Anabel ~ Just wondering where you got the statistic of 50% chance of a helmet protecting your head. I'd say it would be 100% for a helmet to protect your head from serious injury!! ...
It comes from here:
"The first paper from the Radcliffe Infirmary Accident Department, Oxford8 was a retrospective study of people who sustained injuries as a result of horse riding related accidents, who attended the Accident Department and were admitted to hospital.This was followed up by a comparison 20 years later by Chitnavis et al 9 who undertook a prospective study of attendance at the Accident Department in 1991. They found a reduction in total admissions of 46% because of a fall in head injuries most likely due to the use of riding helmets.
" Spinal injuries resulting from horse riding accidents
Notice it doesn't prove the helmets actually made the reduction, just that they believe the 46% reduction came from using helmets. I've also seen 50% used elsewhere, but can't remember the study right now.
Helmets are good, but they are not 100% effective, any more than not wearing one means a 100% chance of your head exploding. My worst injury to date was when Mia bolted during a dismount, and I landed back first on some rocks the size of my fist. I was wearing a ball cap, and my head wasn't hurt at all.
Anecdotal evidence is pretty well worthless because there are anecdotes on both sides. Statistically, helmets seem to help much more than they hurt.
But if someone doesn't want to wear one, I don't think that makes them wrong, stupid, or selfish - as has been suggested on this thread and darn near every helmet thread.
...If you aren't willing to accept the fact that every time you get on the horse there is a possibility you will die or become a vegetable, regardless of safety precautions and risk mitigation measures (such as wearing a helmet) then DON'T RIDE...and not reach beyond your skill level.
That is indeed the only way to be certain. In fact, a review of statistics from the US eventers in the 90s indicated there was more risk of injury while on the ground around horses than in dressage competition. So the only way to be certain is to avoid horses all together.
Some enjoy riding without a helmet. Some enjoy jumping. Some enjoy barrel racing. All of that involves some level of increased risk. Just as walking into a corral does...
I really like the phrase "and not reach beyond your skill level". That is probably the biggest key to reducing injuries.