BACKGROUND: Horse riding is a hazardous pastime, with a number of studies documenting high rates of injury and death among horse riders in general. This study focuses on the injury experience of cross country event riders, a high risk subset of horse riders. METHOD: Injury data were collected at a series of 35 equestrian events in South Australia from 1990 to 1998. RESULTS: Injury rates were found to be especially high among event riders, with frequent falls, injuries, and even deaths. The highest injury rates were among the riders competing at the highest levels. CONCLUSION: There is a need for skilled emergency medical services at equestrian events.
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