Air ambulance crews are urging riders to stay safe this spring after a recent spike in equestrian accidents.

Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) and Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) have both reported an increase in riding incidents they have been called to attend.

DLRAA saw a 66% rise in equestrian accidents during April compared to March this year. WNAA recorded a 62% increase across the same period.

“As the spring weather warms up and people get into the competition season, it is really important to remember to put on your safety gear before going out,” said critical care paramedic Philippa Gibbs.

Equestrian accidents remain the most common sports-related incidents both air ambulance units attend. DLRAA were called to 90 accidents involving riders last year, while WNAA assisted 62 injured riders.

In Case of Emergency cards

The air ambulances will be giving away In Case of Emergency (ICE) cards to riders this spring to encourage safe riding practices.

ICE cards help paramedics and health workers in emergency situations by containing any medical information that might be important, as well as contact details of family members.

The air ambulance advises that the cards, made from coated carboard and business card-sized, are carried in a clearly visible position, such as in an armband.

If this is not an option, riders are advised carry the cards in a pocket or inside their hat.

“ICE cards can help alert medical staff to important information about your health, and also identify you that much faster,” explained Philippa.

“This can be particularly important if an accident has happened in a remote location and there is limited information about your identity available.”

The air ambulance’s ICE cards come attached to a leaflet that contains safety tips for riders.

To get your own ICE card, call 08454 130999 or email enquiries@theairambulanceservice.org.uk and provide your name and address to have one sent out to you.

The cards will also be available for riders to collect at Chatsworth International Horse Trials (15-17 May) and at Rockingham International Horse Trials (22-24 May).

For more information visit: www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/ice