Here's why I wear a helmet. My day started out like many have. I took my oldest son to school. Housework was done. I decided I was going to take my big guy (18.2h Percheron) out for a little ride in the lot before I had to go pick my son up from school.
My husband (3rd shifter), asleep on the couch, that was his Friday thing so he could take on "human hours" on the weekend. I laid my one-year-old down for his daily nap and out to the barn I went.
There was snow on the ground, normal for January in Indiana. Got my big guy all tacked up, and walked to the lot. A bit of a challenge getting up on him standing 18.2h and I standing 5'5", but up I went. No, I didn't have a helmet on, never used one with all the horses I've owned, didn't even have one.
The last I remembered, he and I were headed back to the side of the lot, where I could see my husband watching from the window. Next, I remember waking up, neck brace on, secured to a hospital bed. My husband looking at me, I was so confused.
He told me that I had had an accident. My first reaction was somebody blew the turn in a vehicle, hitting us, and that had to be what happened... "Oh my god!!! Is Hank (big guy)...Is he okay???" He reassured me he was fine. That he had been watching me through the window and was intending to come out and watch me ride, but that he wanted to listen for our youngest to make sure he wasn't waking up. Then he saw Hank standing over my unconscious body.
An ambulance and helicopter. I was clinically pronounced "unresponsive" for over 8 hours. A week in the hospital, and 2 weeks in rehab, regaining short-term memory, and for the world to stop spinning.
No, I haven't given up riding, I just always wear a helmet, and no I'm not 100%, my incident has left me with 3rd nerve palsy (can't look up without moving my head). And an understanding that it happens and it's not if...it's when..cause it only takes one time to mess up your world.