Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing: A German study shows that riders are more likely to wear helmets and be safety conscious if their fellow equestrians have similar habits and views.
In an online survey, the researchers asked 2,572 riders about their equestrian activities in general and their perception of related risks, as well as their attitudes toward protective gear, the use of safety equipment and other safety-related issues.
The data showed that, not surprisingly, riders who indicated that safety was a priority were more likely to wear helmets. Likewise, the most influential variable when it came to a rider’s habits and attitudes was his or her attitude toward safety equipment. However, the attitudes of other riders at the same stable were also very important---the impact of this peer group was the second most influential variable in the study.
The researchers note that this influence “provides a valuable starting point for the promotion of safety behavior … trainers, stable managers and horse sport associations are asked to inform their pupils, members and clients about safety … to reduce safety-related prejudices and establish a positive security culture among the riders in a stable.”
Reference: “Factors influencing the safety behav-ior of German equestrians: Attitudes towards protective equipment and peer behaviors,” Animals, February 2016
This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #471, December 2016.