Gympie veterinarian Ted Fisher believes people need to be more aware around horses.
Gympie veterinarian Ted Fisher believes people need to be more aware around horses. Scott Kovacevic

Afraid of sharks and spiders? Horses cause more death

SHARKS, snakes and spiders might be the stuff of our darkest nightmares, but it seems one of our deadliest animals has been hiding in plain sight.

From 2000 to 2013, more Australians were killed by horses than the other three combined, with 74 dying after being thrown or trampled according to research from Melbourne University.

While the numbers are eye opening, Gympie veterinarian Ted Fisher said it was wrong to blame the animals for people being injured or killed.

"This is the peoples' fault, not the horses' fault.

"They have no experience with horses."

His career spent working with horses and large animals, Mr Fisher said people underestimated their horse's temperament, with dangerous consequences.

"Somebody said to me the other day, half the people around here... shouldn't have a horse, they know nothing about it, and are having trouble with it."

While he said the Gympie region was quite good when it came to horse safety with plenty of riding clubs around, even those with experience could be seriously hurt.

In 2014, popular Gympie jockey Desiree Gill died when she was thrown from her mount during a race at Caloundra.

In May last year, 31-year-old Corella farmer Michelle Ross had a lucky escape when she was kicked in her pregnant belly, while 15-year-old Jessica Friske was airlifted to Nambour Hospital with head injuries after a fall while competing.

A two-year-old boy was also airlifted after being kicked at Moy Pocket.

At the most basic level, Mr Fisher said people who wanted to buy a horse should consider its temperament and reliability first and foremost.

"If you're spending $1000 on a horse, you should spend $850 on temperament, $100 on the legs, and $50 on the rest of it," he said.

Deaths (2000-2013)

Horses 74

Snakes 27

Sharks 26

Bees 25

Crocodiles 19

Spiders 0

Gympie Times

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