Originally Posted by jaydee
I always wear a helmet and I am non-judgmental too - however you will not see me posting anything that sounds as if I'm trying to justify other peoples decisions to not wear one...
I don't rock climb. I wouldn't consider it. But I also don't call people idiots for loving something I wouldn't think of doing. My brother-in-law rides motorcycles in city traffic daily, and will pass thru Phoenix on the weekend for the sheer FUN of riding a motorcycle...knowing that a single fall could cost him his life. He refuses to get on a horse, however, because 'horses are dangerous'!
I think too many people think helmet=safety. It is just one item, and maybe not the most important. Riding bareback increases risk, so why do it? Because it is fun? So what - it isn't as safe! People jump, and let their kids learn to jump, but statistically, jumping is probably the most dangerous thing you can do with horses. The risk of injury during jumping is far greater than the protection one receives from a helmet, so everyone who is jumping with a helmet is taking more risk than someone riding the flats without a helmet...yet how many post threads here saying no kid should be allowed to jump?
I like my helmet. It fits me fine, and is cool enough (in temperature, at least) for me to wear on a 1 hour ride. If I rode 3+ hours in the Arizona sun, I'd probably grab a cowboy hat instead. But if folks want others to convert, maybe they should simply explain why they like using a helmet instead of calling people 'idiots' and saying all kids should be required to wear one. You'd be surprised at how hard it is to make a sale to someone when you start by calling him an idiot!
But if we are going to be serious about safety and horses, then we need to look at where and how people are injured using statistics. That is the only way to see if doing X will help, or if it helps, how much it helps. In 6 years of riding, I've had one fall & one jump off my horse's back from a standstill - that being when my saddle slipped and I knew things were not going to get better. During the fall, I was wearing a cloth ball cap and didn't hurt my head. During the jump, I was wearing a helmet and didn't hurt my head. Yet that anecdotal evidence is worthless for analyzing risk. I've also been sent flying, and hit the ground hard in places with things that could hurt me, while trying to deal with a horse FROM THE GROUND. I've had 4 of those, so for me, it seems I would be better off taking my helmet off when I get ON, instead of removing it when I get OFF! And yes, there are studies that indicate we may be at greater risk when handling horses than we are in some types of riding.
When I see threads saying you need to fall 12 times to be an experienced rider, I cringe. ANY fall can be your last. There is an element of luck to every fall. I think too many people put a helmet on and then accept falling, when they would be better off to analyze each fall and figure out what the cause was and how to avoid another one.
And when people want to jump, I'm fine with it. I just find it very hypocritical for jumpers to then complain about the low safety standards of the typical western rider. I think everyone who rides should THINK about the dangers and decide for themselves how much risk they will accept in return for how much fun.
And since I rarely post without getting a picture of Mia in (
)...this was on a day when I forgot my helmet: