Horses are strong and majestic animals. Children and adults alike find horses fascinating; watching them in a horse race, galloping across a polo field, or trotting along alone in a paddock. However, horses and their riders can be unpredictable. Combined with their large size and strength, equine accidents can lead to serious injury for riders and bystanders alike.
Accidents While Riding a Horse
Individuals throughout Maryland and the rest of the country enjoying riding horses for all types of reasons. Some people may take advantage of a first-time horse-riding lesson to see what it is like to ride a horse. Others are actively involved in dressage, hunter and jumper, western riding, or playing polo. Unfortunately, even the most experienced riders can be involved in an accident while horseback riding.
For first-time riders and experienced riders, and accident involving a horse can result in serious injuries. Most accidents that occur while riding a horse involve a fall. A horse's back may be about 3 to 5 feet off the ground. While that height does not seem very significant, the dynamics of falling off a horse's back can result in serious injuries. Falls from a horse often leave the rider landing on their head, neck, or back.
When riding a horse, riders generally have their feet in stirrups. The stirrups help the rider guide the horse and also provide some stability for the rider. However, the stirrups can also trap a rider's foot if they fall off, causing them to swing underneath, landing on their head or neck. In some cases, a rider's foot can get trapped in the stirrups, resulting in a twisted knee, broken leg, or sprained ankle.
If a horse is traveling at any significant speed, trotting, galloping, or cantering, the passenger is carried forward at the same speed. If a horse suddenly stops and the rider is not prepared, the rider may continue their forward momentum, flying forward. This could cause the rider to crash head-first into the ground or another object. If the rider does not let go of the reins, then the rider's body may twist, landing the rider on their back.
Injured By Another Rider
Even a bystander is at risk of getting injured by a horse, especially when the other rider is inexperienced. Horses have certain instincts when in close proximity to people, and if the rider is trying to get the horse to do something different, this may result in unexpected movements by the horse, colliding with or trampling an innocent person. Even a simple action like a horse stepping on a person's foot can lead to permanent injury. Thousands of pounds of pressure under a horse's foot is enough to crush bones, and cause severe nerve damage to a person's foot.
Injuries By a Horse With No Rider
Perhaps the most unpredictable horse accidents involve a runaway horse with no rider. A horse with no rider may buck wildly or run off for any number of reasons, including where the horse perceives a threatening situation or the horse is injured. Getting hit or run over by a galloping horse can lead to severe trauma, and even death. Young children are especially susceptible to horse injuries by startled animals.
Equine Accident Injuries
Accidents involving horses can lead to serious injury or even death. Some of the most traumatic injuries involve trampling injuries and falls from a moving horse. A trampling horse can crush bones, cause internal injuries, and kill or permanently disfigure anyone caught underneath. Trampling injuries to the head are some of the most dangerous, causing severe bleeding, brain injury, blindness, or even death.
Falls are the most common dangerous horse accident injuries. This includes spinal injuries, brain injury, neck injury, and head trauma. According to research, head injuries outnumber spinal injuries by 5 to 1. In comparison to other sports injuries, more women than men are injured in equine accidents, and there are more lumbar and thoracic spinal injuries than cervical injuries. Of horseback riding activities, jumping may be the most likely to result in a spinal injury.
Maryland Equine Accident Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a horseback riding accident or injured by a trampling accident, the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian may be able to help. In some cases, the owner of the horse may be responsible for the accident, in other cases, another rider may be responsible for causing the injuries. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with equine accident cases against individuals and companies throughout Maryland. We will fight for your rights to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.