This study aimed to investigate the perceptions and experiences of New Zealand horse riding schools with regard to horse-related facial injuries. All the riding schools listed in the New Zealand electronic phonebook directory were surveyed by post. The survey questions covered riding schools' perceptions of rider profile, general and facial injury patterns and safety equipment used. The face was perceived to be the most common injury site by only 4% of respondents. Helmets were enforced in only 35% of the schools during unmounted activities. Nearly half the schools did not enforce any safety equipment for unmounted equestrians. Falls were perceived to be the most common cause of facial injury (41%), ahead of horse kicks (9%). Poor handling was cited as the most likely cause for horse kick-related injuries (67%). In summary, riding schools did not perceive the face to be among the most common horse-related injury sites. Safety protocols were generally directed towards mounted equestrians.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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