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Are Some Sports Too Risky For Kids?

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Homeschool Mom asks: When is a sport too dangerous to participate in, rather than just risky?

Girl riding a horse

My daughter loves horses and horseback riding. She inherited it honestly, I had a horse when I was young and still ride with her when I get the chance. My daughter takes lessons at our local stables and is even learning to jump the horses. The thing is, when I was young I never thought for a minute about riding as being dangerous. Sure I got thrown off, kicked, bit and ran away with but that was all par for the course. Now I have a 10 year-old being thrown off etc...

I was at urgent care last night having her perfect chin sewed back together after she was thrown from a horse. Her safety helmet sliced a three inch gash through her chin that had nurses administering smelling salts to me because it was so gruesome to watch. Of course it was already infected by the time we got to the hospital because of the horse poop and dirt.

As I watched her fall from the horse in the ring with a nose dive, face plant that lifted her legs over her head in a scary twist that made me think her neck was going to be broken, I started to think I don't want her to ride anymore.

I looked at some statistics and it turns out that a study from New Zealand where they do a lot of riding horseback riding, horseback riding topped the list of most dangerous sports with 28.6 injuries per 1000. It had a comfortable lead over mountain biking with 14.8 per 1000 participants which were followed by hiking and surfing.

When is it too much to risk participating in a sport you love?


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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
just sayin' December 9, 2008, 12:49 PM

When you think about it, any sport can be dangerous. Horseback riding is risky, but it is a wonderful sport. You get to work as a team with your mount as well as take care of it. Accidents happen, but you just have to get right back on.

Ozboz December 9, 2008, 1:32 PM

Horseback riding’s risks vary greatly, depending on the horse used, the teacher, and the safety equipment, as well as the rider’s inate ability.

It is a sad truth that riding stables stress their horses terribly. A stressed horse and a beginning rider is an accident waiting to happen. This can be prevented by not using stable horses, using better safety equipment, and taking the mount’s daily needs into account.

Brooke de Lench December 9, 2008, 1:48 PM

From all of the detailed studies that I have done over the past twenty years, I now know that the ride in the car on the way to the sports venue is far more dangerous than any of the sports that our children participate in. The top three things to look for in any program to make certain kids are safe are 1) make sure your child has a PPPE (participation physical examination)by a medical professional, 2) make sure the coach or teacher has safety training, 3) make sure there is an emergency plan in place and up to date.

Brooke de Lench
Editor in Chief MomsTeam.com
Author: Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (Harper Collins)

just sayin' December 9, 2008, 1:55 PM

I agree Ozboz, some stables treat their school horses really bad. Some have too many students and too few horses, so the horses get used so much that they are about to collapse. I left my barn for that reason, it wasn’t fair to me that I got a tired horse for my lesson and it wasn’t fair to the horse. Most of the horses at my barn hated little kids because the little brats kept whipping them. We had a little girl in my class whip her horse so bad that he threw her off. And the parents have the nerve to blame the horse. The teacher put a beginner on a 4 yr old green horse…..that was my last straw. Parents, please do your homework before choosing a barn.

Jennifer December 10, 2008, 12:27 PM

Sure, horseback riding is dangerous. My daughter and I both ride, I know the risks and I do what I can to reduce the risks with proper headgear and a sensible, sane mount for my daughter. She takes lessons and has her own horse at home and she knows the safety rules.

But bike riding and skateboarding are also dangerous. So is climbing trees, swinging, riding in a car and participating in gymnastics.

Walking out of the house and getting on the school bus is dangerous. Life is dangerous, but you can’t lock yourself or your kid in the house because you’re overly worried about the dangers. Enjoy life, but don’t take stupid chances.



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