Horse riding is a fun and rewarding sport, but due to the height involved with being on a horse or falling off, there can be quite a high risk of injury. When I speak to any horse rider and ask how many times they have fallen or been thrown from their horse, or more to the point how many parts of their body they have broken or seriously injured as a result of horse riding, it's quite scary.

I have never encountered a sport quite like it! The falls and injuries from horse riding can have a toll on the health of your joints and muscles. If you take your horse riding seriously and ride regularly then it is very important that you look after and maintain your body as best as possible.

Common injuries can include:

Head injuries
Impacts to the head from falls can cause compression in the cervical spine (neck) which can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and weakness in the arms. These type of injuries are fairly common and without the correct treatment and rehabilitation can become chronic problems.

Shoulder injuries
The impact from falls can put a large amount of strain into the shoulder joint. This can cause collar bones to break, compression of the joints, dislocations, fractures, sprains and local bruising.

Arm & wrist injuries
Falling on to an outstretched arm can cause breaks, strains or sprains. These can be very common as a result of falls. When breaking young horses, this can cause quite severe trauma in the elbow and forearm from the constant pulling and snatching movements.

Back and spinal injuries
Back and spinal injuries can occur through falls or even from being kicked. These type of injuries can be muscle strains, facet injuries or prolapsed discs. When experiencing a spinal injury you should always have it checked by visiting A&E to find out the extent of any damage. If you have numbness down both legs and have lost bladder or bowel control you should seek immediate medical attention.

Muscle strains
These can occur in any part of the body. I have never known a sport or past-time with quite so many areas of potential injury. In an attempt to avoid these injuries warming up before riding and cooling down and stretching afterwards is essential.

The main causes of horse riding related injuries are:

  • Poor riding technique
  • Over-use
  • Weak muscles
  • Spinal misalignments
  • Not warming up properly
  • Previous injuries
  • Trauma – from falls or kicks

Symptoms of horse riding injuries include:

  • Back pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Leg pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness

How to avoid these injuries:

  • A good fitness regime to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall fitness level.
  • An efficient warm-up and stretching routine to prepare your muscles before any ride.  This will lower the chance of straining your muscles.
  • Get your horse adjusted! It is amazing the difference Chiropractic adjustments can have on how a horse rides and behaves – we recommend they have treatment every 6 months.
  • Chiropractic care to maintain your spinal health.

Many horse riding injuries respond very well to Chiropractic adjustments which aim to encourage efficient joint motion, increase flexibility, reduce muscle tightness and improve alignment.

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