareness. Same for motorcycles.

Many years ago some highway engineer decided that the ends of guard rails were dangerous for cars running into. He decided the ends should be buried. No studies done. Others hailed the idea as a genius example of common sense. The mantra became "Guard rails should STEER you not SPEAR you.

Many many years later some non-common sense highway engineer did an assessment of accidents where guard rails were involved. It turned out that the rails being buried caused more overturned vehicles and increased the severity of many accidents. Guard rails are no longer buried on the ends but angled away from traffic and also have impact absorbers. But it took many years for common sense to be turned over.

Statistics is a wonderful tool that like any tool can be misused. But to challenge a statistic on personal opinions without seeing how the statistic was produced is troublesome.

I've heard the horse vs motorcycle challenged many times, online and in person during conversations. But I have never seen an article or statistic that challenged the comparison. I read an article once about a study in the UK regarding the injuries to various professions or trades (not sure of the classification). A farrier came out on top as the most hazardous. That and other studies lend credibility, in my mind, to the statistics comparing horses and motorcycles. But still, the common sense part of my brain sees groups of motorcycles barreling down the freeway and that common sense part of me says, "that's gotta be more dangerous".

Personally, I have close to half dozen broken bones from riding motorcycles, plus one T plate and 5 screws in my right wrist at present. Many of my old riding buddies are carrying metal also. There have been many deaths in off road competitors.

Based on my personal experience, there is no way horses are more dangerous. But study after study tells me I am wrong and that my experience only represents my own personal microcosm.
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #2413 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
My THEORY is that accidents occur at some fairly low rate for anyone involved in riding, and go up as the rider takes on more difficult horses and activities that require maximum performance from the horse.
People scare me when I'm on a horse too, because they don't think at all about what might happen if they let all their dogs loose to run at you, or fly a drone over your horse's head, or dive bomb a kite three feet away.

This is a tricky one for me, because I've had a lot of accidents with horses so my first impulse is to agree with the statistics. I think it is more like the crime rates, that a few of us have more of the accidents. That can be from what we do with the horses and the type of horses we ride, but also I think some people just get hit with more freak things.
I read a story online about a guy who was bitten by a rattlesnake, mauled by a bear and bitten by a shark. However, he was not in my mind engaging in very risky behavior!
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...=lazyloading:c

My co-worker who was riding Amore when my horse tripped and fell flat on her chest and neck, resulting in severe concussion, had previously been on a well trained and mellow horse when something fell from the rafters in an arena, her horse backed and managed to flip backward over the arena wall, just missing landing on top of her. That also gave her a concussion. Thankfully, both times she was wearing a helmet.

The accidents I've had with horses that resulted in my worst injuries were all three from getting kicked. Once I was following a horse on a narrow trail when Amore spooked and ran into the horse's backside, and the horse kicked me in the shin. I have a little nerve damage there. Another time I went behind a horse standing loose, and he double-barreled me with no warning (we found out later he had tics similar to Tourette's). And the third time I was simply getting my horse in a field and a horse I didn't know turned and kicked my thigh. Some torn muscle fibers from both of those exchanges.

Needless to say, I'm more careful when around loose horses, but I also had three concussions that all came from my early days training Amore, and that is when I started wearing a helmet.

I've had quite a few accidents that were definitely from riding hot, spooky or untrained horses. Most of those have not resulted in any serious injuries.
I've also seen or been involved with so many freak accidents that I have concluded that they just happen with horses and there's nothing you can do about that.
I've seen a horse step on his shoe, tear it off and trip himself, throwing the rider into his path and running over the top of her.
I've seen a very calm horse suddenly smash his head to the side and whack my friend's head into the side of a trailer.
I've seen horses somersault, and fall down at the walk and trot. So many crazy and unpredictable things I can't even mention them all.

My philosophy is that it's good to try to be safe, but there are no guarantees even if you suit yourself in body armor and only go near bomb proof horses.
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post #2414 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
...But study after study tells me I am wrong and that my experience only represents my own personal microcosm.
Actually, maybe not. The studies people TALK about do. But there are a lot of studies showing horses are not particularly dangerous. Those don't get much mention, maybe because studies are often discussed in articles about wearing helmets. For example:
Quote:
"Fortunately, horse-related fatalities are relatively few. For example, horses were involved with the deaths of 43 people in New Mexico between 1993 and 2004, a span of 11 years. [Note: 2-3/year involving head injuries] For comparison, 298 fatalities were due to car crashes in New Mexico during 2015 alone. Over the decades approximately 60-70% of horse-related fatalities have been due to head injuries. Other factors involved in horse-related fatalities included spine injuries, crushing injuries, and the involvement of an automobile."

Equestrian Injury Statistics

"During 1992-1994, a total of 9409 TBIs occurred in Oklahoma, of which 109 (1.2%), including three deaths, were associated with horseback riding; 23 other TBIs were attributable to horses but were not riding-associated."

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00040635.htm

"Of all the horse riding activities, according to Silver (2002) and Paix (1999) jumping is most likely to produce an injury, and according to Paix (1999), the cross country phase of eventing is more than 70 times as dangerous as horse riding in general, with an overall injury rate of one per 14 hours of cross country riding....

...In a study done by Sorli (2000) to determine the demographics of hospital admissions and mortality associated with equestrian activities in the 33,000 riders in British Columbia, he found that the mean number of yearly admissions was 390, with head injury the most common cause of hospital admission (20%). [Note: thus the injuries that might have been helped by a helmet work out to 78 out of 33,000. or 0.24%]...
"-- A profile of horse riding injuries in adult horse riders Kwa Zulu Natal Horse Society (PDF file on my laptop, don't have a working link any more)
"the 33,000 riders in British Columbia, he found that the mean number of yearly admissions was 390" - That would be a bit over 1/1,000 chance of being admitted to a hospital each year, which is lower than I would expect to see from riding.

One also needs to consider the type of injury. I would agree people who mix with horses accept a higher risk of broken ribs / shoulders / arms, or significant soft tissue damage like mine - 6 months of major pain and 9 year of frequent pain, only gradually fading away. I said "mixing" because I've been hurt more dealing with horses in the corral who were fighting, or injured, etc. The first farrier we had, a great guy, had his back broken by a horse.

From my perspective, if I break an arm riding or handling horses, that is OK. I'll accept the risk in exchange for the reward. And I might believe the risk of breaking a bone in horses is equivalent to the risk in motorcycles.

What bothers me is a risk of life-changing injury or death without anything I can do to minimize the risk. That exists at some level with horses, like the farrier who broke his back. At some level, it would exist if I bought a dirt bike to ride on the local trails, but it would be minimal. What stops me from using motorcycles daily are the idiots who have come close to killing me in a car. The folks who will pull into your lane without ever seeing the motorcycle. There is also what can happen if you hit a patch of sand with both tires instead of two tires out of four.

Of course, my BIL does it and has done it for years. His last motorcycle accident was 30 years ago, so either he is incredibly lucky or skill can manage a large part of the risk I perceive. FWIW, a horse in South Africa bolted with him years ago and he won't even TOUCH a horse. Arguably, I have a false perception of risk involving motorcycles and he has a false one involving horses!

PS - I don't have it now, but the statistics for injuries while DRUNK around horses are pretty high, too. IIRC, something like a third of injuries in some states have involved people riding horses while drunk.
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Last edited by bsms; 10-19-2018 at 10:42 AM.
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post #2415 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 10:39 AM
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I see you lot are increasing the height of my reading pile again!

SueC is time travelling.
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post #2416 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 10:44 AM
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^^ I was about to read your journal, @SueC , but I'm so far behind I need to return to it when I have more time.
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post #2417 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 10:47 AM
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I admire your fortitude, @bsms - have you read War & Peace as well?

I am barely staying on top of reading my favourite subscribed threads' additions... one day, when I retire, I'll have to read everyone's journal I frequent from the actual beginning... but like @Hondo , I am such a slow reader...


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post #2418 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 12:06 PM
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Quote: ""Fortunately, horse-related fatalities are relatively few. For example, horses were involved with the deaths of 43 people in New Mexico between 1993 and 2004, a span of 11 years. [Note: 2-3/year involving head injuries] For comparison, 298 fatalities were due to car crashes in New Mexico during 2015 alone. Over the decades approximately 60-70% of horse-related fatalities have been due to head injuries. Other factors involved in horse-related fatalities included spine injuries, crushing injuries, and the involvement of an automobile."

Comment: This has absolutely no meaning or significance at all until the number of hours riding and driving are included with deaths per hour calculated. Same for the other articles.

Quote: " But there are a lot of studies showing horses are not particularly dangerous."

Comment: So far I have been unsuccessful in finding even one of these on Google.

As always, IMHO & YMMV
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #2419 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 12:11 PM
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"Fortunately, horse-related fatalities are relatively few. For example, horses were involved with the deaths of 43 people in New Mexico between 1993 and 2004, a span of 11 years. [Note: 2-3/year involving head injuries] For comparison, 298 fatalities were due to car crashes in New Mexico during 2015 alone. Over the decades approximately 60-70% of horse-related fatalities have been due to head injuries. Other factors involved in horse-related fatalities included spine injuries, crushing injuries, and the involvement of an automobile."

I don't think this has much meaning without the hours of each activity being used to present hours per death of each.

"But there are a lot of studies showing horses are not particularly dangerous. "

So far Google has been able to find any of these studies.

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #2420 of 3045 Old 10-19-2018, 12:26 PM
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What the??? Thought I had lost the first post. Shrug.........
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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