Many medical doctors today are advocates for children wearing stronger boots and using safety stirrups when they ride horses after many examinations of foot injuries in younger equestrians. Many of these doctors now agree that broken bones are avoidable with the use of proper riding equipment while on horseback.
In Geneva, Switzerland, 260 children were admitted to the Children’s Hospital due to injuries sustained from riding horses. Of the 260 children, 8 of them had seriously damaged feet. The riders who had injuries to their feet were involved in accidents while riding where they fell off the horse onto the ground. Their feet were trapped underneath the horse while in the stirrup.
These riders incurred broken bones that in many cases were multiple breaks. For example, one patient who was a teenage female had fractured as many as five of the bones in her toes. With the help of orthopedic surgeons, the bones were pinned into place and the healed in time. But Doctor’s agree this could have been avoided all together.
Typically many of these injuries will follow the same patterns. Stirrups can not only trap the feet of the rider during the fall, but it also can act as a fulcrum that will bend the foot underneath the impact of the falling horse. This causes the foot of the rider pivot in a way that is unnatural, which results in bones that are severely broken in most cases.
As a parent, I agree that you can avoid certain injuries with the proper safety stirrups and riding boots. Safety stirrups are designed to open quickly so the rider’s foot can be released in the event of an accident. This will also encourage safer riding and can give parents an added peace of mind when their children are riding. I don’t let my kids mount up without them. This way we can both enjoy their horseback ride.