Equestrian Safety with Dr. Laurel Benson
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Equestrian Safety with Dr. Laurel Benson

September 3, 2019

(upbeat music) – That’s a boy. – Hey, thanks for stopping by today. I’m Laurel Benson. I’m a pediatric orthopedic hand surgeon at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, and I was hoping today we
could talk a little bit about horse safety. But first, I’d like to tell you a story. It was on a sunny day in July, when I was riding a horse
who had been well trained and had never bucked. Everybody who had ridden
him before me loved him. They all said, he’ll
do nothing to hurt you. But that day, as we were
comin’ around a barrel at a barrel race, not going even that fast, I felt him take a little buck, and then I felt him take two more, and then I thought, I’m
ridin’ a bucking horse! And I was really proud of that. That’s the last thought I had. He apparently bucked all
the way across the arena, is what my friends tell me. He spun at the fence, and I went flying into the
metal fence at the arena. I had a bad cut down the back of my head, fractures all down the
left side of my spine, I had blood clots when
I was in the hospital, and I had a traumatic brain injury. It was scary. There’s a lot I don’t remember. I got a lot of good care, but it took a lot of hard
work and a lot of effort, and I’m back again. I’m back to riding, and I’m back to everything
that I was doing for my work and for pleasure. I’m the luckiest person you know, because there are a lot of
people who don’t make it back. A lot of people who die, and a lot of people who
suffer the consequences of a traumatic brain injury. Helmets can make the difference in that. What’s really interesting is I didn’t even know how
dangerous horseback riding was. The statistics are, though, for every hour spent in your sport, horseback riders have
the highest incidents of traumatic brain injury. Horseback riders have
even a higher incidence than motor cycle riders, a higher incidence than bicycle riders. It’s dangerous, what we do. But we do it with a cavalier
attitude, because look at ’em! They’ve got gentle eyes, sweet faces, and how could they ever wanna
be a part of how we got hurt? But they’re 1200 pound animals
that have their own minds, and they have their own fears, and that’s what gets in the way. So what can help us? A helmet. A helmet that’s been approved
by a safety organization. A helmet that’s been certified, and a helmet that gets worn. We need to wear it every time. We need to be diligent
about wearing those helmets. We need to make sure that we’re safe. Because nothing’s more
fun than being on a horse. Nothing’s more fun than
sharing an experience with this magnificent animal. So, join me if you would, please. Put on your helmet. Buckle up. Enjoy the horses, and let’s go ride! (upbeat music)

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