Riding Hat or Cowboy Hat? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 04:24 PM
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I think you should just own your decision one way or the other. Either wear a cowboy hat or a riding helmet. Like you, I think that most of the "cowboy" helmets look stupid.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #12 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 04:56 PM
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We English riders feel a riding hat to be obligatory - indeed not to wear one would be irresponsible. However back in the olden days when I used to ride Western, I did use a stiff cowboy hat which I suppose gave a degree of protection to my head - but not enough for my liking these days.

Nowadays I see some Western riders wearing a jockey's skull cap on top of which sits a regular Western hat - be it a size or two larger than normally worn.

But think on the positive side. There you are wearing one of those pretty cotton Texan blouses; an embroidered waistcoat, a pair of sharp levis fitted with a smartly tooled wide leather belt and a large silver buckle and on your feet a pair of shiney high heeled tooled leather boots with pointed toes.
Of course your hair will always be left to flutter in the breeze around your shoulders.

Now if the horse is a palomino or a pretty paint- you'll definitely look the part - even if you are wearing a rather large hat.

Go to it.
Barry G

Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 10-17-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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post #13 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 04:59 PM
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My personal vote, wear a helmet, if you don't think that you'll fit in by not wearing a Cowboy hat, how much more difficult will it be to fit in when you are sitting in a chair drooling and drinking all your meals through a straw because brain damage has affected you that badly??
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post #14 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 05:30 PM
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I've seen some of the western hat/safety helmet hybrids. I think that in order to get the hat totally covering the helmet, it makes the hat too big. That is why they look silly

Eventers and long distance riders use the riding helmets, whether they ride english or western and they look okay.

I wear one when I'm riding with my western saddle and even if my fellow riders snigger, I just smile and continue. I don't care what they think, I'm protecting my brain!

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #15 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 06:30 PM
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What about something like this? Has a western feel and will protect your noggin. Kinda spendy, but hey, you asked!

Or if you don't want to spend so much, there's this, and I think it's really attractive too (of course I'm assuming you're a girl!):
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post #16 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 06:47 PM
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I am of the same mind as Kevin. I don't wear a helmet but I would never fault others who do. OP, you should wear whichever you want to wear. If you feel the need to wear a helmet, then do and don't concern yourself with what others say about you. If you want to wear a cowboy hat, then do and don't concern yourself with what others say about you.

There will always be people to stand up and scream "You're wrong!!" no matter what choice you make, so make the choice for your own reasons, not anyone else's.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #17 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 06:50 PM
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You need to think about what sort of riding you do, and what is an acceptable risk to you. Think overall risk.

Helmets entered the riding world via jumping. Jumping with horses has anywhere from 10 to 80 times the risk of head injury that riding on the flats does. I looked at a number of studies, and I suspect the real number would be around 20 times the risk.

Also, English saddles are associated with higher risk. The studies I saw don't mention if that is due to jumping, or saddle design. An English jump saddle certainly provides less help than a western one does when things turn ugly.

Someone riding flats in a western saddle and cowboy hat has a much lower risk of head injury than someone jumping while wearing a helmet. That is a fact. But if you fall, helmets reduce the risk of injury by around 50%. So you need to decide what your risk of falling is, and if you want to wear a helmet to reduce the risk of head injury after a fall.

Where I live, the trails are very rocky. You couldn't pay me to ride these trails without a helmet. In an arena, I don't mind using a cowboy hat. Unless I'm riding my mare, who panics a lot. Then I ride a helmet. If I'm riding an English saddle, I wear a helmet 100% of the time. Australian or Western, maybe not. Overall risk.

I will say that when I ride without a helmet, I'm probably more safety conscious than I am when I wear one. I don't know why.
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post #18 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 07:08 PM
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If you are going to wear the hat riding and generally i am going to but this one.
Down Under Oilskin Australian Hat - Horse.com
I saw this girl at the Vermont Trail Trotter hunter pace and loved the hat and looks great. And she was English riding. Looks like a good riding and general wear english/ western hat.

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post #19 of 29 Old 10-17-2011, 11:06 PM
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If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said no helmet. I never rode a helmet when riding when I was younger and all I did was trail riding.

Then I worked at the Girl Scout horse camp last fall. Everyone, scouts and wranglers alike, was required to wear a helmet when riding, whether it was on the trail or in the arena. These were dead-broke polo ponies/trail horses that we were riding. Anyway, I got so used to riding with a helmet on that now I feel weird without one.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I got thrown from another boarder's horse. It was the first time in a year I wasn't wearing a helmet. I ended up smacking the back of my head HARD on the hard-packed ground of the round pen. I didn't get a concussion, but it did "ring my bell" (as the PA at the ER said) and ever since it happened, I've gotten headaches more frequently than I ever have before. Now, I feel very vulnerable without a helmet, even on my VERY quiet, calm gelding.

Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #20 of 29 Old 10-18-2011, 05:08 AM
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I keep my old riding hat on the shelf in my tack room. Around the base where it covers the point where the skull meets the spine, there is a line of pieces of grit embedded into the plastic rim where the helmet, protecting my head, hit the ground. Whenever I talk about the subject of protective head gear with someone, the chances are I'll go and get that helmet just to prove a point.

As BSMS has said, the English cut saddle does not give the purchase that the Western saddle gives and the modern way of riding English doesnt help. The Aussie saddles with the deep kneerolls are perhaps the best compromise.

But banging the head hard brings about other problems. The sub concious brain says:
"Oi, that's a stupid thing to do to a sensitive computor".

Quite often when the rider has recovered physically from a fall - that's when the bruises have gone down- the brain is saying:
So tension in the rider creeps in and once that happens, the horse asks:
"Why are you tensing up?"
There are numerous threads on the HF talking about tension following a fall.

I asked a stuntman friend how he coped with falling off horses for a livliehood.
He said the only way to do it 'safely' was to pad himself up and throw himself forwards off the saddle, as though he was diving off a board in a swimming pool. He'd prepare the spot for the fall by digging a hole and filling it with cardboard boxes. Then he'd direct the horse alongside the hole and simply 'fly off' in front of the cameras. He would aim to land belly first with hands out in front to protect the face and head.
I decided not to try for myself.

If the rider gets thrown off by a shy or stumble, the chances are that the rider will hit the ground on his shoulder or upper back - and the full impetus of the fall won't have dissipated until the back of the head hits the ground. BANG!.

The price of hitting the head can be high. But perhaps the worst price is having a horse which you are suddenly frightened to ride.

Don't risk it - ever.

PS We'll discuss spinal injuries at some other time.
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xxBarry Godden is offline  

cowboy hat , hat , riding hat , safety , western

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