Thursday, August 18, 2016

FCE Rider Safety Survey Part II

Ok let's dig into a few more data elements from the survey. Starting with identifying our actual response group. Unsurprisingly, the survey got the most responses on the first day it was published (114 of 288 responses).

Over the next couple days it picked up a few more both from this blog and from those of you who shared the survey elsewhere (thank you!) - netting another 74 after two more days. Eventing Nation shared the survey to garner 84 new responses, and the rest (16) trickled in over the remaining days before the survey closed.


By the nature of 'Fraidy Cat Eventing's audience here, and the share from Eventing Nation, the survey received responses primarily from eventers, many of whom dabble in dressage. Nearly a third are h/j riders, and there were many write-in responses for western disciplines (including reining and breed shows), trail riding, and fox hunting.


It's notable that some of the answers on the gear question from Part I can be explained by the distribution of preferred disciplines among survey respondents.

For example, full seat breeches and rubberized reins elicited more responses than knee patch breeches or laced reins - likely due more to their popularity and common use with eventers and dressage riders. Tho there is a slight difference in proportions, it's not actually as large as that chart would make it seem.

I was curious to see if this variation in preferred disciplines would play a role in how riders choose new helmets.

The survey asked: On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the most important, what is most important to you when purchasing a riding helmet?


This was particularly interesting because these results stayed the same regardless of preferred discipline. It was a close race between Fit and Certification / Approvals, but those two factors hold a strong lead over any other choice.



Of note: the only measure in which this helmet priority order shifted was when considering age.

Riders in the 65-75 and under-15 age groups ranked Price as "least important." Perhaps because the under-15 riders aren't paying the bills? Or the 65-75 riders are beyond pinching pennies? Either way, those two age groups were very small and therefore subject to higher degrees of skew.

And the race between Fit and Certifications / Approvals was closest in the 25-35 age bracket.

More helmet tidbits:

  • 91% of survey respondents wear a helmet every ride
  • 98% wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet (when they wear one)
  • And 58% research their helmets beyond learning whether they are ASTM/SEI certified before purchasing.

Survey respondents also reaffirmed what we already know: To ride means to fall.

I should clarify that just one person reported having never fallen off - so while I think it's safe to say that person was probably an outlier, they're included here for the sake of transparency in reporting. Otherwise we might expect to see this stat reading "100% of riders have fallen off."

  
Regardless, basically all riders have fallen off, and just over half have done so within the past year.

What surprised me, tho, was how few report a fall-related injury in the past year - just 16% (44 respondents). I'm not sure why I expected that number to be larger, and I'm not trying to say that 44 injuries is insignificant by any means. It's interesting, tho.

And of those survey respondents who were injured in a fall,

  • 19% believe that different equipment could have reduced the impact of the fall.
  • And 10% believe that different equipment could have prevented the fall.


These stats further reaffirm what we already know: When riding horses, accidents will happen. And sometimes those accidents will result in injury. Safety gear and equipment are not enough to prevent accidents from happening, but they play an important role in risk mitigation.

Stay tuned for still a little more to come - mostly as it relates to rider opinions surrounding different behaviors and activities. 

26 comments:

  1. This is super fun. I'm so glad you're doing this - I love it! Looking forward to more analysis.

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    1. thanks! still a little more left to muddle through haha. i'm enjoying that the findings from the survey are a neat mix between "yea i totally expected that" and "huh that's interesting!"

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  2. I was a little frustrated that I couldn't have fit and certification as number one. Because I'm not buying a helmet that isn't certified and/or doesn't fit. That being said I would be interested in seeing how long the person who has never fallen off has ridden. My first thought was well they haven't ridden long enough. Can't wait to see more!

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    1. karen said the same thing about fit and certification. frankly i was surprised style was so low. the last couple times i went out to buy a helmet i had a pretty clear idea of what i wanted. like "i am shopping for a skull cap." then built off of that. of course the assumption was always that it would have to fit and be ASTM/SEI approved so idk...

      regarding the rider who has never fallen, they reported riding for 10+ years.

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    2. That is impressive! I've never made it 10 years without falling off. Even if you count my six(ish) year break in there 😂

      I feel like there are so many helmet options now that you can find just about any style within a reasonable price range which is why that may have been bumped down the list.

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    3. ha you and the other 287 respondents are in the same boat for falling lol. (me too, for that matter! i'm already at 4 falls just since spring lol)

      and i do ultimately agree with you about helmet options. still tho. there's much to be said about how individuals respond to questions about themselves in surveys, and how individuals actually behave in reality. and we reeeeeally don't see an awful lot of those economically priced but still certified vented plastic troxel type helmets out there haha. the "ROOTD" culture is very real, but perhaps naturally gets suppressed in a survey like this.

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  3. I find it really interesting the number of falls within the last year, and how many were injured.

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    1. meeeeee toooo. i plan to explore that further in the next segment, looking specifically at how rider attitudes might change based on whether they have fallen in the last year or been injured.

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  4. My inner datawhore just wet its pants. I love this post.

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  5. Yay stats!
    Fair play for working this all out its si interesting

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    1. i'm definitely enjoying sifting through it!

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  6. Imagine what the responses would be on a larger scale! SO cool

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    1. definitely! tho actually the sample size is quite good - plenty for drawing conclusions. and the biggest findings haven't shifted much from the earliest responses (like the key findings from part 1, and the helmet priority order and ratio of riders who have fallen in the past year).

      possibly some findings could be improved by a more representative distribution (for instance, we can't learn too much by what the fringes of the age groups think bc there are too few of them; nor could we confidently use this survey to assert how endurance riders feel about gear) but for my purposes, this sample is FANTASTIC!! :D

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  7. nice analysis. As a person who's 52 I didn't rank price high. At this point I don't have to pinch (as much) and I know that sometimes paying more is worth is. That said,l have never paid more than $200 for a helmet.

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    1. that seems totally fair and like a pretty honest response. as i mentioned in a different comment, i'm a little skeptical of the responses to that question, particularly as they relate to 'style.' price is ranked higher, tho i tend to believe most riders set a budget that's high enough to get them something within the style types they want. so it's hard to say what's really the priority there. idk tho. the data is what it is!

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  8. Such a cool thing you are doing Emma!

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    1. Lol yay! I love it when I can just use data to inform my opinions lol

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  10. I'm loving your analysis! The low injury numbers caught my attention too. I wonder if it has to do with how you personally define injury. Every time I've fallen off, I've felt pain; in my back, in my shoulder, etc. depending on how I fell. However, I wouldn't consider those injuries since the pain subsided after a few days and didn't require a trip to the doctor. Others may call those injuries. Maybe we are all just stoic badasses.

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    1. actually i think you've hit the nail on the head. if you asked me if i've been injured in the past year in a fall, i would definitely say no. and i believe that to be correct. no concussions, no broken bones (well, aside from *that* one... but that wasn't a fall off a horse...), no soft tissue injuries, etc etc. and i think that's a pretty standard attitude for riders.

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  11. It would be interesting to see how the data might change (if at all) if the number of respondents was higher per discipline that wasn't eventing!

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    1. definitely agree! the data would certainly change - especially considering eventing is both perceived as, and in reality *is*, a riskier sport than some other disciplines.

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