I was 12 years old when it happened. On a beautiful fall afternoon I had just finished riding and gone into the barn to work on my math homework.
My mom took the pretty little golden palomino from me and went with my aunt on a quiet ride in the pasture to walk the horses out. The mare spooked and without warning she reared and flipped over backwards. My mom was rushed to the hospital where she would find out that she had a crushed pelvis and a fracture in her back.
She was wearing her troxel helmet and the helmet split in half from the impact. If there hadn't been a requirement at our barn for helmets being required at all times (even riding western), I can say with confidence I would have finished growing up without a mother. I wear a helmet every ride, every time.