Equestrian activities represent a very heterogenous population. The risk of injury varies greatly among the various disciplines. Most injuries do not occur in organized competition but occur in the leisure, recreational or working environment.
Factors associated with mounted injuries include lack of adequate protective headgear and a significant incidence of ETOH intoxication. Unmounted cranial injuries usually occur from being kicked, reflecting the significance of exercising precaution at all times, even in unmounted situations.
Helmets that meet the ASTM standards have been found to significantly reduce head injuries. Protective vests, although popular, are unproven. A properly constructed vest may give some added protection from a direct blow but they will offer no protection from major spinal injuries.
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