University of Kentucky HealthCare, in partnership with UK colleges of Public Health and Agriculture, Food and Environment and in conjunction with close to 50 community, equine and medical organizations, has released two new educational booklets within the Saddle Up Safely educational partnership.
“Trailering Your Horse Safely” and “Travel to a New Environment” cover topics including choosing a trailer, preparing a horse for a trip, information for time in transit, horse behavior away from home, overcoming horse fears and equine safety resources.
Members of the Saddle Up Safely Auxiliary wrote the booklets. The auxiliary is a group of program volunteers who are knowledgeable and passionate about rider safety issues and help create and disseminate the campaign’s educational messages.
“The auxiliary regularly met to discuss and debate each safety point to ensure the recommendations were grounded in good horsemanship and were realistic,” said Bill Gombeski, director of strategic marketing at UK HealthCare and Saddle Up Safely lead. “I really appreciate their dedication and vision, and the help of the dozens of other horse experts who provided feedback about the material.”
Saddle Up Safely was launched in 2009 in response to the number of riders admitted to UK’s Chandler Emergency Department. The campaign aims to increase awareness and educate riders about riding and horse handling safety. Its ultimate goal is to reduce the number and severity of rider injuries and help make a great sport safer.
Statistics underscore the need. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System’s 2007 estimates, millions of people ride horses each year, generating approximately 79,000 emergency room visits, with more than 13% of those admitted to the hospital.
While motorcycle riders experience a serious injury every 7,000 hours of riding, horseback riders experience one every 350 hours, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is estimated that one in five equestrians will be seriously injured during their riding careers. And novice riders, especially children and young adults, are eight times more likely to suffer a serious injury than professional equestrians.
The campaign features several tools to inform and educate, including a series of informational brochures; continuing medical education opportunities for medical personnel and first responders; education-based programs; and an interactive website featuring safety tips and stories from riders who were injured. The website also includes a horse rider safety blog, written by Fernanda Camargo, equine extension professor within the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
To visit the campaign website, share tips about experiences involving horse and rider safety, read the blog or download a copy of the newest booklets, visit http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/SaddleUp/.