In the USA:
7 million people ride horses.
78,279 people visited hospital ERs in 2007 due to horse riding injuries. 15% of thoses injuries were head injuries , 11,759.
Concussions account for about 5 percent of emergency room visits, a figure that is more than double that for other major sports.
Over 100 deaths per year are estimated to result from equestrian related activities, with 10-20 times as many head injuries occurring for each fatality.
In the UK:
A Cambridge University Study of 1,000 riding accidents found the following:
1 injury for every 100 hours riding for leisure riders.
1 injury for very 5 hours riding for amateur racing over jumps.
1 injury for every 1 hour of cross country eventing.
Riding a horse you are 4m / 13 ft. above ground. Horses at top speed can travel at 65kph/ 40mph.
Riding is a sport that involves danger. There is no way around that fact. As the Cambridge study shows you are less at risk if you are just a leisure rider quietly out hacking on the trails than if you are an eventer galloping over a cross country course and leaping over death defying obstacles. I have purposely chosen to not show photos here of some of the disastrous falls that horses and riders take on cross country courses. Instead I have chosen a sequence of photos from a Puissance competition in Wellington Fl. for this weeks World Press Photo Challenge. The wall is 7ft high. The top will break away if the horse hits it.