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Healthcare issues for the horse industry in Lexington

Horses rearing and biting at each other.
Horses rearing and biting at each other.
Vickie Palmer

Many horse professionals are forced out of business because of lack of health insurance. Of the 100,000 jobs in the horse industry in Kentucky, large percentages are self-employed and cannot afford health insurance. According to Jane Crossan, Vice President, Financial Services Practice, The Nielsen Company, Lexington, Kentucky ranks number 201, that’s in the top 20 states without insurance. The cost of a hospital visit for a broken finger would set you back about $5,000 without insurance, then add the wages lost because of the injury. A business could definitely be jeopardized by this minor medical problem. Those in the veterinarian field are offered some assistance by the AVMA, but many farriers, trainers, exercise riders, jockeys, etc go without insurance.

Horseback riding is one of the top 10 most dangerous sports according to many surveys. Health professionals see head injuries as the most common problem for horse related sports. Helmets help protect against head trauma and protective vests deter injuries to the upper body. Sprained ankle (dismounting), broken finger (hanging on to a lead rope when horse pulls away), broken foot (stepped on), and broken skin needing stitches (horse bite) are all common injuries.

Horseback riding, horse sports events or just being around a horse can be very dangerous. If you do not pay close attention you could be kicked, bit, bucked or reared off, stepped on, or ran into a gate. Be sure to carry Windex and Duct tape with you if you do not have health insurance.