Day 28 – Helmet or No Helmet?

Day 28 – Helmet or No Helmet?

In my brilliant youth, I have ridden without a helmet.

Like, a lot.

At first it was because I got a western saddle for Elvis, and “western riders don’t need to wear helmets.”  Of course, that rule should get thrown out the window when you get really smart and start jumping around in a western saddle.

Don’t do this at home kids.

But now that I am older and slightly less stupid, I always wear a helmet when I ride. I’d like to say that it’s because I know I only have one brain. That I know when I ride I am partaking in a dangerous activity. That I know if I were to get seriously injured because I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I would jeopardize my career and put my loved ones at a huge burden to take care of me.

Those are the reasons I should have for wearing a helmet, but my head gets really hot and sweaty and if it weren’t for this person I would probably still hack without one… often.

kathy_inaqua_croppedThat’s my trainer, Kathy Slack, and not only is she a hunter/jumper rider and trainer but she’s also an entrepreneur and world show team penning competitor. Essentially, she kicks ass.

What makes her relative to this post is her undying support and steadfast rules about helmets.  No one under 18 gets on without a helmet at any of her barns, period.  Barns being the key word here, because while this rule might seem normal to use hunter princesses at our English barns – I can tell you it is not the same in the western world.  Even though it’s against the status quo, her Western clients can thank the safety of their brains to her and her helmet initiative in the western penning/sorting world.

We’re even more proud of her, because this past weekend she participated as a speaker in the Riders 4 Helmets Safety Symposium and also was awarded a Dr. Craig Ferrell MD Equestrian Safety Award.

Maybe one day I’ll be mature enough to wear a helmet because of my own good decisions, but until then I’m quite comfortable with the knowledge that she’s really going to give me the stink eye if I hop on without one… even when I think Simon wants to try western puddle jumping.

11 thoughts on “Day 28 – Helmet or No Helmet?

  1. Great post! I felt the same way when I ride western, “oh I ride western so I don’t need a helmet,” and for a while I stopped wearing one then one day I decided to put it on and guess what happened? I fell off and got a mild concussion, just imagine what would’ve happened if I didn’t have one… Now I will never ride without one.

  2. I have proven to myself with my off the horse, horse activities, that I should probably wear a helmet at all times. I received my first concussion helping the vet… I also almost gave myself a concussion on a trailer door but was wearing a helmet so my bell was rung pretty good instead.

  3. I never get on without a helmet, and have never understood the western mentality of thinking that helmets are only for english riders.

  4. Great post. I have never been allowed to ride without a helmet. And given the concussion I received after a fall this summer I am going to continue wearing it. Yeah it’s hot in the summer but otherwise I rarely notice it is there! It’s great that your trainer is such an inspiration. We have a rule at our farm that Everyone has to wear one. I’m fairly certain that is due to insurance but my trainer also doesn’t want anyone hurt. 🙂

  5. I grew up in 4H and AQHA where nooo one wore helmets, as well. so, stupidly, I didn’t either. Until one day my perfectly sane, had never ever done anything wrong in the 8 years I’d owned him, quarter horse, ran off without warning and I fell off- 20 minutes unconscious and major concussion. LUCKILY, no permanent brain damage. But I’m glad to have been so lucky once, I’d like to never have to test my luck again- always always always wear a helmet!!

  6. I rode without a helmet for decades, partly by choice, but partly by necessity. My head is not a standard shape, and for years I was unable to find a helmet that fit. I owned one that sort of worked, meaning it didn’t give me a blinding headache. However, it was too long from front to back and would tip down and obscure my vision. Honestly, I think I was safer without one back then.

    Fortunately, helmet design has come a long way in the last decade. For the first time EVER, I have a helmet that truly fits me. I wear it on every single, and now feel naked without it. Hurray!

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