I used to ride and own a horse when I was younger but after college I was busy with other things and I drifted away from horses. I married late in life and had two girls in my forties. When the girls were about 7 and 8 I met a friend who also had a young daughter and they owned horses and rode. So I returned to my old love of horses and with the help of my friend we found and bought an older, gentle gelding named Hollywood.
Over the last three years my friend helped me dust the cobwebs off of my riding experience. And right from the start she also said you and the girls should always wear a helmet. Although, I never wore helmets when I was young, except when showing English style, I decided it was probably good advice, especially for my kids. Little did I know then just I how glad I would be that I followed her advice.
On February 2, 2013 I was riding a younger horse named Joker, who is not quite the calm old guy my Hollywood is. At 52 years old I was feeling my oats and thought I needed a bit more spirit. I guess I forgot the fact that I do not bounce like I used to. Suffice it to say Joker got spooked, I got spooked, Joker got more spooked and 3 or 4 bucks later all I know is what my friend tells me. I was bucked off and my head (helmet on) hit the metal arena fencing, then I dropped to the ground. My helmet did come off at the end, but if I had not had it on when I hit the fence, I am not sure I would be alive. When my friend made it to me my eyes were open but glazed over, I was breathing heavy and not responding to my friend at all. After about 3 minutes I started trying to move and talk but I did not know what had happened, why I was there, what year it was, etc. In fact I have only a few bits and pieces that I do remember for next 3 or more hours. An ambulance was called and then they decided that I should be life flighted to a trauma center. I don't even remember the helicopter ride though I am told I was not real happy about that I was going on one! In fact it wasn't until I had been in the ER for awhile that I started to be able to put things together.
Fortunately, my CT scan showed no bleeding and my back x-rays showed no damage. They actually sent me home a couple of hours later to heal from a bad concussion and a very sore body. I am so thankful that I am alive and still here for my girls, my husband, family and friends. That was a very scary experience and has made me a believer even more in helmets. I really do think it kept me from a lot more serious injury and possibly death. In fact, if it had been fitted a bit more properly it may have not come off at the end and might have lessened even more trauma. I shared the helmet with my daughters and got lazy about always adjusting the chin strap as tight as it should be. Now my daughters and I will each have our own helmet, adjusted properly.
Please wear a helmet and adjust it properly. You may not think they are cool and may not want to spend the money but it is VERY cool to be alive and helmets are MUCH cheaper than medical bills or funeral expenses! Also they are not just for kids, my daughters are also VERY glad I was wearing one. I would have never thought something like that would have happened to me. Attached is a picture of me being put into the helicopter. My friend actually snapped the picture to show me later since she was pretty sure I would not remember it later. Thank you Troxel for the helmet that protected my head and thank you my friend Shelley for your advice and taking care of me until the medical help got there.