Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Personally, while I understand the cultural barriers particularly in Western and Dressage circles, I think it is madness not to wear a helmet - and all riding places around here require a properly fitted helmet to be worn at all times because it's a requirement of their public liability insurance.
I always wear a helmet (and would, whether it was required or not) and I've landed on my head quite lot, thanks to Brock's bronco impersonations. Pretty much every time I've been able to get up immediately and get back on. However there was one time (our second ride out together) when I came off the front and my helmet, which was about half a size too big, flew off my head and I landed head-first without it, thankfully on a soft sand/gravel mix. I was completely blacked out for about 30-40 seconds, then when I came to I couldn't open my eyes or move for another few minutes. I ended up suffering symptoms of concussion for the rest of the day, like sudden black spots in my vision and being disoriented and confused.
One of the last times I rode, I was demo-ing Brock for a prospective lessee. He had been well-behaved under saddle for months and I wasn't really geared up when I went to mount him. In fact I was so casual and switched off I forgot to put my helmet on. We got halfway down the "arena" before a drop of rain fell on my head and I realised I was helmetless. I quickly put it on and continued. About 20 seconds later Brock baulked at a pole we were passing, which he'd gone past or over a hundred times, and started a bucking frenzy. I came over the left shoulder and landed on my head pretty hard. All I could think about was, "Thank goodness that drop of rain landed on my head!!"
A crazy girl with a crazy horse