I used to wear my Troxel helmet only when I thought I needed it (like when riding my 5-year old). One day I took my trusty 15-year old out, a horse I've ridden for the past 7 years without ever falling off. On a trek around the neighborhood I went into the community arena for some cantering. Unfortunately, I left the gate open since I was planning to be there for only a few minutes. On one of the runs around the ring, my horse decided to exit stage right through the gate. I came off and slammed the side of my head into the arena pipe. I came to as my head was dragging along the gravel. I'll never forget the sound of the dirt grinding into the opening in my head. At the emergency room, I was very fortunate to find that my skull was not fractured. The opening in my head was so big that it required 32 staples to close. I lost my scalp and hair (which 4 months later is still growing back). The pain and mental trauma were tremendous and I am still recovering. If I were wearing my helmet that day the accident would have been much less severe. A headache maybe, but certainly nothing requiring staples and leaving my head dented. I will never ride ANY horse again without wearing head protection.