Today, September 17, is International Helmet Day.
Wearing a helmet while riding a horse should be a no-brainer, but, almost daily I see a picture of a child or an adult riding a horse with no head protection. All I can do is shake my head and ask why? Why are you taking the risk of riding without a helmet?
Please don’t tell me that your horse is calm. The calmest horse will still spook under the right conditions – which would be the wrong conditions for the helmetless rider. Even the most experienced riders have been injured or killed when their horse did the unexpected. What makes you think your horse is any different.
The sad facts
Horseback riding is in the top 10 for sports that contribute to most of the head injuries suffered in sporting activities. The estimated number horseback riding head injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2009 was 14,466! 1
Head injuries can occur from falls that are only two feet from the ground. Depending on the size of your horse, you could be eight feet or more from the ground. 2
The good facts
Even though head injuries can still happen while wearing a helmet, the severity of the injury can be reduced by almost 85%. 1
You don’t need an expensive helmet to protect your head. As long as the helmet is SEI /ASTM certified, you’re buying a protective helmet. 2
Wearing a helmet when riding a horse is a personal decision that you make for yourself or for your child. But why take chances?
Wearing a helmet could be the best decision you make.
Make sure, though, that you helmet fits properly and is worn properly. Then , you will have the best protection possible.
Linda Watson-Call is the owner and head riding instructor at Pretty Pony Pastures. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities at this facility.
Sports-related Head Injury, http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Sports-Related%20Head%20Injury.aspx
THE TOP 10 HELMET FACTS & MYTHS OF HORSEBACK RIDING, http://www.troxelhelmets.com/blogs/troxel/76914819-the-top-10-helmet-facts-myths-of-horseback-riding