Although most people expect accidents to occur at competitions, most equine-related call outs for
the ambulance service are to riders who had suffered a fall out hacking. Often a horse has spooked
and the rider will have fallen, or riders who had decided to pop a log on a forest ride and come off.
Whether you’re riding on a main road or a country lane, horses and their riders are amongst the
most vulnerable road users.
In any emergency situation, run through the 'Dr ABC' checklist to ensure you do everything in the
right order and in the casualty's best interests:-
Danger: Check for danger, for example the risk of a loose horse trampling the casualty; this loose
horse will need to be secured or held by a passer-by or fellow rider before the injured rider can be
checked. If a horse has gone for home don’t run after it until you have checked the rider is OK.
Any nearby traffic will need to be stopped. Managing these dangers on the roads are challenging
following a riding accident but are important to both protect yourself and the injured rider.
Response: Talk to the rider and place your hands on their shoulders and gently apply pressure to see
if they are responsive or unconscious;
Airway: Ensure their away is not blocked, for example by the tongue. Tilting the head and lifting the
chin will move the tongue;
Breathing: Look and listen to see if the casualty is breathing.
Call 999/112 and ask for an ambulance giving them details of location and what’s happened and
condition of the injured rider.
CPR: In an unconscious abnormal breathing rider.
Keep them still
Anyone with a suspected neck or back injury should be kept still – movement can cause more
It’s OK to leave someone on their back if they are conscious, as they can tell you if they’re going to
be sick. But aim to minimise movement until help arrives by immobilising the head.
Place your hands on either side of the head and keep talking to them, to reassure them and
encourage them to stay still.
It is important to recognise everyday riding can result in all sorts of dramas which makes it so
important for riders and horseowners – and friends and relatives of riders – to be educated in first