How often horse-related injuries happen:

•About 70,000 people go to the emergency room each year for equestrian-related injuries. About 12,000 of those people have suffered head injuries.

•Among lifetime riders (people who ride 6 or more times a year), 13% have been hospitalized with a riding injury.

•Horseback riders have the same number of injury accidents per riding hour as motorcycle riders.

Who gets injured:

•All riding disciplines have a significant rate of head injuries.

•Unpredictable riding events — a horse spooking, bucking, or bolting — account for most head injuries, but 20% happen during non-riding activities or as a bystander. Wear your helmet when around horses even if you are not mounted.

•Your level of expertise doesn’t protect you: The risk of injury is tied to cumulative riding time, not level of expertise.

•Taking it slow isn’t the answer, either: Severity of injury is most closely influenced by your distance above the ground. And a fall from above only 2 feet high can cause permanent brain damage.

How helmets protect you:

•When you take a fall, a certified helmet absorbs energy by crushing and extending your heads stopping time to reduce the peak impact on the brain significantly.

•Head injuries are the most common reason for equestrian-related hospitalization and fatal injuries.