Concussion and Head Injury

Concussion has become a significant public health issue, particularly relevant to sport in New Zealand and around the world.

ESNZ recognises there is a need for equestrian sport to take this seriously and as an interim measure has provided  guides to the response and treatment of concussion at national level events, training and competition.

Riding with even slight levels of impaired brain function places the rider and their colleagues at greater levels of risk. Not to mention those who may suffer delayed concussion but load their horses or themselves into a vehicle and drive home. This all requires some level of self-responsibility.

This year officials are being asked to take concussion and head injuries seriously and to not allow people to continue competing if they suspect they may have a concussion injury.

Alongside this ESNZ is developing a specific education campaign about concussion awareness and will be reviewing all general regulations and discipline rules relating to medics and first aid requirements.


  • This questionnaire is to be administered test for signs of brain injury in anyone who has had a fall in any situation (in competition or in warm-up, etc), or has had an accident where a head injury may have been sustained.
  • It tests just current or very recent memory because this is proven to be the best evidence of a brain injury
  • A rider or injured person should be questioned no sooner than 15 minutes after a fall
  • All questions must be answered correctly for them to pass the test.
  • The test can be repeated at any time, but if the person cannot pass a second test within 60 minutes of the fall, then it is considered a FAIL and they must be stood down from competition or other duties and should not drive.
  • If there are concerns about the person's condition, they must be transported to where they can get a proper medical assessment (either to Ambulance staff or ED)


You can access a downloadable copy of Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT 5) here

ACC also have a pocket guide for recognising the signs of concussion, you can download it here