The importance of wearing a riding helmet
I have been riding for almost fifty-years and working with horses for thirty-years. I have had many spills over that time, including being dragged by a shetland when I was very young and breaking my ribs when I fell into a jump standard. Thankfully, I always make a point of wearing my riding helmet.
Falling off goes with the sport. We all know that. As the years rolled on, incidences of biting the dust became less frequent. Especially when I decided, I was too old to ride unbroken horses. But, of course, they didn't go away.
As equestrians, we train hard to help prevent accidents and spills and take precautions to keep us safe. One of the most important things we can do is ALWAYS to wear a well fitted, undamaged riding helmet.
Yesterday I fell off of my normally placid Andalucian mare. We were trail riding, as we do almost every day. She thought she saw something in a group of trees. She spooked, dropped her left shoulder, and spun to the right. Spooks are not uncommon, and I have ridden and survived many over the years, but not this time. My not-so-elegant dismount consisted of a somersault over her left shoulder, and an unceremonious landing with a wallop on my back very quickly followed with me smacking my head on the ground.
I tried to sit up, but the world was spinning, literally. I stayed down until I stopped feeling dizzy. My riding companions, including my six-year-old granddaughter, dismounted and came to my aid. My horse had made it halfway across the field in her attempt to get away from the invisible enemy.
Eventually, stumbling to my feet and went to retrieve her. I legged my granddaughter back onto our bombproof paint and slowly walked back to the barn. I wanted to re-mount but still felt light-headed. When we got back to the barn, I climbed back on, as you do, and took my mount down the lane and back.
According to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, head injuries have been found to be one of the most frequently occurring injuries and are the leading cause of death in horse-related injury events. Today, my neck is sore from the whiplash that thrust my head to the ground, but I am still here, and I put that down to the fact that I was wearing an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet.
Please take the safety of your head and brain seriously. Do not let vanity get in the way of protecting the delicate computer that controls your whole body. I am very lucky. It could have been much worse. I think I will also invest in a protective vest. My helmet is now compromised so I will also be buying a new one.
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