At the risk of getting a severe tongue lashing, I think it's worth it. And to just make things clear, I am not against wearing a helmet!
As pretty much everyone is wearing helmets now, I'm afraid there is a lot of false sense of security that has been included in with the benefits of helmets.
And this is what I mean. The last few times I've gone to the tack store I've heard conversations go like this:
kid/new rider: Why do I need a helmet?
store person/trainer/parent, etc.: Because if you fall off you won't get hurt. Or if you get kicked or stepped on, your head won't get damaged. You'll be able to ride again, because you'll still have your head attached.
I've also heard this comment/seen this attitude from a few people: (said while not paying attention to a jumpy horse) "I'm not worried if he bucks me off, that's what helmets are for"
PLEASE, when using a helmet, or teaching others about helmets make sure it's understood that they are a safety measure AND NOT an excuse to stop paying attention to your horse or do do dumb things!! They will not prevent ALL head injuries. They minimize the severarity of most, but they aren't 100%.
Here's an instance where I was able to relay this message: I was on a trail ride with a friend. She ALWAYS wears hers, I don't (you can argue with me later about that
). Anyway, we were riding side by side when her horse spooked. She fell off to the left, pushing her horse into mine. This pushed my horse & I into a tree crushing my knee and causing me to loose my stirrups. The tree I was up against had branches that had been cut off of the side making room for the trail, but leaving a knob about 3" sticking out from the trunk. Murphy's Law, this is were my head hit. And as it hit my horse took off. When he did, I slid to the ground cutting a gash on the back of my head from the sawed off branch.
Fast forward a bit, horses caught, me with a headache, riding back to the barn (took a lot more in those days to keep me down
). She started getting on my case about not having a helmet, etc. That was until we were at the doctors getting my head taken care of. Ironically, this doctor had horses, so he knew about helmets & where they sit properly on the nogin. Had I been wearing a helmet, I probably would've died from a broken neck. The helmet would've acted like a noose and hung me, instead of allowing me to fall down the tree. While still a bad accident, it could've been worse.
Yes, it was a freak accident, and I'm not trying to say don't wear a helmet. But I'm just trying to show that helmets aren't perfect, and they can get caught up in things. It happens more than you think. So please keep that in mind when thinking you're invisible when wearing one, or see others acting that way.
P.S. and just to prove that I'm NOT anti helmet, this is my daughter wearing a helmet!