NEW figures reveal an alarming number of injuries being sustained by people falling from horses in the northern region since July.
Nearly 15 per cent of the number of falls reported to paramedics across NSW in that period occurred in the New England and North West region.
A new report shows that between July 19 and September 14 paramedics responded to calls for assistance to 130 separate patients across NSW suffering a range of serious and even life-threatening injuries from horse falls – an average of two patients a day.
Of the 130 incidents 25 were in northern NSW and 19 of those were in the New England North West region.
In our immediate area four people were injured in Warialda, and two in Tamworth during that time.
The statistics, released by the Ambulance Service of NSW showed the figures were high right across the state.
Tamworth, a rapidly developing equine centre, is at the heart of a huge horse region that has up to 10,000 horses in the stretch from the Upper Hunter to west of Manilla.
NSW Ambulance superintendent Garry Sinclair said of the 130 people injured in the recent incidents, most had suffered damage to their neck, back or spine.
“Thirty-four patients suffered neck, spinal, or back injuries; 31 had head or facial injuries; 19 patients suffered minor injuries like abrasions or bruising; 18 patients broke or fractured limbs; 12 suffered injuries to their abdominal, pelvic or hip area; nine had chest injuries and seven suffered shoulder injuries,” he said.
Superintendent Sinclair said the incidents, spread fairly evenly across the state, highlighted the dangers horse riding poses to all riders, whether recreational or
“Falling from a horse presents a high injury risk even before dangers like riding speed or further injury from the horse stepping or rolling onto a victim are taken into account,” he said.
“Given these recent incidents, Ambulance is taking the opportunity to remind people riding presents dangers, especially when precautions aren’t taken.”
Superintendent Sinclair urged riders to take safety precautions.
“These include: always wearing appropriate riding gear; riding a suitable horse for your skill level; always riding in complete control; riding with a buddy,” he said.
“Always leave a map of your route with family and friends when riding on a trail and let them know the approximate time of when you will return.
“Ensure you both carry a mobile phone or two-way radio to call for help and assistance.”
Elite eventing competitor Sharmayne Spencer, who runs an equestrian school out of her property Heritage Hill at Moonbi, said while accidents did happen at horse events a number of the more serious incidents occurred at home.
“There have been so many rules and regulations brought in at events, including things like always wearing a helmet and having a paramedic on the event ground, that when there are incidents they are attended to straight away and care is taken,” she said.
“Some of the most serious accidents I am aware of have happened at home on the farm when something unexpected has happened, whether that be the horse being spooked or something of that nature.”
Mrs Spencer said at an event earlier this month in Armidale NSW paramedics had been called twice.
“One rider fell and had suspected neck injuries and another had concussion,” she said.
“All horse riders have a heightened awareness that it’s a dangerous sport and most employ the right amount of risk management by wearing a helmet or things like
body armour as needed for cross- country.”