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3 Surprising Facts: Horseback Riding & Helmets


Troxel Athlete, Rachel Gagliardi, is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association competing in Barrel Racing, Pole Bending and Breakaway Roping. She is the current Reserve Champion in Breakaway Away Roping and loves everything about competition. Here, Rachel talks about some surprising facts she learned while preparing to present at the
Maryland Horse Expo last year.

Did you know helmets are 80% effective in preventing injury and death? While you may have known that helmets help prevent injury, chances are you hadn’t heard quite how effective they were at doing so (Yes, I said 80% effective!).

Last year I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on Helmet Safety at the Maryland Horse Expo. Speaking at the Expo was a great experience that allowed me to meet fellow equine enthusiasts and share with them the importance of helmets. As I researched helmet safety in preparation for the Expo, I came across some interesting facts and amazing statistics that genuinely surprised me! Check these out:

    1. The walk is the most common gait at which injuries occur.

Rather than a gallop, lope, or even jog, the walk is the most common gait at which injuries occur. Through my research I learned that while speed does impact the severity of a fall, height also plays a crucial role in determining the injuries sustained.

    1. Head injuries are cumulative.

This means that a minor concussion can turn into permanent brain damage if not rehabilitated properly. Brains are able to heal, but time off is essential in order to keep you safe and healthy.

    1. There is no statistical correlation between rider skill and accident likelihood.

Every person who rides a horse is equally as likely to fall off as one another. No matter how much riding experience you have or how little for that matter, accidents are unpredictable and can happen to anyone.

I hope by sharing these few facts, you have gained some new knowledge about the importance of wearing a helmet. Neither science nor people can predict the effects of riding horses. While I can say that riding horses has positively impacted my life, I can also say that I have positively impacted my own life by choosing to always ride with a helmet.

  • March 11, 2015