Law 1 – A horse can kill or hurt you.
A horse can kill or hurt you, which needs no proof. Until about 100 years ago, everyone used horses to shape human civilization. It is hard for many of you to imagine a world without cars, trucks and planes, but in 1900, humans used horses and ships worldwide to go anywhere. Trains were in their infancy. I have not seen a statistic for the number of injuries and deaths from horses in those times, but I would assume it was high. About 3750 people worldwide die in traffic accidents every day (1,350,000 people per year). If we were still using horses rather than cars, trucks or motorcycles, then the rate per capita (percent of the population) would be higher.
Not included in the fatality rate are injuries from infected cuts to broken bones to permanent disfigurement. We are all aware of this, yet we don’t think about it because of something called “probability neglect.” This concept is where we are more fearful of things that scare us, even though the probability and statistics don’t support our fear. A great example of probability neglect is the lack of fear of getting into a car, even though the chance of being killed is rather high. But some people won’t fly in a plane because they are afraid of it crashing, even though the number of deaths from plane crashes is comparatively low.
Farm animals, including horses, cause 201 deaths in a year. But there were over 1 million visits to the emergency room for injuries caused by horses in a year. So with a good chance of being injured by a horse, why do we still get around them? The answer is probability neglect. The probability of being injured around a horse is high, but we love being around them, so we neglect the probability.
The solution is to learn how to reduce the probability of becoming injured or even killed by horses. This section on horsemanship is all about safety around the horse. You will reduce the probability of becoming a hospital statistic through thoughtful actions.