I promised my husband I would always ride with a helmet as a precondition to getting a horse. Sigh, Ok honey, whatever you say ... I just want a horse. So, 6 years later I have NO stories about getting hurt in falls! I've fallen off a few times, OK maybe several times, and some of those have involved bonks on the head . I cracked a helmet when a moose came down a steep bank above us, saw my horse and I, panicked, tried to turn around, went end-over- end down the bank as a result and landed only 10 feet or so in front of us. My horse is great, but that was a bit much, and somewhere in his spin/rear/escape I ended up on the ground with a cracked helmet. The moose, the horse, and I all scattered in different directions, and I didn't have any more war wounds than a few bandaids could cover. I didn't know Troxel replaced helmets back then, so I just threw it away, quite content that it cracked instead of my head.
The second happy helmet story... I normally ride bareback bareback (which might also have had something to do with the moose story), and have a nice uphill path I love to turn my horse and really let him fly. He was getting a little rude, anticipating the turn and dash, so I had him stop at the bottom, stand quietly, turn, and then gave him the 'go' ... I had no idea how much acceleration is in a quarter horse butt, but he went right out from under me, his long black tail streaming out between my legs. I hit the ground with both feet and but already acquired enough acceleration in that one leap to tip over and slide on my head. The strap of the helmet broke, and it was a bit scuffed. Troxel replaced it quickly, which I really appreciated, even though this was definitely my fault. Don't think I didn't try it again though, until I could do it. Now the bareback dash is as much fun as ever, and when the wind in my eyes makes me cry, I'm always thankful I've got that helmet in case I pile off for some unexpected reason.
So please just wear your helmet. I've got the most bomb-proof horse around, no jump or skitter in him, but I've broken two helmets and had no injuries myself, and that is enough reason for me. And, if it wasn't enough ... last year, on a group pack trip, on a nice trail, nothing really difficult, one of the horses spooked and ran, and we found our cowboy hat -wearing friend down the hill in an unconscious heap on the ground ... THAT did it. I think this helmet is the coolest, cutest, most stylish, thing on the planet. I can enjoy my horse and also have my brain intact to enjoy my grand kids too.
So wear that helmet, girls! (and guys) It's the 'in' thing.
- July 02, 2010