The most important piece of tack-READ! - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulefeather View Post
I do believe it is a personal choice - albeit a risky one. As an adult, it's your right and your body, and you can choose to protect or not protect it as you please.

It may be personal choice, but I object when I have to pay for that person's refusal to wear safety equipment after their family is out of money and insurance has run out so now the taxpayers are footing the bills for the care.
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post #52 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairie View Post
...Horseback riding is considered one of the most dangerous sports, and just because you've never see one or know some who have ridden safely for years doesn't mean those accidents don't happen. Also not every wreck is reported and often the injuries can be treated at home. Ranches are notorious for wrecks than are treated at home.
Riding IS considered dangerous, but the statistics are skewed by jumping - which is at least 10 times more dangerous than riding on the flats. It is also dangerous for teens who take risks without thinking, such as trying to teach themselves jumping, etc.

But not all riding is equally dangerous, yet no one criticizes those who indulge in the more dangerous forms of riding. No one says we should remove eventing as an Olympic sport, because what they do sets a bad example "for the children".

I've read a lot of reports on horse riding injuries. A common theme is the assumption that horses "just blow" - that all horses buck, bolt, spook, spin and try to get rid of their rider at random and for no reason.

But I did the training for the US Air Force's safety school and even worked briefly as a safety officer. It is axiomatic to a safety professional that accidents involve a chain of events. Break the chain at any point, and the accident will not occur. It is also axiomatic, at least in the Air Force, that one balances risk. You cannot fly fighters effectively without taking some chances. So one looks at the chain of events leading up to accidents, and sees what can be prevented, what can be reduced, and what must be accepted.

When you take that approach to riding horses, you soon realize that not all riding requires the same level of risk, just as flying a cargo plane is safer than flying a jet fighter. With very rare exceptions, riders don't just come off a horse for no reason. If the cinch breaks - did they inspect it? Do they maintain their tack? If the horse spins away, why did he spin? Why didn't the horse go forward? Was he afraid? If so, why didn't the rider notice? And if the rider noticed, why didn't the rider take steps BEFORE the spinning to prevent the spinning?

What about position? Not all riding positions are equally safe, either. Many are taken to better max perform the horse - but that in turn requires the rider to accept more risk.

What activity does one do? Much of my desert riding is now walking my horse across the Sonoran Desert - and one WALKS because you would get filled with cactus trying to trot or canter off trail. If I am walking my horse, and my horse is being careful because he doesn't want to step on cactus, and he understands the task and is doing his best to perform it, then my riding risk is much lower than many others - simply because that is what I like to do, and what my horse understands.

Bandit used to spin away a lot, and buck, and want to run away. Yes, I always wore a helmet then. But he hasn't spun even 20 degrees since April. When he is startled, a jolt goes thru his back - then he waits for me to suggest something. I assume he will always remember he has other options, but he is obviously a much safer ride now than when he was spinning away or bucking last year.

So why can't I take our goals and our training into account and determine what risk I accept without being told I'm irresponsible, just because I sometimes skip a helmet? My riding without a helmet is lower risk than many people's riding WITH one - so why are they "responsible" while I am a careless fool?

If someone wants to wear a helmet and body protector in an arena, I'm all for them doing so! Whatever you think you need to do to reduce the risk to a level you accept, you should take! And many people would HATE to ride, if riding meant walking a horse thru the desert, avoiding cactus and constantly looking for a way to move forward. I enjoy it. But the fact that I mostly ride a walking horse whose fear reaction is to ask me what to do plays a large role in my risk assessment. The fact that I ride defensively, and assume my horse may do the unexpected, also plays into my assessment. My saddle, position and even my sheepskin plays into my assessment. And depending on that assessment, I may or may not grab a helmet.

If everyone who is insisting on helmet wear ALSO wears a body protector, and uses sheepskin, and uses an Australian saddle, and wears them when on the ground working around horses (where roughly 15% of accidents happen), and never jumps or runs their horses...THEN I'll believe they believe in wearing protective gear. Until then, they believe in ONE option while ignoring others...
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post #53 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:04 PM
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LOL, does this sound familair

Quote:
The helmet-wearer will say: Why arenít you wearing a helmet? I donít understand why youíre not wearing one, thereís any number of unforeseen dangers out there and a helmet will save your life.
Then the non-helmet-wearer will shrug and say: I just donít see the point. When Iím not wearing a helmet Iím more aware and I donít hit my head, but when I do wear a helmet I always hit my head. Plus theyíre super expensive.
Then the helmet wearer will say: But how can you possibly know what will happen when youíre least expecting it? [insert name of celebrity/friend/pro rider here] was/wasnít wearing a helmet and they STILL sustained a really gruesome head injury. Not wearing one is surely going to culminate in CERTAIN DEATH.
And the non-helmet wearer will say: [insert name of doctor/study here] has proven that wearing a helmet doesnít make you any safer, in fact it makes you feel indestructible and behave more recklessly. And [insert name of different study here] states that the amount of head injuries hasnít changed even though more people wear helmets nowadays. So there.
And then the helmet-wearer will say: You should still wear one anyway.
Then there will be an awkward silence until somebody changes the subject.
Typical horse rider?

Yup, apart from the fact this is a discussion about skiing helmets....

ďNever attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidityĒ
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post #54 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:12 PM
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bsms, I just hope that I never have you for a patient in an emergency situation! However, I've treated more riders who were just walking their horses down a trail and had an unplanned dismount due to that horse spooking, loosing his footing, or just being a PIA! I'm a hunter/jumper rider and showed for decades, but never came off over fences----my ground checks tend to be on horses who either lost their footing or were spooked by idiot riders racing too close by us.
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post #55 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:32 PM
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@bsms , in lo these many years of arguing with people on the internet, I find that when people resist the weight of statistics, rationality, and the accumulated experience and practices of others, there is some fundamental, unbudgeable reason behind it. Often it is not much more convincing than "this is the way I'm comfortable, and no one is going to disturb my comfort if I can help it." Because that is not enough for internet arguments, a highly complex barrier dance filled with logical fallacies and straw men ensues. Nothing is achieved by assailing this barrier, that I have ever noticed.

So, I wish you many happy years of safe riding!

Short horse lover
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post #56 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:33 PM
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Wow, I hope you are feeling better soon. :( Ouch.

As for me, I always wear my helmet when riding. Every time. It's actually a barn rule at my barn too.
Need to protect my brain, never know what can happen! Better to be safe than sorry.
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post #57 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:35 PM
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Prarie, we'll have to agree to disagree. I understand what you are saying. I really do. The rancher I mentioned also once had the trail give way out from under him. He was able to jump off as his horse ROLLED sideways down a steep slope. He thought the horse had been killed, but the horse got up, shook himself off...and acted ready to ride. But my friend walked him all the way back to camp because he couldn't believe a fall like that had not hurt the horse.

The ground near the washes that we use isn't perfectly stable. Neither is the ground in the wash, which is why I don't like asking my horse to canter down one. I've jogged those washes myself, on my own two feet, and know that what looks like solid ground can twist my ankle at a jog - how much more so for a cantering horse?

There is no way to be 100% certain that you won't have a fall from a horse, or that the horse won't fall. The latter is actually why I almost ALWAYS wore a helmet with Mia - not only was she spooky, but she was physically awkward. She was the opposite of sure footed. I didn't mind having sweat drip on to my bifocals riding Mia. Even if we never fell together, I had watched her fall by herself in the corral!

And the riding I do with Bandit is low risk, but not without risk. I try hard to ride him so that he is always in agreement with me about where we are going and what we are about to do, but the ground, javelina, rattlesnakes, cactus, etc, etc mean things could turn ugly, at least briefly.

So if I felt no reward from riding without a helmet, I would wear one. But in truth, I really enjoy riding in my cotton hat more than my helmet. I've tried to explain why, but it is hard to put in words. But because I enjoy riding in my Tilley hat far more than a helmet, I will accept some increased risk. I do a lot of other things to reduce risk. I am more cautious when riding without a helmet. But I do it for the same reason some people jump fences, or barrel race, or gallop their horses - because I enjoy it and I am willing to accept some increased risk.

Since a lot of people cannot understand how anyone could enjoy riding without a helmet, it is almost impossible to find a middle ground. To me it is similar to riding itself: I enjoy it enough to accept some additional risk. I do not know of any way to explain WHY I enjoy it. But I do. Just like riding.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #58 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
...I find that when people resist the weight of statistics, rationality, and the accumulated experience and practices of others...

So, I wish you many happy years of safe riding!
Would it really have hurt just to post the final sentence?

I suspect I know the statistics as well or better than anyone on HF. I've spent many hours searching and reading and thinking about them. There were times when I thought Mia and I were going to die, so I paid close attention to one of the true fundamentals of riding - keeping the horse between me and the ground.

It is impossible to be 100% safe riding a horse. It is impossible to even be NEAR horses with 100% safety! Most of the people on this forum have no reason why they MUST ride, and therefor they are accepting increased risk to do something they enjoy.

So if I enjoy some aspects of riding differently than you enjoy them, why preface your remarks with insults?

I suspect I do more risk assessment in my riding than 95% of riders. But EVERYONE who rides accepts risk. If you are not riding because of work, then EVERYONE is accepting risk in exchange for pleasure. If you ride for work, you accept risk for pay. But being around horses requires accepting risk, and where each of us draws that line is an individual choice.

I don't understand why it has to be approached as:

Helmet = good person. No helmet = bad person.
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post #59 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 01:59 PM
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It's all personal preference. It's your head/brain, do what you will! :) Nobody can 'make' someone do anything. It's all personal choice.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #60 of 66 Old 09-26-2016, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairie View Post
It may be personal choice, but I object when I have to pay for that person's refusal to wear safety equipment after their family is out of money and insurance has run out so now the taxpayers are footing the bills for the care.
I don't disagree, but this winds up taking us to some very sticky ethical grey areas regarding choice, bodily autonomy, etc. Your taxes go to pay for programs to assist the desirables as much as the undesirables, or people who came to institutionalized/state/federally-funded care by foolishness rather than bad luck.

Perhaps it's best that we don't try to distinguish them, because need is still need regardless of how the person came to be there - it matters very little once the damage is done.

I think the bigger issue is, we should try not to end up there in the first place, and that is why it's important to make an educated decision when it comes to safety.

If someone chooses not to wear a helmet, and they are an adult who is presumably of sound mind, there is nothing I can do to force them. Shaming, finger-shaking, and complaining tend to not work too well on most adults, and I am not fond of approaches that don't yield results - so I am not going to waste either my mental or emotional energy trying to do so.

So, I can continue to wear my helmet and set an example, and those who choose not to can continue to do what they do. As long as they do not ask me to remove mine, I will not ask them to put on theirs if they are not a child, or under my care.
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