If I hadn't been wearing my helmet in the Summer of 2000, I wouldn't be getting ready for my kids 1st and 3rd birthdays. I was 13 years old, and my dad had taken me to Frying Pan Park in Herdon, VA to school over some cross country fences. I almost always wore my helmet; It was required for most places, and I was a minor.
That small fact saved my life. My mare Katie was jumping around the training level and some prelim fences like a dream. We were making the approach to the table by the cow field (if you are familiar with Frying Pan Park) when I heard some noise in the background. Thinking it was just people walking around the park as they often do, I half halted, and kept towards the table. As Katie started to take off over the fence she dropped both knees and twisted sideways, causing a rotational fall over the fence.
I fell slightly to the side, on my head and left shoulder and Katie landed on top of my lower body. I walked away from that accident. My helmet was split, and I was pretty banged up (broken 5 ribs, clavicle, lower lumbar vertebra compression fracture from being a lawn dart, and one heck of a concussion), but no permanent damage.
My brain was rattled, but after the ER doctors saw my completely trashed helmet they were shocked that I'd gotten up and got my dad to take me to the hospital. After that, I never even considered riding without a helmet, and I really truly appreciate every single day of my life, my family and my children, because there was a very good chance that I wasn't going to be here to even meet them. Every Time Every Ride....why WOULDN'T you