I posted this thread in March: Helmets and injuries - some studies (LONG!)
I use a helmet about 90% of the time, but the preachiness of helmet fans drives me the other way.
Jumping horses, with a helmet, is much more likely to result in a serious head injury than riding flats without them. How much? Depending on the study, the answer is anywhere from 10-80 times more likely. Meanwhile, wearing a helmet reduces your chance of serious injury by around 50% during a fall.
Folks need to think of the total picture in risk management. If you jump, you accept your risk of serious head injury going up at least 1,000%, and maybe much more. Meanwhile, wearing a cowboy hat instead of a helmet increases your chance of serious injury by 100%. Who is living more dangerously?
Do I run around trying to stop folks from jumping? Nope. Do you see threads started by western riders attacking jumping as a sport? Nope.
Riding in an English saddle is also associated with greater risk, although no one has tried to quantify it. Why? Less support when things go really wrong.
But do you see threads from western riders attacking those who ride English as a bunch of crazy fools? Nope.
The worst fall I took hurt my back enough that I can feel it sitting here 3.5 years later. Fortunately, I was wearing a baseball cap! Who knows what would have happened without that layer of cotton!
Do you see why I don't like anecdotal evidence in these debates?