People have ridden horses for centuries, and in Colorado, there’s not much better than a horseback ride through Rocky Mountain National Park. Driving through the Front Range, you’ll see quite a few stables and horses in their pastures, and going for a ride can be a great way to explore nature. However, as with any outdoor activity, there is some risk involved and when you’re dealing with a large animal such as a horse, it’s important to exercise caution. Being thrown can result in serious spinal injuries and could significantly alter your life. At the Colorado Spine Institute (CSI) in Loveland, we can treat serious spine conditions and injuries sustained from riding a horse.
People from all over the country come to Colorado to explore the mountains, and many people do so on the back of a horse. The stables who take people out on trail rides provide horses who are used to people, but it’s important for people to be used to the horses as well. An animal that stands four to five feet tall can be intimidating, and it can be important to take the time to familiarize yourself with the horse. Trail guides will train people on how to control the reins and feel comfortable in the saddle, and the ride should be fairly easy as the group makes their way through the mountains. However, it may be necessary or required for beginner riders to wear a helmet, both for their protection and for liability purposes.
Head and Neck Injuries
While many people simply worry about being “saddle sore” after a few hours on the trail, there is always the risk of a head or neck injury while riding a horse. If a horse is spooked or decides to bolt for some reason, the rider can be thrown or fall from the saddle, landing on their neck or back. More experienced riders may know how to stay in the saddle and stop a scared horse, but beginner riders won’t have the same knowledge or reaction time as someone who’s spent countless hours on a horse. A person of average height sitting on a horse can have their head approximately 13 feet in the air, and if a horse rears and the person is thrown, that can be long fall to the ground. With millions of people riding horses each year, the number of injuries can be quite high.
At CSI in Loveland, we’ve treated many patients who have been injured during outdoor sports or activities. Horseback riding can be a very fun and fulfilling activity, but it’s important to understand the risks involved when climbing onto a living, breathing animal. There are those in Colorado who rely on horses for their livelihood, and they treat their animals with love and respect. If you’ve been injured while riding a horse, or you have a pre-existing spinal condition and you want to know if you can ride a horse, please visit us today. We’ll gladly answer your questions and help you find the best way to do this and other outdoor activities.