Equestrian sport is considered a high-risk environment for equine injury. Due to the close bond between horse and rider, it could be theorised that riders may be impacted psychologically by their horses’ injuries, as seen in athletic pairs and with companion animal ownership. The extensive time commitment and responsibility of care within equestrian sport means that horse riders’ day-to-day life is impacted in a way not seen in other sporting or leisure environments, thus providing a unique opportunity to investigate the psychological responses of riders to their horse’s injury. The aims of this study were to investigate the psychological responses that amateur riders experienced when their horses were injured. 308 amateur horse riders (16 male and 292 female, median age 25-30 category) completed the Psychological Response to Sport Injury Inventory (19-item) (PRSII) and questions regarding demographics, investment in equestrian sport, the horse’s injury and the length of rehabilitation. Devastation was significantly affected by the weekly time investment of riders (H(3)=8.255, P=0.041) and the length of ownership prior to the injury (H(2)=7.690, P=0.021). ‘Devastation’, ‘feeling cheated’, ‘restlessness’ and ‘isolation’ were all significantly affected by the length of rehabilitation for the horse (H(7)=70.825, P=0.000, H(7)=37.799, P=0.000, H(7)=37.799, P=0.004, and H(7)=27.486, P=0.000, respectively). These findings suggest that amateur horse riders are at risk of psychological distress when their horse becomes injured. Whilst the industry has developed strategies to support owners following euthanasia which are already in place, psychological support following horse injury may be necessary to buffer psychological ‘devastation’ within amateur horse owners.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Comparative Exercise Physiology|
|Early online date||7 Jun 2018|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2018|