FWIW (and I had never heard of this guy until this thread):
"1. Between 1999-2002 there were 76 fatal injuries to youth under 20 years. The most frequent cause of death and serious injury is head injuries.
2. Over 23,000 youth (under 20) are injured every year.
3. The severity of equestrian injuries is greater than other sports-related injuries.
4. Between 20% - 30% of the injuries are while dismounted while leading, grooming or playing around the horse – and most of those are by being kicked.
Let's bring this down to earth - what should we do about it? Here are a few points you can ponder:
1. To wear or not to wear a hard shell helmet
. With so many injuries and deaths caused by head trauma it can literally save your life. I know it's not sexy and all. But why do you think football players, motorcycle riders and race car drivers wear helmets? I do not wear a helmet unless working with a known bucker or troubled horse. My choice." - Rick Gore Horsemanship-Think Like a Horse-Rick Gore Horsemanship
But he also writes this:
"I love horses, but they are freaking DANGEROUS. Don't underestimate the gravity of this statement. They will kill themselves if they are scared and trapped, if they think they can get away. It is their nature. So people want to wear a plastic helmet and feel safe. A helmet will not stop your neck or back from getting broke. It will not stop you from breaking a hip or leg. It will not help keep you stay in the saddle or stop your from being dragged with a foot in the stirrup when you fall off. A helmet gives a "false since of security" and causes people to do things they would not normally do without a helmet, because they FEEL safe. This is bad when it comes to horses. A horse does not care if your head is protected or if you ride him in a Styrofoam body suit. If he gets nervous, scared or feels you are not in control and you are putting his safety in jeopardy, he will take charge and react. And when he does it will be with extreme force and strength and you and your safety will be of no consideration to him." Horsemanship-Think Like a Horse-Rick Gore Horsemanship
Speaking for myself only, I have never said to myself, "Since I've got a helmet on, I'm safe!" I've had two falls, one with and one without a helmet, and on the one without I landed about 18 inches from rocks that would have killed or crippled me if I had landed there with either back or head. That was why I started wearing helmets. It would not have hurt, and it may have helped.
When I had to get off Mia while moving a couple of months back, I was glad I had a helmet - but I needed to get off regardless. She was getting more agitated, not less, and staying on longer wasn't going to make things better. I didn't make the decision based on wearing a helmet, but I was sure glad I was - although I landed on my feet. (And as soon as Mia saw me, she came back and wanted me to take care of her...so why not while I was on her back? Oh well.)
Anyone saying 'I wear a helmet, I am invincible!' would deserve what they get, but who says it?