This summer I've had such fun participating in large riding events. I've got to be around some outstanding horsemen and horsewomen - trail riders who have worked hard to develop amazing partnerships with their horses. At all events, trail safety has been emphasized. Throughout the Trail Trials, attention to safe riding was a key factor to receiving a good score on each trial. With such an emphasis on safety I found it very puzzling that I was the ONLY adult wearing a helmet at one event and one of five out of about 150 riders at another.
It may have been my newbie nerves, but it seemed that my wearing a helmet marked me in a less than positive way. When it was time to mount up on the second day of the recent Field Trials, I looked at my big ole bulky helmet and actually hesitated. What could possibly happen? These folks have put in many, many more miles on the trail than myself yet they were bare headed or wearing cool western hats - why bother with sticking my stupid bucket on my head? Tired of my uncool headgear, I actually started to put my foot in the stirrup when my inner voice screamed, "DON'T YOU DARE GET ON THAT HORSE THINKING MORE ABOUT HOW OTHERS MIGHT SEE YOU THAN YOUR OWN WELFARE!"
Stopping to honor my vow to do every thing possible to ensure I am able to ride for years and years and years, I grabbed my helmet, strapped it on, and rode off to enjoy the day. Yet in that moment of hesitation, I almost let imagined peer pressure influence my use of what I believe to be an important element of safe riding. I realize that lots of folks might not agree with me on this one and I would never, never say that another equestrian was wrong to ride their chosen path. For me, returning from a quarter century away from what I love the most, helmets will continue to be part of my riding attire.
Some Thoughts On Helmets
Top Ten Reasons Not to Wear a Helmet
Equestrian Injury Prevention Efforts
5 Year Review of Equestrian Injuries in Alberta, Canada
The Horse: Equestrian Injury Study
American Association for Horsemanship Safety
What is Your Head Worth
Grey Horse Matters: For Safety's Sake
Science vs. Tradition: Two Cents Tuesday - Helmets