Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
I voted for 'leave me alone', although I've worn a helmet all the time for the last 2 years.
I rode a little when visiting ranches 30 years ago, and I don't think anyone even thought about a helmet. I took jumping lessons for a few months (until the military transferred me) 25 years ago, and the subject never came up - although I'll admit, the 'lessons' were horrible...just get on the horse and try to jump and see what happens.
At 52, I wear a helmet because I relax more when I do so. But anecdotal evidence isn't worth much. The one time I fell off a horse, I did so without a helmet. I landed 12 inches from a bunch of jagged rocks. My hip is still sore, but my head was fine - does that mean I should wear hip pads instead of a helmet? If I had landed 2 feet over, my back would have slammed into jagged rocks 18+ inches across, probably breaking my back. Does that mean I should wear a body protector every time I ride? Does a cracked helmet mean your skull would have cracked, or that the plastic did? Your noggin is actually pretty tough.
I posted a thread last week about stirrup position. I've been told since I first tried riding that the stirrup went on the ball of the foot because otherwise your foot would get caught in the stirrup...but then I read that steeplechase riders, polo riders, cutters and others ride with the foot 'home' in the stirrup. That is some pretty vigorous riding to do if that position means a fall will result in your being drug. I looked for statistics, but couldn't find any.
I understand that a horse can go ballistic at any time. After all, I'm teaching myself to ride by buying Arabians and riding - believe me, I KNOW. If safety was my goal, I'd stay on the ground. And a helmet? Well, I wear one 99% of the time. But I'm really tired of the idea that everything needs to be safe. In the 60s, I tried riding my bicycle off the roof. Don't recommend it to anyone, but all it got me was, "That hurt, didn't it - bet you won't try that again!"
My parents, and most of the parents I knew back then, were of the "If the blood isn't squirting, and the bone isn't poking out, you aren't REALLY hurt" school of thought. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I miss that approach to life.