My helmet saved my life... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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My helmet saved my life...

We all have our "always wear your helmet" stories. Or perhaps we learned by not wearing one. This is mine...

Today I started doing small courses with my mare. We have been jumping consistantly for several months and moved up to 2'6 a few days ago. Well, things were a little weird to begin with. Everyone who has seen her jump says it is obviously that she loves it. Today she kept running out. She was fine on the flat, listening to my transitions and seemed to be moving just fine, so I ruled out pain. Even a small crossrail she didn't seem interested and kept running out. Natrually I was not going to stand for that and ended up looping back around and eventually taking it. I've been building my own confidence over jumps to move up that high. It took quite alot for me to jump it a few days ago, but she did it just fine, no problems. So I was just about done with my ride and my friend convinced me to do the 2'6 again. It started out badly and just got worse. She ran out. And then ran out to the right. Then to the right. So my friend stood with her horse on the right side to 'block' her in. Natrually she went left and even though I suspected that would happen, somehow I didn't control her right and I fell off.

I was scared and irritated. My leg hurt, but nothing horribly so, so I got back on and tried it again. I don't even know what happened. She did some weird jump to the left of the jump and twist thing (not actually even kind of going over the jump) and I fell off for the second time in the row. The only thing was this jump was somewhat near a fence, so as she dodged around it, She took me right next to the fence. I can't even remember what happened but my friend said I hit the fence. All I remember is falling to the left side of her, banging something and feeling my entire head jostled and I was dazed and confused for several seconds.

Had it not been for my helmet, I def would have had a concussion if not something worse. I ended up with a super bruised butt, Basically the start of my butt and a circular around around it hurts like hell and hasn't stopped hurting since I fell this afternoon. Has anyone experienced pain like that? I really hope I didn't break/crack anything and it just a huge bruised area.

Regardless, people, wear your helmet!!! Even if I wasn't jumping, it is always a good idea. It truly does protect you from pain.

As a side note, and as is very common, I'm now terrified to jump. I got back in the saddle for a whole 2 min and dismounted because it hurt to sit. I was never very confident to begin with, but I had improved so much. I was only doing 18" cross rails until a few months ago. BEFORE this, 2'3 was super fun and my fav to jump. the 2'6 we had jumped only a few days prior and only about 3 times, so it was still scary. Now I feel like I can't even do a cross rail. I'm not afraid to ride again, flat work is fine, but the idea of jumping that mare again is....terrifying. I know what the basic is of just go slow and do cross rails until i get my confidence back, but I don't want to be stuck at low heights for a long time. It doesn't help that it took EVERYTHING I had to jump before. I was learning to trust my horse and just go for it. Now all that is changed. Now is the after. Now is my time to make or break it. Half of me wants to quit. Half of me is angery this happened because we were doing SO well.

(We think my mare is in heat and just having one of THOSE days. Before that jump she was finally jumping ok and not running out. I'm not asking for "how to school my horse" help or "what i should/shouldn't have done. This is strictly a please remember to wear your helmet slash I need to know how to boost my confidence quickly post. Thank you.)

~He knows when you're happy
~He knows when you're comfortable
~And he always knows when you have carrots.
Horsequeen08 is offline  
post #2 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 12:12 AM
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While I agree that helmets are great, it's to be used in conjunction with sensible riding.

- You need to learn how to deal with running out. Circling around isn't the way to go about it. You don't want to take their nose off the jump, and you want to make running out more work than taking the jump.
- If your horse is running out consistently at a cross rail, something is wrong and you need to address it. Circling back around isn't the way to go about it.
- If you're having troubles with a cross rail, upping the ante to 2'6" probably isn't the bestest idea ever.
- If you don't know how to correct a run-out, it's probably in your best interest to work with a trainer to show you how to safely correct it so both you and your horse stay safe.

One of my pet peeves is horses that run out, and riders that just go "oh.. okay..." and circle back. That isn't teaching the horse anything other than "hm! Okay if I just deek out, she won't correct me and I get to do a circle/slow down/etc instead of working hard and jumping!

Yes, helmets are important while jumping.. definitely. However, there are precautions we have to take to ensure that we aren't getting ahead of ourselves.

Glad you're (mostly) okay :) Learn from this experience and definitely wear your helmet.
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JustDressageIt is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 12:24 AM
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By jumping, you accept a risk that is 10-40 times greater than someone riding the flats. A helmet reduces risk of head injury by a factor of 2-5. All those figures depend on which study or set of statistics you think is accurate.

So assuming the low side for increased risk from jumping, and the high side for protection from a helmet, you still have double the risk of serious injury compared to someone riding flats without a helmet.

I wear a helmet because my mare is a klutz whose balance is less than perfect without a rider, let alone me - and I'm not God's Gift to Horses. The area I ride is often rocky, so a simple fall on my side could also slam my head against a rock. My choice, just as choosing to jump is yours. Folks can decide how much risk they are willing to accept in exchange for how much fun, and what makes riding fun to them. I'm a fan of helmets, but not a big fan of anecdotal evidence.

Glad you are not hurt too bad. FWIW, my one fall was in Jan 2009. The damage to the soft tissue of my back & hip forced me to stop jogging until last March. My back is doing much better the last few months, but it has taken me over 4 years. Some folks have told me I should have seen a chiropractor. That might be worth thinking about if things don't seem to be healing fast enough.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 01:13 AM
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I just wanted to say, I'm glad you had your helmet on and you're OK.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 10:06 AM
Green Broke
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Jumping is a challenge, but just riding is also. Please be careful.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-25-2013, 10:47 PM
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I was riding bareback one time and my horse spooked and I landed flat on my butt/tail bone. I think I must have broke it because it hurt to sit for weeks, maybe longer. It took forever to heal. It did heal on it's own though. So I hope your tail bone is fine.

The helmet is a great idea too. That almost goes without saying. I wear one whenever I ride now.
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trailhorserider is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 05-26-2013, 12:43 AM
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I always ride with a helmet. I had a friend's horse collapse on me at the canter once. I was slammed into the wall and pinned underneath the horse for several minutes until he rolled off of me. Had I not had on a helmet, I would have fractured my skull on the wall. Luckily my helmet cracked rather than my head. It was a good thing you had a helmet on. Make sure you keep wearing it! It will undoubted save you again in the future.

Strength is not defined by physical ability. It is determined by your actions and the compassion of your soul.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-02-2013, 11:41 PM
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Good thing you had it on! One time I was out riding my horse and mid-ride remembered that I had forgotten my helmet. Not 15 minutes after going to fetch it I got thrown off for the first time ever because my horse tripped and fell. You never know what will happen!
tinyliny likes this.

**I must not forget to thank the difficult horses, who made my life miserable, but who were better teachers than the well-behaved school horses who raised no problems.**
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-03-2013, 12:20 AM
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and always remember that if you do take a fall with a head impact, that helmet will need replacing!
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-03-2013, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by EdmontonHorseGal View Post
and always remember that if you do take a fall with a head impact, that helmet will need replacing!
That's what everyone says but very few people do it, myself included.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there isn't a simple way to gauge at what point potential damage has occurred. For example, I got thrown the other week when princess decided she was done and "fortunately" my back and neck took most of the fall... but my head lightly hit the ground. Was the integrity of the helmet compromised? Probably not. Do I know for certain? Nope.

Of course if you take a good bump off the head then the helmet definitely should be replaced, but I think most of us have had those falls where our body is the first to impact the ground and our head lightly follows. When your helmet costs several hundred dollars it's hard to justify replacing it with every bump but I also realize the solution is to not buy expensive helmets in the first place! First world problems, oh my... :)

The hardest part isn't finding what we need to be, it's being content with who we are.
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