Horseback-riding safety

My 9-year-old daughter has been begging her father and me to let her take horseback-riding lessons. I’m warried, because I’ve heard of so many horse-related injuries. What’s your opinion of horseback lessons for young girls?

With the proper precautions, your daughter should be able to take horseback-riding lessons.

Yes, there are risks associated with horseback riding, just as there are with other sports and hobbies. Most injuries involve broken bones from being thrown from the horse. More serious injuries, however, are neck and spinal injuries -remember Christopher Reeve? – and head injuries. You can’t prevent neck and spinal injuries. However, head injuries can be effectively prevented with the use of a bicycle helmet. (Equestrian hunt helmets are designed more for appearance than protection.) Many stables provide these helmets, or you can get them at sports or bicycle stores.

A parent and child must decide together about participating in certain sports. Every sport involves some risks, most of which are generally low in incidence – providing reasonable safety precautions are taken. The same is true for horseback riding.

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