Genteel as they look, equestrian sports are widely regarded as the most dangerous at the Summer Olympics. The cross-country portion of the equestrian triathlon, in which rider-horse pairs traverse grounds akin to an obstacle course, is particularly perilous. If a horse’s hoof catches on a jump, the rider often tumbles, and the horse follows. When it does, the rider can quickly find himself beneath the crushing force of a 1,000-pound animal.
Of the dozen equestrians killed worldwide between 2007 and 2008, most were on the wrong end of a so-called rotational fall—an violent crash in which a horse somersaults onto its rider. The deaths prompted sport officials to implement new safety standards, including the option for riders to wear inflatable vests. Read more at Wired.