Most equine-related injuries occur while riding, however, many accidents take place in and around the barn as well. Serious injuries can occur while walking around the barn especially if you are carrying your saddle, hay, or any additional equine supplies. According to the National Safety Council, you don’t have to fall from a particular height to injure yourself. Figures from a recent year showed that nearly 140,000 time-off-work injuries were caused by falls without elevation.100 of these same-level falls were fatal in the same year. Now we are not saying you can prevent every fall, but you can at least minimize the risk by following some of our recommendations.
Small simple changes can be the difference between going for a ride on your horse and going for a ride to the hospital. We recommend removing all nonessential items from barn aisle ways. This includes tack trunks, buckets, empty feed bags, and anything else that can get caught under your feet. Not only will doing this help keep you safe, but also your horses! You’ll be able to lead horses past one another safely, and horses in the crossties will not step on things that are in the way.
The type of flooring can greatly impact the risk of slips and falls. Flooring that is textured and cushioned is a great way to help reduce injuries for both you and our equine friends. Sterling Equine has several different barn flooring solutions that can improve any equestrian facility. While many facilities have concrete aisles with texture, it can still be slippery when wet and the texture can wear away through the years. In addition it is an unforgiving surface when a fall does occur or a slip by a horse. A great solution is to use rubber pavers or interlocking rubber mats. Rubber pavers create a cushioned non-slip surface, even when wet, that also reduces noise. Interlocking rubber mats are preferred over straight edge mats. Straight edge mats are more likely to curl, buckle, and move which will increase your chance of a slip or fall.
When it comes to the high traffic entrances, paddock entrances and pathways around your facility, Permagrid is a great solution. Permagrid increases drainage and footing stability which will decrease mud and standing water. Permagrid has been tested and is capable of bearing the passage of a category SLW 60 heavy duty truck. Sufficient load bearing capacity of the ground according to the provisions of ZTV SoB 04  is a prerequisite. The tested ground reinforcements are suited for application in fire lanes and parking areas for heavy utility vehicles.
Another simple way to reduce accidental falls is to make sure you have proper lighting in and around the barn. Especially during the winter months when the daylight hours are shorter! Sterling Equine product line of interior lights are a great way to make well-lit aisle way and tack rooms which will allow for safer visibility when bringing in horses from turnout in the early mornings or late evenings.
Many injuries around the barn are avoidable. Following and implementing some of the above tips should reduce your fall risk greatly! Whether it is just picking up things around the barn to get rid of the clutter or switching to cushioned, non-slip surfaces, your number one concern as a barn owner should be safety.