Equestrian Medical Safety Association

Our History

EMSA's Organizational History

The Equestrian Medical Safety Association (EMSA) is dedicated to the safety of persons in all equestrian activities through education, research and providing information resources.

In 2012, EMSA moved most of its activity online. The formerly printed newsletter (see archives) went paperless online in 2009. EMSA seeks to continue to broaden its membership to everyone engaging in horse related activities. The association’s goal is to open and maintain an online conversation among those who have cutting edge educational safety and prevention information and research including the medical, technical and first responder communities and all those involved in equine activities seeking safety information and practice. The goal of our Resource Directory section is to provide area resources.

In 2007 the prior AMEA/SRF (American Medical Equestrian Association/ Safe Riders Foundation) underwent a name-only change to the EMSA (Equestrian Medical Safety Association).  The BOD (Board of Directors) felt that this was a briefer more inclusive title.  Although the EMSA is still a potentially awkward title, the organization, like its predecessor, is dedicated to equestrian safety. At that time the organization went paperless including the three times a year Newsletter

In 2003, the SRF (Safe Riders Foundation) and the AMEA (American Medical Equestrian Association) joined forces to form the AMEA/SRF. The group’s mission has remained with the final name change in 2008 to the Equestrian Medical Safety Association (EMSA). EMSA has provided education, research review and assistance by way of its members expertise to improve the safety of all those involved with horses. Throughout the years, the membership has broadened with a proactive approach to accident reduction and risk management relative to horses. In 2007, members of a concussion task force established the “Wake up to Concussion” protocol (brochure and palm card) and return to play criteria for those individuals returning to horse sports following a concussion. This protocol was adopted by a variety of horse disciplines and all three of the Olympic horse sports for competition in the U.S.

Through the 1990s, the organization conducted continuing medical education courses on horse-related topics, annual meetings with research presentations. The organization broadened its membership to include helmet manufacturers as well as people from various backgrounds including mounted police and those that farmed or ranched with horses. Again the organization was instrumental in changing competition rules to require helmet use (and now harness helmet use) in several disciplines and for helmet requirements for junior riders in a number of disciplines. Several members of the Equestrian Medical Safety Association continued to participate in setting safety equipment evaluation standards and in aiding government agencies in drafting reasonable liability legislation across the country.

The Equestrian Medical Safety Association (under an earlier name) was started in the 1970s by a group of equine interested physicians. This dynamic group looked at a wide variety of safety issues encountered by horse people. They were proactive in promoting helmet use, working to establish helmet testing and manufacturing standards and informing legislatures responsible for enacting horse liability laws.

Our membership is made up of riders, coaches, instructors, educational institutions, physicians, nurses, first responders, researchers, manufacturers and others dedicated to safe associations with horses. Anyone who is interested in competition or pleasure, trail riding, driving or any other activity involved in enjoying horses please join us. The membership section contains the details, but individual membership is only $25/year and organizational membership is $100/year. Encourage those in your barn to join.

The larger the EMSA organization, the more diverse the membership offering including the opportunity to network and offer assistance more effectively becomes. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated and help the Equestrian Medical Safety Association to continue its work.