Reducing the Economic Impact of Injuries

Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors cost €595. It appears to be quite an expense, but when you realize how much money you could save with it, it’s actually good value. By training with Ipos Rein Sensors, you can recognize injuries at an early stage and, thus, prevent worsening of them. Injuries cost professional sport horse trainers an average of €5,077 per year, private horse owners € 2,258 per year, and riding school horse owners an average of €4,506 per horse per year. This is the amount that you could save each year by riding with Ipos Technology's Rein Sensors. A price of €595 suddenly doesn’t seems so high!

Dutch equestrian sports generate a turnover of between one-and-a-half and two billion euros per year. The demand for Dutch-bred sport horses is significant internationally, as well as within the Netherlands. Sale is, therefore, the most frequent reason for a horse to end its sports career, particularly if it is Dutch-bred. The second most frequent reason for the end of a horses competitive career is for veterinary reasons. This is mostly due to injuries. The most common injuries are tendon injuries, osteoarthritis or trauma. How often these injuries occur has been determined on the basis of various investigations, both in the Netherlands and in other countries. On average, 15.3% of professionally held sport horses and horses in private ownership suffer a tendon injury each year. A horse in these categories has a 7.4% chance every year to develop osteoarthritis and a 0.9% chance of sustaining trauma (wounds and broken bones). In riding school horses, injuries are even more common. A riding school horse has a 69% chance of developing a tendon injury. The chance per year of developing osteoarthritis is 11.5%, and the chance of a wound or bone fracture is 11.9%.

To calculate how much money the horse industry could save by preventing injuries, we have multiplied the chance of an injury per year by the total cost per injury. This is how the economic impact of injuries can be estimated.

Economic impact calculation

In total, injuries cost the horse industry in the Netherlands, €854 million per year, which amounts to an average of €2,608 per horse, per year. This is more than half of the total annual turnover of equestrian sport in The Netherlands. When we examine the different types of horse owners, a private horse owner spends more on treatment costs than a riding school owner. And a (elite) sport horse loses more value than a recreational horse when it has been injured. This is why we have further divided the costs per type of owner.

Lot's of horse owners know the worry of having an injured horse


A private horse owner, with an eight-year-old horse that is used for competition has a 23.6% chance that their horse will be injured in its eighth year. The average age at which this type of horse is injured for the first time is 8.7 years.

The owner will go to the vet with the injured horse and a diagnosis will be made. In many cases, it can turn out to be a tendon injury, the horse then requires walking in hand twice a day. We have not included any costs for this, because of course, responsible horse owners willingly do this to assist their horses recovery. However, it does involve an element of time, which of course may have indirect cost implications for some. The horse is likely to need special hoof-wear and painkillers, and some owners may opt for shockwave therapy to promote recovery of the tendon.

After five weeks, the owner will require a return visit from the vet for a check-up. In the event of a tendon injury, the treatment costs amount to an average of €981 (depending upon the severity). It often takes three months for the horse to be declared completely sound again, and only then can the owner begin slowly with training again towards previous levels. Despite the fact that the owner is very unlikely to sell the horse, its value will have decreased after the injury. This is mainly because the chance of the horse being re-injured is high. Official horse valuators estimate the average depreciation for this privately kept horse at €6,000.

The total economic impact of tendon injuries in horses from private owners in The Netherlands is, thus: 267,200 (number of horses in private ownership) x 15.29% (prevalence tendon injury) = 40,863 (number of horses with a tendon injury per year) x (€981 + €6,000) (treatment costs and financial loss) = €285 million euros per year.

Economic impact per type of owner

We have calculated the economic impact per type of owners as described in the example above. We took into account specific cost items and varying values ​​of horses. In the table below, you will find the costs per type of owner, per horse, per year.

Explanation of table: * The number of injured horses is the total number of times that a tendon injury, osteoarthritis or trauma occur in a year. Other injuries are not considered, because here is too little data available, the actual numbers are probably higher. The treatment costs and recovery time differ per type of injury. ** Costs consist of loss of income, financial loss, treatment costs, costs for extra work and extra direct costs.

How can Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors prevent injuries?

As it gives an early warning of injuries, Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors can contribute to reducing the economic impact of injuries in equestrian sports. In addition to an economic benefit for horse owners, this improves horse welfare and reduces the emotional damage that injuries entail.

1. Recognize the injury.

2. Take a break after even mild symptoms.

3. Train your horse specifically.

4. Take action.

Recognize an injury

Research shows that horse owners often do not realize that their horse is irregular. In a UK study, irregularities were found in 47% of the horses, while the owners had reported that their horse was regular. Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors can recognize an irregular rhythm, which is often a sign of an injury. In this way, injuries can be detected faster, so that horses can receive rest and treatment at the most appropriate time and any worsening is prevented.

In case of mild symptoms, take a break immediately

Horses that do not receive rest or treatment with mild symptoms have a greater chance that a training will have to be stopped in the longer term. It is, therefore, essential to give horses a rest period immediately when they signal a seemingly small injury, to prevent prolonged breaks in training. In a study carried out in The Netherlands on the health of privately owned horses and riding school horses during normal training conditions, 41% of the horses that had a lengthy breakfrom training due to veterinary reasons had already noticed symptoms of an injury during the study period, but did not give the horse a temporary training break. The horses that did receive a temporary training break during the study were all free from a lengthy training break. Ipos Technology’s Rein Sensors can assist in the timely inclusion of a resting period by rapidly detecting mild irregularities. This can prevent a lengthy training break later.

Train specifically

Horses that are not trained specifically have a greater chance of being injured than horses that are trained precisely for the demands of their discipline. From a study conducted by Dr. C. Munster from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, it is clear that the fitness of a horse during training is a determining factor in the prevention of injuries. Horses with a good level of fitness are less likely to get injured than horses with an average level of fitness. Regular measurement of training can make a big contribution towards improving the fitness of the horse, and so the chance of injuries can be reduced. The Ipos Technology Rein Sensors and Training App can help monitor the training and provide information about the fitness of the horse.

Take action

Research carried out by C. Lönnell, from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden, shows that not recognizing or not intervening in case of slight lameness will always lead to higher treatment costs later. By taking action in case of mild lameness, treatment costs will be reduced, and recovery time will be shorter. Do not assume that it will all heal without action, if in doubt, give the horse a couple of days rest. If it doesn’t get better then, call your vet.


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