Set off on the first warm, sunny day in March 2010 on a trail ride for my weekly lesson. Throughout the ride, various horses spooked and generally misbehaved, but other than my horse rushing to get back to the farm, I had a good ride and was feeling confident.
I stopped briefly in the farm driveway while a few horses were being walked by, and my horse decided to sprint to the barn. There was nothing I could do to stop her or turn her the opposite direction. I managed to duck through the barn entrance, but lifted my head up slightly and smacked hard into a rafter, fell off, and smacked my head again on the ground.
Without the Troxel Western Sierra helmet, I believe I would have spent the afternoon in the hospital with a serious injury, rather than nursing a bruised knee with an icepack. Now I will never ride without a helmet.