Most Dangerous Horse Riding Events


The Top Ten

1 Cross Country

The reason it's more dangerous than Show Jumping is because the jumps are solid. Yes, Show Jumping is dangerous, yet cross country is the same thing, except the jumps aren't dismantled when you crash into one. Thus, rotational falls are very common, and riders crashing headfirst into fences. Many horses and riders break their necks or backs on Cross Country most simply because the jumps are solid.

Cross country is so dangerous! How can showjumping be first when in cross you go faster and the jumps are solid. Surely that makes it MORE dangerous? Also it is compulsory for all cross country riders to wear a body protector and at proffessional level, an airbag as well. I watched all the Olympics cross country on T.V. and there was something like 15 falls. In showjumping there was one. Cross country is definitely more dangerous than showjumping!

According to world statistics the worlds most dangerous sport which kills an average of 30 riders every year globally. Been active in this sport during the 70's and came out alive. Would never let my kids try this.

If your horse does not clear the jump you and your horse are going down and your going to the ER

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2 Barrel Racing

I jump on my gelding bareback all the time. It's easier than barrel racing. With me my barrel mare is a paint she's hot headed. you go around them barrels and ask her to slow down she will throw you off. Going 40 turning barrels on a dime keeping your balance. That's not hard? Um heck yes it is! I cants hold the horn some others may be the same my horse is a two handed. you have no idea how hard it is on that first barrel then second and third. Have you ever felt a horse break down just to slide the barrels while you just try to hang on and direct it's turn? Have you ever had your horse start to slide trip and throw you straight into the barrel and crush your leg all at the same time? That one hurt I'm in a cast now because of it! It's not an easy sport! - Barrelracer1414

I am a barrel racer, but I don't think that some people have really researched this. A TON of people have died doing this sport. Some people might think that barrel racing is safer than cross country because you have a horn to hold onto, but it's really just in the way for me. If your horse starts bucking the horn is probably going to just jab you in the stomach. You're still gonna get hurt while doing this sport even though you try not to. If your horse just decides he doesn't wanna turn that barrel he is gonna stop and you are gonna go diving into mud, dirt, and a barrel. While in cross country you land on nice soft grass!

Barrel racing is by far the hardest and deadliest. Your running full speed ahead. One day I was just cruising through the barrels then I turn the first barrel then, bam, my horse starts bucking and I come off, the 1200 LBS animal is on my stomach, how do you think that would feel? Not so good? I could have been paralyzed, but lucky for me I'm not. Some people say barrel racing isn't a sport, I say it is. Some people also say barrel racing is easy, that all you do is just sit on the horse, but it's more than that. Barrel racing is the hardest and deadliest sport in the world.

It is not the most dangerous sport there is. American football may be the most deadly classic sport there is. How many people a year get significantly hurt in barrel racing? Next too none.

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3 Wild Horse Race

These horses that are being raced are wild. They have hardly been handled bypeople, never had a saddle on them, never been trained. They have been taken from their homes put in a strange environment only to be tacked up and raced around by some cowboy. One of the most important things about horseback riding is trust and these horses have no trust for these guys and there instinct is to run. They are going to do everything in there power to make sure they don't get put anywhere new they don't get a saddle or bridle or person on them. Just getting them that far is highly dangerous. Then they actuly must be ridden. They will but they will rear they will take off running as fast as they can to get this over with and to get the rider off. It takes a lot to stay on the horse and it would be extremely easy to fall off and get hurt or trampled. When it comes to danger this event has no end. There is not a single second where you are safe and can relax unlike the other events which are all ...more

Wild horse racing should be banned. Those poor animals are terrified, running for their lives, and desperate. So naturally we turn their terror into entertainment! Not only extremely dangerous but incredibly cruel.

This is terrible! I didn't even know this was a sport but it sounds like absolute animal cruelty! It's terrible to force an untrained animal who has never been handled by humans before to gallop with a rider on it back! This should be banned!

Riding horses is already a dangerous sport, but wild horses?! I think people should be careful, but I still think people should enjoy their passion with horses.

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4 Horse Racing

I was a hunter jumper rider first then switched to racing. I was a jockey for 10 years. In my whole life I have seen and been in some terrible accidents there is so much more to this sport (lifestyle) than could imagine! I have friends in wheelchairs als friends suffering from severe head injuries (yes wearing a helmet! ) broken bones strains sprains and tears when it's good it's the most amazing feeling in the world but when things don't go as planed which can happen in a heartbeat it's bad! nobody can judge until they have enough education and experience in this crazy horse world which I love so much just ask me! It's a passion and a lifestyle and you never stop learning! So go ahead Miss Chearleader think what you want but those of us who truly know think your "sport " is for athletes but does not and wil never compare!

I do think horse racing is one of the most dangerous events of all time. Going almost 40 mph on an English saddle, that's pretty dangerous. An English saddle requires a lot of balance. Another reason is all the other people out there with you at the same time. That is when more stuff can happen that aren't supposed to. Because some people can be cruel and greedy to get what they want.

It should be second. Horse racing is deadly. If you make one wrong move, wham! You could fall off and be trampled by several other horses.

It is will dangerous

5 Steeplechase

THIS is by far the most dangerous horse sport. Have you ever watched it? It combines the high strung horses runing un full speed that we see in thoroughbred racing with jumping almost cross country like obstacles. In the event a horse stumbles at an obstacle the others are almost surely stepping on him and also falling. Horses and riders get badly hurt and die. This is the discipline I think should be banned for the wellbeing of horses.

Because lots of horses and riders are doing the same thing at the same time when someone might fall off

It is super dangerous!

6 Suicide Race

" I think this pretty much says it all. Located in North Central Washington in the small arid town of Omak, the race was developed in 1935 as a money making ploy. Beginning on a hill 210 feet above the finish line, the 15 riders run over the hill at a 62 degree angle. (Yes, 62 degrees! ) If they manage not to get tangled up with another horse or trip down the hill, they must cross the Okanogan River. If the rider and horse make across successfully, (ie. not drown) they climb up the side dike and into the arena where the finish line lies. All this in less than a minute!

Absolutely awe-inspiring. The only event in the world where the 12,000 spectators also receive an adrenaline rush too...

I can't believe that today's society lets something like that actually happen! Typical.

7 Show Jumping

Show jumping is most dangerous, seriously. Training a horse not to refuse 5-6ft fences is hard enough as it is. Then getting the right amount of balance to be able to clear that fence - at speed might I add - is like signing a death warrant. Cantering and sometimes galloping over a 6ft fence, knowing there is a HUGE risk of your horse refusing and you being thrown into a fence is one of the scariest things I've ever done.

Showjumping is definitely the most dangerous. Not only do we have to keep our balance and the horse's balance through tight turns but also keep our balance while being thrown five feet in the air and then be able to sit up at just the right time to not throw off the horse's balance. There is also the risk of there being a partially scary jump and having your horse refuse it and having your being completely thrown off and forward. Then you have to include that the majority of horses in the show jumping world are very hot headed. They have to have a ton a energy to complete the longer courses at the speed needed to place.

this is very dangerous your jumping over 5ft jumps just because they collapse doesn't make it easy or safe. I like dressage but seriously how could it be number 2 I think it should be on the bottom trust me I know about dressage yes the horses do get wild and are very athletic and strong but its highly highly unlikely that a dressage horse is going to flip over and land on you. - horsezrule

While it isn't the most dangerous, it is much more dangerous than barrels. I heard of at least 5 people to die in show jumping within all of 2017, but none in barrels. Like yeah, barrels are just as hard as show jumping, but facts prove showjumping is more dangerous

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8 Eventing

Honestly I think steeplechase is the mist dangerous your galloping at top speed going at fences that if you hit the only thing coming down is you and your mount I've seen people do this and if your not perfect you going down

Cross country is the most dangerous, but Eventing has Cross Country, Show Jumping, and Dressage. I think Eventing is the most dangerous and life threatening discipline.

Cross country is one of the most dangerous sports in horse riding, but it is also part of Eventing - along with Dressage and Show Jumping. I think Evening should be closer to the top. (This coming from an actual Eventer - I have almost fractured my nose, thrown/fell into jumps, and almost got a concussion)

Xc is probably the most dangerous but xc, showjumping, and dressage makes it much more dangerous

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9 Pole Bending

Pole bending is very dangerous, you are typically going very fast and the horse is doing 12+ lead changes which can cause them to trip, with the addition of speed that can be pretty dangerous.

I don't think pole bending is as dangerous as it is fun but at any time any horse rider is on a horse your in danger

I think poles can be just as dangerous as barrels. Its fun, but it can definitely be dangerous.

Not a danger? Explain to me then how your horse can slip and fall on u? Pole bending should be treated the same as barrel racing because it has the same exact risks! - Barrelracer1414

10 Dressage

Yeah, I agree. I do Dressage and jumping, and even though I think that dressage is by far the most challenging discipline, I think that XC is the most dangerous. Dressage is all about perfection and synchronicity with your horse without looking like you are actually doing anything, but unless your horse spooks or trips or something and you go flying of his back, there isn't much danger to you save constant muscle knots in your back and neck, which is kinda almost worse than falling haha.

I would think dressage would be down at the bottom. The fastest the horse goes is an extended canter and the riding is always done in a controlled environment, an arena. I would think vaulting and eventing far more dangerous.

The most dangerous part about dressage is you are on a horse! This should be WAY at the bottom.

Yeah it may be the hardest to do but it’s not as dangerous but of course it still is

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The Contenders

11 Mounted Archery

Doing Archery on Horse-back with no hands on the reins, having to steer only with your feet and shooting a deadly weapon. It can be very difficult to get a horse trained well enough to steer without reins and with special mouth queues, and to teach them not to spook when you sit on them sideways and shoot an arrow at full speed.

12 Vaulting

Though vaulting does seem dangerous it is one of the most safest equine sports. Yes you might be standing in the back of a cantering horse the danger is severely reduced if your horse is calm and trained well, your lunger knows what they're doing and if the vaulter is experience and careful. I have been vaulting for many years and not once have I injured myself whilst performing.
The worst and most common injury is swollen and bad knees, this is caused by improper landing.

I do vaulting and I've done it for a long time, in my first year I would've said it wasn't dangerous but now I've seen my friend crack her skull and neck and my other friend who I pulled by the arm out from under the horse when he tried to kick her after she fell at canter. Some situations are more dangerous than others, not all horses are expirenced and our most experienced horse (for vaulting) died

I vault, but I see no hazard in vaulting at all. The horses are typically very calm and well trained, and there really isn't much of a risk. If you fall off, you just get back on!

Vaulting is not anywhere near as dangerous as any other horse sport.

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13 TB Racing

Obviously the most dangerous. Imagine this: You are crouched over a two pound saddle that must feel like a postage stamp. And your postage stamp is moving at 40 miles an hour on top of an unpredictable 1000 pound animal. You are surrounded by 15 other riders on tiny saddles and horses. Any moment, another horse could pull up in front of you, knock your horse off balance and off you go. For the horse, who thanks to horrible breeding has delicate legs that can easily be injured, interference can knock them over, broken leg, and do I really need to explain what happens next?

No doubt it is #!

I think this one should be at the top! Its definitely the most dangerouse, its got the highest injury count for riders!

14 Polo

If you fall off the horse in polo you will most likely be trampled by the horses following you because polo is all about working in lines on either sides of the ball. I know multiple people who have passed because of accidents in polo and many more people injured. I should know I play it myself. This sport should be listed as number one on the most dangerous scale but isn't because the person who created this didn't do their research. The one thing they got right is that this is a fast game, but they forgot to include the mallets and hard balls used that could both cause concussions or other sort of damage.

Polo is quite dangerous because you go extremely fast

This is true. I play Polocrosse and have had so many accidents. A man I know is now in a wheel chair for the rest of his life. Though this sport is dangerous, I still love it.


15 Cart Racing
16 Jumping

It's awesome should not be last

I do jumping! I think it should be at the top of the list!

If you fall you can break your neck

I have fallen and sprained my wrist.trying to learn!

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17 Reining

Why is this at lest not in the top tens! I get that jumping, racing, and barrel racing are up higher but still! I do reining and it is awesome but challenging! You have to fast and slow circles, lead changes, spins, and of course sliding stops!

I agree.

18 Bronc Riding

Your could get bucked off and trampled and die

Just like all of us can

You can die! and get thrown off a horse come on...

19 Endurance Racing

Endurance should probably be at the bottom. Yes, it has its dangers, just being on a horse is dangerous, but trust me, it is much safer than other events. The horse doesn't need to be going at high speeds, you don't really need to jump anything unless you decide you want to (if you break your neck then its your fault) and there's usually vets in the middle of this 'race' to make sure you are not pushing the horse too far as well as resting places. Plus most riders decide to go in groups, this helps the horse relax because it is in a herd with other horses, so it will be harder for it to be nervous or spook. The terrain is pretty silent, there's no crowd clapping or someone calling directions into a microphone that can scare the horses. Riding with other people and talking as they go also calms the riders themselves, which in turn calms the horse because their 'leader' isn't scared or nervous. It's all about how long the horse can go, not how fast and this alone makes it a pretty safe ...more

This event can be very dangerous. It can be very easy to get lost and if you are alone and get hurt it may be a while before you can get help. Most of theses are also in the woods, so it is very easy for your horse to get startled and either bolt off, buck, or rear making you loose control. You and your horse also have to be very healthy and fit to do this event because the usual length is 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles.

20 Trick Riding

I do trick riding and in my opinion this it definitely the most dangerous type of riding, imagine hanging of a galloping horse!

21 Goat Tying

I am a barrel racer, pole bender, and goat tier. Barrel racing is very dangerous and I have personally been fell on. Although barrel racing is dangerous, I have been more seriously injured in goat tying. This is when you run your horse full speed and step off to tie a goat. I have gotten a concussion, broken and bruised rib along with serious knee problems just from the get off. Also the tying part is dangerous. I have broke a finger by tying it in the rope and tore ligaments in my shoulder just flipping the goat.

My sister tore her ACL doing goat tying. It dangerous, trust me. - Horsesrlife

22 Roping

Calf roping, steer roping, break away, and team roping are all super dangerous. I have witnessed arms torn out of the socket by not getting the dally in team roping or getting a bad loop and tearing something. Also you are running a horse like 6 times your weight while spinning a rope, holding on, aiming, and controlling the horse. Many fingers and arms have been broken

I know someone how had lost his fingers while roping it was because ot was in the rope and got stuck

23 Chuckwagon Races

I like to judge how dangerous a sport is by how much could go wrong and even though steeplechase, crosscountry and flat racing have huge margins of error, racing with a team of horses and a wagon at speed seems borderline insane to most people

24 Escaramuza Charra

I think is a extreme sport because you have to ride with your bough legs on the same side, like a "princes" but, with other 7 more (the team are 8) wile we perform the routin, fast and the cleanest one win... Check this in you tube!

25 Polocrosse

You are going extremely fast, bending off a horse and the slightest fall can cause a lifetime of pain.

26 Hunter Jumper

Even though Hunters are more about grace and elegance and not as challenging as eventing or show jumping, this is still a dangerous sport due to jumping over fences.

27 Saddle Seat

It's one of the less dangerous sports, but anything with horses in dangerous. I think this should at least be mentioned in the list

I do saddleseat and I love it

Unlike other equestrian disciplines, saddleseat is faster, more refined then things like jumping. The horse is trotting extremely fast while you are trying to keep as still as possible while maintaining correct equitation and keeping the horse mannered. While it is not as common as say dressage, saddleseat is a large spread discipline that, in some cases, is harder then dressage, or hunter jumping (not including show jumping), saddleseat takes extreme balance, your saddle is almost flat, while you have no handy little knee pads to hold you up like in the jumping saddle. proper saddeseat equitation is hard due to the fact that you cannot bounce in the saddle at all. Overall, I think saddleseat is not too dangerous, but very hard.

28 English Pleasure

Sure it is a pretty slow event BUT it is dangourous to even put you foot in a stirrup so why not 😂

29 Team Penning

You can fall in the middle of a herd of cows and get stepped on!

30 Bull Riding Bull Riding

Bull Riding is a very dangerous sport also, It can break bones and mess everything up.

31 Mounted Shooting

I think anything that combines horses, guns and speed is pretty dangerous. I've always wanted to try it. I've seen competition and these are barrel racing type horse and you only have one hand to control them and your trying to shoot a guns with the other. And the guys that do shotgun are even crazier, some will completely let go of the reins to shoot as the horse runs towards the gate.

32 Western Pleasure

It's slow but it uses hard bits and the horses are stronger than average

33 Ground Work

If the horse decides that it doesn’t want to be lunged it could possibly take off and give you a rash or cut on your handwhile holding the lung line or you could be toppled over. Also on the ground the horse is much bigger than you so you have to stand tall to tell them horse that you're the boss.

34 Mounted Relay Races
35 Mounted Pony Games

I do mounted pony games and in the last year I'd say I have been in under my horse and stood on by him at least 10 times. Also in this you have to hurl yourself at a pint whilst they are galloping and jump onto then and before you even have your rains or stirrups you might have to bend down and nearly touch the ground if this is not dangerous what is.

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