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Helmet importance - Why?

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        12-14-2011, 03:24 AM
      #91
    Foal
    I'm not really sure why you are comparing a totally different person riding with a different skill set on a different horse, in a different discipline to you riding your horse and how safety statistics equates. You're trying to combine two sets of statistics.

    The very basis of the matter is that in trail riding (or any other type) you are statistically more likely to have a greater chance of injury or death in a fall without a helmet on.

    I absolutely agree that jumping is more dangerous than trail riding and there is greater incidence of accidents.

    However, no matter what discipline you are doing, you are always less likely to have a traumatic injury if you are wearing a hat.

    I.e. If you had to trail riders riding the fact same horse under the exact same conditions and both fell in the exact same way and one as wearing a helmet and one wasn't then statistically speaking, the one not wearing a helmet is much more likely to be injured. That is the comparison I am trying to make.

    I'm not really sure where you think I am telling you how to manage your choices. I am just talking about statistics and I said in a previous post if someone wants to ride without a helmet then it doesn't affect me in any way. I posted originally to point out to people that a 'personal' choice does not only affect them as a person and I had to witness firsthand how my accident affected those around me.
         
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        12-14-2011, 04:40 AM
      #92
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pyrrhic    
    I'm not really sure why you are comparing a totally different person riding with a different skill set on a different horse, in a different discipline to you riding your horse and how safety statistics equates. You're trying to combine two sets of statistics...
    There are no studies that have only one variable in riding, nor can there be. It is not possible to ride even the same horse on 2 different days and have only one variable change.

    That is why studies use statistics, and review large numbers of riders and horses and scenarios - it is to even out changes due to those many variables.

    If you fall on your noggin, then yes - a helmet reduces your risk. How much? No one knows. There are too many variables in a fall. However, statistics indicate it may be a 50% reduction.

    But to understand how that one factor impacts your total risk, consider two scenarios:

    1 - You have a 50% chance of falling on your head that day. The helmet reduces your risk in a fall by 50%, so the helmet reduces your overall risk by 25%.

    2 - You have a .1% chance of falling on your head that day. The helmet reduces your risk in a fall by 50%, so the helmet reduces your overall risk by 0.05%.

    In the first case, almost everyone would agree wearing a helmet is very important. In the second case, many would argue the total risk reduction is too small to care about - that your overall risk that day is largely determined by other things.

    If, as we both agree, the helmet reduces your risk during a fall by some number - and 50% is reasonable - then your risk reduction for that day is determined by your risk of falling times 50%.

    During an eventing competition - which is one of the 2 scenarios used by the original poster - the risk of falling is pretty high. How does it compare to the risk of falling off my gelding in an arena?

    Well, in 3+ years, I've never fallen off my gelding, not even when he was trying to get me off his back. Of course, when he spent 10 minutes trying to unseat me, I was in an Australian-style stock saddle. I ended the ride with big bruises on each thigh, and the D ring in the front was twisted from how hard I pulled on the grab strap, but as a green rider with a previous injury on a horse that wanted me off, I stayed on.

    Even with my mare, I've only come off twice in 4 years - both when she bolted during a dismount. I hurt my back the first time without a helmet, and my arm the second time with a helmet. But if I do fall, a helmet will reduce my risk - which is why I usually wear a helmet. Others choose not to, and I understand their choices even while making a different one.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pyrrhic    
    ...I'm not really sure where you think I am telling you how to manage your choices...
    You are not, and I really appreciate that. The OP was: "I just want to talk about the importance of helmets. I heard of people riding without helmets (or with cowboy hats) and it drives me crazy."

    A number of posters on this thread have suggested laws making it illegal to ride without a helmet, at least for minors. That is trying to use government to control our choices as parents.

    You are not, and I respect your courtesy to others. When someone suggests making it a law, they are saying, in effect, that I'm too stupid a parent to be allowed to determine acceptable risks for my daughter, and I resent being called stupid - particularly when I've studied the issue more than most have.

    You are explaining why you make the decisions you do, and are doing so in a polite and intelligent way.
         
        12-14-2011, 04:55 AM
      #93
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    A number of posters on this thread have suggested laws making it illegal to ride without a helmet, at least for minors. That is trying to use government to control our choices as parents.

    You are not, and I respect your courtesy to others. When someone suggests making it a law, they are saying, in effect, that I'm too stupid a parent to be allowed to determine acceptable risks for my daughter, and I resent being called stupid - particularly when I've studied the issue more than most have.

    You are explaining why you make the decisions you do, and are doing so in a polite and intelligent way.

    I apologise if you feel I labelled you as 'stupid' as a parent for having the choice. That was not my intention at all. I still feel a law for helmets should be in effect for minors as it is out here, and it is brilliant. I can't find the figures, but will dig them out tonight and translate. Since the law came in to effect a couple of years ago head related injuries have gone down with younger riders considerably.

    I can however, see your point, and others. I don't feel anyone is 'stupid' for their choices of wearing a helmet or not, that is purely your decision- but as I stated earlier you are a rider, and you are aware of possible dangers, more so than a parent who, for all we know, has no experience around horses and has no idea of the dangers- just the cuddly creatures they see on films.

    At the end of the day, it is entirely your choice. If you are aware of the dangers, and do or don't, that's not something I can change, and being someone who wore a hat, then no hat and now a hat I find it also depends on the nature of the horse.

    Saying that, if we look at body protectors 'This product is not designed to prevent breaks or fractures. The nature of this product is to prevent bruising'. I'd wear one hacking out and jumping, but I still broke my shoulder in once incident and three ribs in another. So are they effective?

    We may or may not fall off, we may or may not get hit by a bus, or break a leg down a rabbit hole. Unless you want to live in cotton wool, you have to take some risks. I prefer minimising the potential risks, however.
         
        12-14-2011, 12:14 PM
      #94
    Banned
    I've been riding for more than 30 years and have never ridden without a helmet. WHile I never had any major falls prior, one a few years back reiterated to me the need for a helmet. My horse decided to take a 3'9 wall a full stride long..I got left behind, came off, landed flat on my back and smacked my head full in the back. Other than being sore and ticked, I was fine. The back of my helmet, a Troxel, the colored shell, was shattered..it would have been my skull.

    The barn I ride at requires helmets at all times for all riders regardless if they are instructors, trainers, boarders or students. Anyone not liking the rule is free to board elsewhere or take lessons elsewhere and I have no problems with that rule. Yes, people have taken falls, some serious with broken bones, but, only one person ever sustained a severe head injury and that was because the helmet chin strap broke when she first made contact and the helmet came off just before she hit her head a second time. Still, had she not been wearing one, the first hit, the one with so much more force, probably would have killed her.
         
        12-15-2011, 01:52 AM
      #95
    Green Broke
    You know, I think everyone has the right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet. I have no idea why everyone gets so heated over a thread like this.

    I do respect the OP for trying to do a public service and let others know of his/her experience. If it makes one person who is on the fence about wearing a helmet wear one, then it could possibly save a life.

    When I first got a horse and was much younger, my Dad wanted me to wear a helmet and I really fought him on it. I wore one some of the time, but mostly I went without. What has happened in the 17 or so years since then is I have gotten older and wiser. I trail rode most of 17 years without a helmet and got lucky in that I never needed it. But then about a year ago I started ponying out my first young horse and I decided that bringing the foal with me increased my odds of a wreck immensely. So I asked for a helmet for Christmas last year.

    I fell off with the colt in tow once already and was glad I was wearing it even though it was not a severe fall. I really LIKE my helmet and found it is actually cooler than the cowboy hat I used to wear!

    But here is what really drove the point home for me. I was doing groundwork with the colt a few weeks ago and got knocked to the ground and hit my head on the hard packed dirt. (It was my stupid mistake, not the horse's fault). I think I got a concussion from that. I wasn't wearing a helmet because I was only doing groundwork but I was knocked down hard enough that I was disoriented and I had a headache for about 24 hours afterwards. I didn't tell my family because I didn't want them to worry. A few days later I lost most of the hearing in my right ear. I got scared it would be permanent so I finally told my family and went to the doctor. Doctor basically said wait and see, and thank goodness the hearing slowly came back to my right ear.

    My point is this. Everyone "knows" the risks, but until you actually have a head injury you don't realize that what you are doing can have a serious and perhaps permanent impact on your life.

    That is where the original poster was coming from. I understand and respect that. Everyone has a right to choose what they want to do with their own lives. And maybe you will get lucky and ride for 50 years without a helmet and never have a brain injury. But some people won't be as lucky, so it is good to let people know the risks.

    I almost lost my hearing from doing groundwork. It would be scary to think of what a fall from horse could do to your head.
         
        12-15-2011, 05:49 PM
      #96
    Trained
    "But to understand how that one factor impacts your total risk, consider two scenarios:

    1 - You have a 50% chance of falling on your head that day. The helmet reduces your risk in a fall by 50%, so the helmet reduces your overall risk by 25%.

    2 - You have a .1% chance of falling on your head that day. The helmet reduces your risk in a fall by 50%, so the helmet reduces your overall risk by 0.05%."

    This.


    As someone who is involved in heavy industry, risk and safety management is paramount in ensuring the safety of our employees so every time I turn around and take a class or go to a conference and even in school what do I get shoved down my throat again and again and again?? PPE is the LAST DEFENSE and IS NOT DESIGNED TO COMPLETELY REDUCE ALL RISK OF INJURY. It is a RISK MITIGATION MEASURE ONLY.
    We can't send guys onto a site with a hard hat and steel toes and say "have fun" because we haven't done enough to manage their risk. We train the living bajeesus out of them, orient them up the wazoo and have books full of standard operating procedures to manage risk. The steel toed boots and hard hat should not ever have to be utilized if they use their training perfectly 100% of the time, follow standard operating procedures perfectly 100% of the time and are oriented to site safety practices. It should just be there and honestly on most safely run worksites you do not need a hard hat or steel toed boots. They are just there because people are apt to sue if they are injured on job sites and were not forced to wear proper PPE.

    This is akin in riding to (instead of just relying on 2" of styrofoam) training our riders to ride properly, have rules and regulations for every equine activity that are deemed safe (no jumping, no leaving stuff laying around the arena, no horseplay, etc..) and then teach our riders how to fall off and manage situations in a safety conscious way. Then helmets would not be needed.

    You chuck a beginner on an unsuitable horse and then put them over a fence - yup then they're probably going to "need" a helmet. We need to be riding and managing our horses in a way in which you do not "need" a helmet. A helmet is a personal choice, not some lifeline that is going to save you from every injury. It is not the helmet that is making anything safer, it is peoples safety conscious choices.

    PEOPLE make situations SAFE.
    HELMETS are only capable of MITIGATING RISK.

    It's a biiiiiiiiig difference.
    VelvetsAB and Saranda like this.
         
        12-15-2011, 06:18 PM
      #97
    Yearling
    One thing people need to remember is that unlike a motorcycle rider who can make a choice as to how the bike might respond, ie, speeding, riding unsafely, the bike is a machine and doesn't think for itself. Same with race cars, mountain bikes, racing boats etc. Yes, laws are in place about helmets for these types due to the fact that the activity/sport does have risks and accidents do happen.

    Now, as for horses..no matter how much we may train, desensitize and bombproof a horse, it is STILL an animal that can think for itself and will react on instinct if the right situation comes along.

    I have never ridden without a helemt in, hmmm, over 30 years :) of riding. I was actually taught, by way of a harness and controlled exercises, how to fall opff a horse and while most falls I have taken I have managed not to hit my head, there have been a few occasions where I couldn't tuck in time to take the hit and smacked the back of my head. I was brining my horse in from the field when another one took exception and ran me down...iterally. She gave me a glancing kick in the side of the head as she was going over top of me...if it hadn't been for that helmet....fortunately I was able to get up and beat the snot out of her (one or two glancing blows..it wasn't like she was standing still) with the lunge whip someone had left in the field.

    I've tossed three helmets due to shell damage, glad it was the helmet I was tossing and not my skull.

    I can't tell people to wear helmets but I have passed on the stories. I think anyone who jumps without one is crazy and shake my head even harder when I see a married with children trainer jumping a green, bat crazy jumper over a bunch of 4 foot fences. Not saying they shouldn't jump but how hard is it to take that one extra little precaution?
         
        12-19-2011, 07:09 PM
      #98
    Weanling
    I always wear a helmet my head is worth more than a helmet. I won't say everyone should wear a helmet, its your own head. I don't know about anywhere else but in the UK its illegal to ride without a helmet under the age of 16.
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        12-21-2011, 08:03 PM
      #99
    Foal
    I wear a helmet every time I ride, only because I'm a minor and it's mandatory. At the age of 18, I will be old enough to make that decision myself. I've already decided that I will not continue to wear a helmet for most of my riding. Most likely I will wear a helmet if I ever get into jumping, because I know that the risks are much greater.

    I was never forced to wear a helmet when I was young. Whether I was riding a bicycle, scooter or horse. I never even had the choice to wear a helmet, because I didn't own one. When I went to local shows I had to borrow one, because they were mandatory for children.

    I started riding again in April and I tried on many helmets. None of them fit my head right. It actually kind of upset me, because my sisters always tell me my head is funny shaped. I bought a Tipperary Sportage, but I hate it. It always falls back, which I know could be very dangerous if I were to fall. Helmets are uncomfortable and I feel trapped in them. I ride Western and to be honest I think it looks funny if you are wearing a helmet while riding with Western tack. That probably sounds awful, but it's just how I feel. I audited a few clinics that my barn held and every rider that rode Western was helmetless. Every rider that rode English wore a helmet. That's just how it is where I am and I'm not going to be exception.

    Bottom line is that it's not anyones business whether you decide to wear a helmet or not, UNLESS you are a minor. I know of some barns that make it mandatory for ALL riders to wear one and that's exactly why I wouldn't take lessons there. I understand why they do, but I personally feel that my right is being taken away.

    Also, lets say the average sized horse is 1000 pounds. A horse has the capability of killing a person at any given moment, helmet or helmetless. It's your responsibility to know the danger that a horse brings and always be prepared for the worst. Don't take any short cuts and always respect the horse.
         
        12-22-2011, 02:53 AM
      #100
    Yearling
    Like I said before the camp I volunteer at a has a "no helmet. No ride." rule for safety and liability reasons. I say unless there's a liability issue let people make their own choice.
         

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