Helmet. Cheap preventative item and easier to replace than my skull.
There will be occasions where the helmet is the offender that "killed" or hurt a rider, but I'll take my chances and wear one. Doesn't bother me because it fits properly and I wouldn't mind that extra sky to look at that the visor blocks out, but I'll still take the helmet.
I have jumped on my old man without a helmet while trying to rustle some cattle that torqued me off... But I feel nekkid without it lol. As much as I "know" him he still has his own brain to make his own decision and I'd rather not hurt my family if the injury were fatal or I was required to have 24/7 care.
I wear one when schooling polo ponies. I don't wear one when working cattle or checking pastures and water.
Why? Polo is a contact sport and with the speeds and jostling that goes on the chances of coming off are much higher. When working cattle or riding pastures I need the protection that my western hat gives against the sun, wind, rain, hail, snow. I wear a felt hat year round when doing the ranch thing.
I always wear a helmet because at the end of the day it has zero effect on how I ride, so I can't come up with a single reason to not wear one but I can come up with a million reasons to wear one! You know, I sometimes hear people say their helmet is too hot or it's too heavy and that's why they prefer to not wear one ... then buy a different helmet! With that said, wearing a helmet will not always protect you from serious injury and/or death but I'd rather take my chances wearing one than not.
For me it's kind of like wearing a seat belt, it's a no brainer. Just this morning two people were almost killed near me when they were ejected from their car after an accident. No seat belts, of course. I would love to sit down with them in their hospital room and ask if they still think seat belts are uncomfortable enough to warrant not wearing them. The same logic applies to wearing a helmet. Everything is fine until you fall off and split your head open then people tend to smarten up... but unfortunately for some it's too late.
I usually don't wear a helmet. Sometimes I'll wear my cowboy hat. But the horse boarder made a new rule that we have to have helmets when riding. I ussually will ride one bareback though.
On the multiple helmet threads: it's OK to have more than one. Sometimes one gets inactive or boring. Someone makes a new one and it all restarts again. I think it's good to have more than one thread because then you may have different answers from the same person. It's all good ;)
My husband and I both began riding w/o helmets. It only took a short time before we just felt we needed them. We have heard too many horror stories. It's like wearing a seat belt in the car, everyone is fine as long as nothing happens.
Now I feel naked w/o the helmet.
I sweat like a piggy under the helmet, but I have short hair and I take a tiny bottle of hair freshener in my cantle bag. If we are on a group ride, I spritz my hair when I take the helmet off. I feel it's just part of the responsibility of ownership.
I wear one, its the way we were raised. Usually the instant I think "I should not wear/find my helmet he will be fine.." is the day I get bucked off. I also prefer to wear one when driving horses as well. I know someone who went driving, the horse spooked over a tree. The driver ended up under the cart and could not remember what happened. His helmet was in three pieces. He went to the doctor, showed the Dr. At the hospital his helmet. The doctors response was "good thing you were wearing this because your head would split the exact same way." I was young and that left an impression.