From Field to First Aid

Bedmax’s Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Accidents

One of the many benefits of horse riding is being able to explore the scenic countryside and adventure off the beaten track. As exhilarating as this can be however, uneven terrain, unforeseen obstacles and even unexpected noises can all increase the level of risk to be found in the sport. Each year many riders injure themselves after falling from their horse, while many others find themselves in accidents in and around the stables, too.

Unfortunately, most riders are likely to be injured at some point in their career. However, knowing how to respond if you do find yourself faced with such a situation can often make all the difference in determining what, if any, the long-term effects of such an accident will be. You may even find yourself in a position to offer potentially lifesaving first aid to others.

Here are Bedmax’s top five tips for dealing with accidents:

Safety First

As much as your instincts may tell you to jump into action if you see a friend hurt, it’s vital that you first and foremost assess the danger around yourself. Loose horses, passing cars, and unsecure items, amongst other things, can all pose a threat to you and the injured party. If any further hazards are present, make sure you take steps to eliminate them before moving on to first aid.

Check Vital Signs

The first thing you should do when you approach an injured rider is take a primary survey of the situation. Are they responsive? Are they breathing? You can place your hands on their shoulders and gently shake them to see if they’re alert. To ensure their airway is clear and not blocked, for example by their tongue, you can gently tilt their chin up and their head back.

Call For Help

Once you’ve assessed the situation, you need to call for help. If someone else is with you, they can call for an ambulance on your behalf and hold the phone out to you, or if you’re alone you can use speakerphone. The emergency call handler will advise what to do and will direct help to your location. If you’re in a rural area, apps such as What3Words will help paramedics pinpoint your exact location.

Is CPR Needed?

If a patient is unresponsive or not breathing, they will require CPR. For everyone’s safety, the guidelines around how to perform this have changed due to the ongoing pandemic, so it’s best to refresh your knowledge via platforms such as St John’s Ambulance.

General First Aid

Even if CPR isn’t required, there are still other things you can do to help the injured. As a general rule, you should keep the patient as still as possible and not remove their helmet (unless it is obstructing their breathing) as you don’t know what unseen injuries they may have. Emergency call handlers may advise you to move them into the recovery position if they are unconscious, however. If the rider is losing blood, try and stem the bleeding with any first aid equipment you have to hand until help arrives.

It can be hard to remember what to do in the event of a sudden incident but, as a general rule, doing something is better than doing nothing. Part of the joy of riding is the freedom it grants us but, as riders venture across the countryside, this often means that medical assistance isn’t readily at hand. As a result, it’s always better to be prepared. If you do find yourself faced with such a situation, take a deep breathe, stay calm, and reassure the injured person that you’re there to help.

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