02-24-2013, 01:03 PM
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I don't have photos, but a gnarly story.
My mom was out riding with some of her friends. They were going about, just a walking gaiting ride. As usual, she wore no helmet. Going down the hill, a group of horses came running up on them from behind, then kept going. All of the horses in the group got very worked up. My mom's horse, Bo, is extremely competitive. There was no holding him back. Her friends watched as he put his nose down to the ground and started running down the hill after them. My mom went quite a distance, trying desperately to rip her horses head up, or do a one rein stop. His neck was locked. Finally, going downhill around a corner, she flew off. Bo had sense enough to stop.
Her friends finally caught up. My mom had broke her left collarbone, wrist, and leg. The worst injury, her ear was ripped all the way down to her lobe, hanging off just near her earring. Her friends got her into the car, loaded the horses, and took her to the ER. She completely lost her short term memory due to a concussion. Her ear was saved, and her bones healed. From that day on, my mother always wears a helmet.
It shouldn't take someone going through an ordeal like that to get them to wear a helmet though. While it is a personal choice, I recommend everyone does. Sure, I look silly, and my head gets a little sweaty, but I feel that's worth the protection.
Wearing a helmet has never caused me to have less fun on my horse, but I'm sure a major brain injury would.
03-03-2013, 12:01 PM
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I always wear a helmet, afterall a TBI that could have been prevented is a selfish act, in my opinion. Obviously, you suffer but those that love you suffer worse and may be forced into changing their lives to physically take care of you. Short of suicide, I can think of few more selfish acts.
I had an accident 8 years ago, dead broke, trustworthy QH, a train came rolling down the tracks behind us, he went ballistic, started bucking down a mountain and after about 15 bucks I came off, landed head first. Trip to the ER, Ct scan showed severe concussion. Three months later the blurred vision resolved. Today I have constant ringing in my right ear, vertigo that is sometimes so bad I am bed ridden for weeks. Every day I battle dizziness to some degree, and I was wearing a helmet.
I still ride, cannot jump any more and I know if my horse got crazy I would not have a chance of staying on. Just bought a new Charles Owen helmet!
03-03-2013, 03:00 PM
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My first ten or so years of riding was founded in English riding - jumping, dressage, etc. Helmets were a requirement, not an option. I'm used to wearing one, they don't bother me at all, though I really have to say that I prefer the ones Troxel has (like the Sierra) over the traditional black velvet hunt caps. At least for pure comfort. Light, airy. . .I have one of those covers for mine with a fleece wrap that goes around my neck for cold-weather riding, and it's GREAT!
It's also useful for riding in areas with a lot of overhanging branches or rock. A helmet just makes those branches bounce off. A ball cap or cowboy hat? Not so much.
During my days as an English/arena rider, one incident comes to mind where a friend of mine was jumping a course, and her horse ducked his head and bucked her off, head-first, into the arena wall.
I could hear the sound of her helmet crack from 50 yards away. It left a mark on the wall.
She got up, walked away, remounted (with a new helmet), and continued riding.
The helmet she'd been wearing was "retired."
Personally, I think that if you ride in a western saddle because you "need something to hold on to" then you need to work on your riding/balance instead of depending on your tack to do that for you. Nothing wrong with western saddles (I have one, too!), but if it's that important to have a "handle" then it's time to brush up on some basic balance exercises.
I also know of two local incidents in the last year where someone riding in a western saddle had a horse "go up" on them. . .fall over backwards, and the saddle horn landed right into them.
This was while trail riding - the riders weer not wearing helmets, but the horses were not young or green, the riders were not inexperienced. I don't know exactly what caused the horses to do what they did. . .rumors abound about each incident, but the result is the same. Two dead riders. Two grieving families.
Neither rider survived - not because of head injuries, but because of internal injuries caused by the horn of the saddle being driven into their gut when the horse landed on them.
I don't think everyone ought to throw out their western saddles and start riding in hornless saddles because of it.
Accidents happen. You can't really stop them, but you can decrease the risk of injury to yourself. I choose to wear a helmet. If other people don't want to, that's fine.
If other people want to make fun of the fact that someone (me) who has been riding over twenty years still wears a helmet, they can laugh all they want.
It's not because I'm "afraid."
It's not because I don't know how to ride.
It's because I've been around horses long enough, and I know better than to think that I'm "too good to have an accident."
03-03-2013, 05:19 PM
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That's so sad about the western riders, guess I will now look at endurance saddles after reading that.
I and my two friends wore our helmets even in a 3day clinic with Chris Cox. 10 other riders were there that did not. Chris even joked with me about my helmet when he took my horse for demo on groundwork. I'm sure it was part jab and part joke, but I didn't care and I'm very sure half the spectators laughed at us in our tall boots, breeches, matching saddle pads and shirts, bling belts and riding hats! I talked to at least 20 people who commented on our horses clothes (stable and turn out sheets) over the course of the clinic? But, by the end of the clinic, we ran barrels with all the cowboys in our english garb as fast as our horses could run and stayed on! No horn to hold on to...but I did wear full seat britches ever day Lol! :)
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