Helmets Save Heads and Helmets Save Lives
Since 2003, we have been collecting stories from HORSE-SENSE readers. They share their first-hand
experiences in the hopes that they will help convince you or someone you care about to wear
a riding helmet that meets or exceeds current safety standards (in the USA: ASTM/SEI)
for every ride. Please don't hesitate to e-mail or print
any of these stories you may wish to share with others.
Eventers, Pony Clubbers, and endurance riders have long recognized the importance of
safety helmets. But read on and you'll find stories from riders from around the world and
from all disciplines:
barrel racers, trail riders, 4-H leaders, Saddle Seat riders, Western Pleasure and Trail competitors, dressage riders,
foxhunters, pleasure riders out for a ride around the pasture, even vacationers
riding on tropical beaches.
Helmet After Pictures --
One of our contributors took these after pictures
of her 12-year-old daughter's helmet after her pony tripped and somersaulted on top of her while running barrels
at a show. Her daughter escaped with minor scrapes and bruises.
Read their story.
The Original Helmet Stories
- One rider's helmet story by Vanessa
- I am an experienced rider. I fell during an ordinary dressage lesson when my dead-quiet schoolmaster horse was stung by a bee. Thanks to my helmet, I'm alive to write about it.
This is the original story that inspired True Helmet Stories
- Helmet thanks by Diana
- Rider falls when horse panics during freak accident in a Western trail class.
After reading Vanessa's story, Diana decided at the last minute to wear her helmet in a Western class.
- You saved my daughter's life by Betty
- Mother and daughter went helmet shopping. One week later, the helmet saved daughter's life when her horse
slips while they were out trailriding.
From the HORSE-SENSE archives.
Stories from HORSE-SENSE Readers
- Getting slammed into a post without a helmet on would have been fatal, but it wasn't because I simply wear a helmet by Catherine
- I was the most advanced rider at my camp, so they decided I was going to ride a young, hot, green, thoroughbred. About 15 minutes into our ride, he decided to turn into a racehorse on me...
- Helmets, yes by Gillian
- I'm 10. I've fallen on my head two times. The best thing is, ever since I started riding I've NEVER thought about getting on a horse without one. Hey, it saved my life 2 times.
- 3 helmet by MG
- through a fence...and out of the ring
- My helmet probably saved my life by Kristen
- I'm 24 and I fell off my horse during a field lesson and landed first on the back of my head before the rest of me hit the ground.
- My helmet saved my life. by Jodee
- I'm a 50-year old woman and have ridden all my life. I fell off after my new horse panicked and bolted. I believe I hit the back of my head on a rock but I have no memory.
- The Jump That Stopped Time by Krissy
- I was told "hit him harder," And when I did, he freaked, flew over the next jump and turned to the left. I kept going straight.
- My helmet saved my life from a horrible accident! by Alisha
- My helmet saved me when my 21 year old Quarter Horse tripped and fell while cantering. What happened when I pulld my feet out of the stirrups was unbelievible!
- Non Helmet AQHA Magazine Cover by Denise
- When will we ALL, including AQHA, get on board and put helmets on our children? Who should set the example?
- Replacement Policy by Emily
- Don't forget manufacturer replacment policy--if you fall, get a new helmet!
- Without my helmet I wouldn't be here by Steph
- I was coming to a jump and my horse suddenly stopped. I flew through the air and hit my head on a jump pole.
- A helmet saved my life by Alison
- I'm now 16 and lucking to be here. I was only training in an open field at a trot.
- Triumph in the Battle for Helmet Acceptance! by Becky
- A rule book change brought about by yours truly!
- Helmet by Kaye
- Cousin's Daughter / Friend's Family
- My favorite horse bucks me off by Erin
- I am a-14 year-old-girl who was riding in a friend's backyard when my horse bucked me off.
- Helmets and Common Sense are NOT optional around horses by Susan
- My horse bolted during a lesson. He took a hard right turn; I didn't. I went head-first into the 2" x 6" top rail, breaking it, but not my head.
- "Well okay, you should probably wear a helmet" by Judy O'Day
- My 8-year-old daughter was riding her pony in the pasture when she was thrown over her pony' head and landed head-first on the ground!
- Troxel saved me in train-wreck accident by Sheila
- A mellow Father's Day trail ride turned into a nightmare when a spooked horse bolted onto the trail. The last to be thrown, I came off at a full run: fractured pelvis, shattered hand and only vertigo despite my battered Troxel helmet. Thank you Troxel!
- First-hand experience in the importance of replacing helmets! by Jael Edgerton
- I'm a 22 girl who primarily rides huntseat. When recently practicing jumping, my haflinger gelding slipped and fell over, and my much-abused helmet did not protect my head.
- helmet saves ER nurse by karen
- An instant of imbalance was all it took to cause a near tragic accident. My boyfriend, an ER nurse with over 20 years experience lost his balance while mounting and ended up with a cracked helmet, but no head injury.
- my miracle by tayla
- I was riding bareback and my horse panicked and I fell off, getting struck on the head with his hoof.
- Helmet saved my daughter's head by Susan
- While cantering up a hill, my 12-year-old daughter's horse fell, and my daughter flew forward and landed on her head and shoulder.
- Even a stupid little fall can be dangerous by Lisa
- I've come off plenty of times without getting hurt, but it only takes the one time - that's why I never get on a horse without a helmet.
- it could have saved me. by Rhiannon
- I fell off my horse whilst going over a jump but luckily im still here to tell the tale.
- My horse loves to jump... too much! by Rachel
- Could have been a bad head injury, without even falling off!
- Helmet NOT Hunt Cap by Fiona
- Wearing a Hunt Cap with hard peak instead of Helmet broke my nose, (but saved my life).
- Give me a break by donald byrne
- I grew up riding horses, including some steeplechase races and know the value of a helmet.
- Helmet Story by Gary
- My friend was bucked off her horse and landed on her head.
- helmet story by Paddy
- my 10 year old was thrown over our pasture fence
- Trail riding by Lisa
- I am a 26 year old experienced rider. I was trail riding western at a walk when the horse I was on spooked at a rock. He spun around, reared straight up, and flipped over backwards on me. My body was smashed into the ground by the weight of the horse. The helmet cracked, my head did not.
- Thank God for my helmet! by Michelle
- I am a 38 year old mother of one, and we were pleasure riding. The Quarter Horse mare I was riding reared, and fell over backwards on my head and chest.
- Flying by Kat
- Im 13 years old and I'm a pretty experienced rider, but one day my pony spooked and I landed on a jump.
- No matter how experienced, ALWAYS wear your helmet! by Deanna
- I was riding on my instructor's mare on a really hot day when the mare bolted because of a loud bang from a nearby trailer. I fell off and my helmet was broken in half.
- Thought I Didn't Need a Helmet! by Shelley
- Was riding a lease horse when he spun at a canter and I flew off and hit the fence.
- Fatal accident without helmet by Kay
- My husband, 45, was bucked off a horse and then received a fatal kick to the head.
- Hit head on arena fence by Vicki
- During a riding lesson, my school horse bolted across the arena at a gallop and I came off, slamming my head into the arena fence.
- So close to serious injury by Alia
- When my horse bucked me off and I fell to the ground from a quite a few feet higher than my horse's back, I cannot express how much I love my helmet.
- bucked off on trail ride, landed on railroad tracks by Shannon
- I'm a 33 yr. old mother of three. While riding a nice, calm Quarter Horse mare on a trail ride, I was bucked off when she spooked and I landed on railroad tracks!
- helmet story by Becky
- I'm 30-year-old woman who always wears a helmet, even though no one else in our western riding club association does. Last Sunday, one of the best riders in our district was killed while riding her friend's colt along the road.
- helmets by Paula
- Riding without a helmet feels like driving without a seatbelt!
- I Was Watching by Sandra
- I watched my 13-year-old daughter get knocked out cold.
- Wear Helmets, Especially At Shows!!! by Cate
- I entered the arena for Western Pleasure when my used-to-be lesson horse was acting all jumpy. When the announcer asked for a jog, he bucked me off and I landed on my shoulder and head.
- Vaulting by Holly
- Bucked Off in Vaulting
- No head injury by Rachel
- My horse tripped and fell down and I was thrown off. The helmet was dented and I fractured several vertebrae, but I had no head injury.
- True Helmet Stories by Sandy Phillips
- My TB fell backwards on top of me, rolled back and forth several times and kicked me in the head on his way back up.
- My first fall by Sherri
- My first fall was w/out my helmet on. Boy I'll never do that again
- Regular afternoon by Elizabeth
- I am 13- It was a sunny afternoon when my horse spooked and I tumbled off head first. You think it will never happen to you until it happens and happens in an instant.
- My helmet made a difference! by Laura
- I fell head first when thrown from my horse.
- Two falls in 6 months, I wear a helmet now. by Karen Lehman
- After two falls with out a helmet I am lucky to be alive. I now wear a helmet even at the Western shows, I think that us western folk should really start thinking......
- Helmet Saved my Life by Trisha Rau
- Out riding a young stud I was bucked off on a helmet was the only thing between me and a rock.
- Helmet saved me by Lisa Marie
- My helmet saved me from serious head injury when I was bucked off my exuberant mount.
- I'd be dead if not for my helmet by Shirley
- While calmly walking down a bridle path, my horse suddenly jumped out from under me. My upper back and head landed on rocks.
- Helmets are life savers by Beth
- I'm 17 and never thought the horse i was riding would spook the way he did with me.
- ALWAYS Wear Helmet! by Aleta
- I'm 45 and my horse fell going down a steep hill, I came off and was caught in the stirrup while my horses feet crashed into my head and face.
- Horse took off on me! by Emily
- I was jumping on my 5th ever lesson, but the jump was in front of an open gate. He took off, headed for home, and I didn't know how to hang on yet, so I fell, and really hurt my back. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
- 4H kids and helmets by Debbie Crowder
- One of my 4h kids' pony took and extra bigf leap over a creek and she popped off his back and into the dirt, backside first, her head did a whiplash. Her helmet is toast, but at least she can still look forward to her lesson tomorrow instead of a hospital stay (that is,if she can get a new helmet in time!)
- roundpen buckout by Elke
- I was riding an ex-bucking horse in the roundpen. Suddenly, he panicked and my head hit hard on the dirt.
- helmet saved my life while carriage driving by kathleen
- my mule and I were hit while driving from behind by a car that went BETWEEN the wheels. the cart went up the hood and the shafts broke and i was flung back so hard that my head hit the roof of the car!
- True Helmet Stories by Jane
- 44 and still alive after my horse spooked and took off at a gallop under a tree!
- Helmet has saved me two times - 7 years apart by Stacey
- I am a 20-year old college student. When I was 13, I was thrown off a horse while jumping, my helmet saved me from head injury. Last summer, my horse bucked and threw me while I was training him. My helmet saved me from having a worse injury.
- Not once, but twice! by Debbie
- I'm 23 and have learned the importance of wearing a helmet every time I ride, not just when jumping. I've had two falls that would have changed my life if it wasn't for my helmet.
- helmet saved me from serious injury or worse by Mary
- 46 year old woman returning to riding after many years,bucked off panicking horse,Sept.24,2004.
- Horse bucked me off twice in one lesson!!!!!!! by Kim
- Riding without sturrips... lose balance...and horse bucks, 16-yr-old girl falls...
- My daughter's head hit a jump standard by Lauren
- My then 11 year old daughter came off a bucking horse and hit her head on a jump standard.
- Deadman Walking by
- I could be dead right now, and I would be if I had not been wearing my helmet.
- Helmet saved my daughter's life! by nikki
- My 12-year-old daughter's pony tripped and summersaulted over
on top of her.
- Flat Gallop by Lauren
- I'm 16, my horse and I were having a great gallop around the paddock untill he dodged the fence.
- My helmet saved my LIFE! by Jennifer
- I'm 13 and a experience rider. My 1500 pound horse spooked when I was adjusting my stirrup and fell on me.
- Another one bites the dust.... by Susan
- My mare was spooked by some horses behind us and tucked her tail and scooted forward. I rolled off her back and got a hoof in the face, making me hit my head hard and cracking my helmet.
- helmet saved my head by amanda
- I'm 12 years old and my horse fell in a show
- No Helmet, Big Problem by Kim
- My mom's horse bucked her off and sent her flying into a fence pole!
- Every Time, Every ride. by Lauren
- I was in the arena with a loose horse, while the rider was run into tree.
- One big bad fall and one that will never be forgotten!! by VIctoria
- More people should where a vest when doing jumpers. Just listen to the story why people should!!
- Saved by my Helmet - Horse Fell by Dawn
- My horse stepped in a hole during a 50 mile endurance ride and somersaulted, and I landed on my head.
- Crushed Helmet instead of Head by Karen
- I fell & probably took a hoof to the head - not quite sure because I have no memory of the fall.
- Daughter is laughing at T.V. tonite instead of being rushed to Emergency room by Karen Sullivan
- Unknown booger spooks mare in trailer parking area after nice ride; daugther is flung off onto back and head.
- broke my arm, but my helmet saved me by Rosemary
- thrown off lesson horse at a canter, broke my arm, but my helmet saved my head
- Helmets by Gwilda
- I wouldn't be here today, if I didn't have a helmet on!
- 16 year old in coma after horse trips in arena by Karen
- When my sister was 16 she was riding a Thoroughbred we were considering purchasing in our arena. As she was cantering a figure 8 the horse suddenly tripped and went down hard.
- Horse bucks me off, Never expected it... by Taylor
- My Belgian Draft bucks me off...I'm am lucky to have been wearing my helmet at the time
- true helmet story by Patricia
- When I was 14, inspite of my trainer's warnings, I went trail riding without a helmet and ended up with a tree stuck in my head!
- No Helmet, now my life has changed forever by Carolyn
- I was 45 and at the peak of my career when I came off a galloping horse on a trail ride. I was not wearing a helmet. I have permenant brain damage.
- Red Wasps by Pam Morrow
- I was riding my 7 yr old TWH, We were about 2 hrs into the ride and must've stirred up some wasps. From what I was told he suddenly lunged forward then bucked. I hit the ground and don't remember much of the next couple of days.
- Cracked Helmet by Jayme
- I was violently thrown from a bolting horse.
- My Horse Suddenly Died! by Jann
- Riding out on trail one Sunday afternoon, the unexpected happened.
My horse just died.
- falling off by Mai Rashid
- I was riding this bomb-proof, push-button horse on a trail ride with
his owner riding her new horse. Next thing you know they were racing and I fell off.
- Forever Grateful for the Helmet by Marie
- My 13 year old son's borrowed horse reared and went over backwards on top of him.
Thank God he was also wearing a borrowed helmet.
- A helmet saved my student by Betty
- My 10 year old student hit her head on a tack box when the horse bolted out from under her.
- Not using a helmet could have killed him by Laura
- 40-year-old friend sustained severe head injury while leading a horse from the hitching post to mount up; mare reared and he fell and hit his head on concrete.
- Always wear helmet, even if on the horse for just a minute by Stephanie
- My friend's 9-year-old daughter fell head first when her pony was spooked by the flash from a camera.
- Horse takes off bucking: I was totally unprepared... by Holly
- I am 43 and a "returning rider" after being in exile from horses for twenty years. The quiet, kind lesson horse I was riding suddenly took off bucking as he transitioned from the trot to the canter and I sailed through air, somersaulted and landed on my head and back.
- Traumatic Brain Injury by Blaine Stanziana
- Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury
- Girth breaks at full gallop by raven
- My girth broke durring a all-out gallop at the beach.
- Ex-Racehorse Turns Back to Racehorse by Keela
- I am a 40-year-old woman whose horse took off on a trailride at a dead gallop. When we hit the road, he slid and fell. My head hit the pavement as I came off.
- A Helmet Saved my Life! by Amanda
- I thought I was riding a safe horse and then i got bucked off and hit my head on a wall.
- My helmet is as precious as my horse by Amy
- I was riding on a menage with no stirrups my horse swerved a corner in a canter, I came off and smashed my head on the railings.
- Always a helmet by Jim
- I always wear a helmet. I just started riding at age 60 and believe that safety comes first.
- Life Saving $15.00 Helmet purchase by Robin
- A pleasure ride coming to an end was disrupted by my sudden ejection from my horse. At 52, I can't afford to be thrown around like a rag doll.
- It's a long way down! by Chris
- 42 yr old woman falls off of 17 hand Shire gelding after he bolted for unknown reason.
- Gymkhana Concussion by Caitlin
- I am 15 year old experianced Gymkhana rider. I was at the Spring Stampede doing clover barrels and the next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital. All I could do is ask what horse was I on is he ok. And that was all I asked over and over.
- My horse fell on me in a deep water obstacle on an Endurance Ride by Cathy
- I'm 57 years old. My horse got in trouble in some deep water. I went off and was kicked in the head while being totally submerged.
- Head First Into The Arena Wall by Leslie Powers
- My horse spooked as I was dismounting, bolted towards the indoor arena wall and projected me head first into the boards.
- Helmets by Cindy
- Didn't start out wearing a helmet growing up with horses, would be half dressed if I rode without one now.
- Convincing cowboys and cowgirls to wear a helmet by Leanne
- An Aussie teaches cowboys and cowgirls
- Thank God for adult fears by Chris
- Riding as a kid was sooooooo different. I'm glad as an adult I found a few new fears I didn't have as a kid and that I wore a helmet that day.
- Wear it EVERY time by Alison Farrin
- My 3 point landing, head and knees to the ground must have looked spectacular, especially coming off a horse that had been standing perfectly still!
- Hard-Headed? by Janene
- My daddy always said that I was hard-headed, but not as hard as my helmet!
- Helmet Limits My Head Injury to a Grade 3 Concussion by Janet Peters
- I am a 45-year-old mother of three who always rides with a helmet. I fell off my horse trail riding and have no memory of the accident.
- Nothing happened but.......you never know! by Cassandra
- I went out for a short trail ride with no helmet, nothing happened on the ride, but after falling off with a helmet while jumping, nothing would ever inspire me to get on a horse without a helmet.
- Head hits round pen railing by Betty
- Bucked off arab QH cross in a round pen. I hit my head on the railing after being bucked off. The impact cracked the helmet.
- Helmets NOW a must by Connie
- I am a 33 yr. old experienced rider who has never worn a helmet- EVER. While riding a green 3 yr old stallion I came off....
- Endurance Rider should wear helmets too!!! by Ann Mifflin
- I learned my lesson!
- Green horse falls at canter by Shayna
- I'm a 15 year old avid rider. A helmet saved me when my horse fell on top of me.
- Helmet by Diane
- I am 39 and a single mother. While mounting my new POA he bucked me off.
- Crazy drivers and young horses by Kathy
- A driver purposely drove at me (40 years female) and my young gelding as we rode along the road, spooking him out from under me. My head hit the asphalt pavement.
- Sliding down a hill under a horse by Shannon
- My 3 year old horse slipped off a very steep, narrow switchback and fell on top of me as we slid down the hill.
- Helmets May Not Look "Cool" BUT... by Ellen
- 47-year-old woman bonks head in fall without helmet but gets lucky and sees the light. 26-year-old friend gets serious concussion falling without one.
- Helmet saved my life! by Barbara
- This story was written from my hospital bed, and posted to my horse newsgroup.
- Daughter wishes she'd worn a helmet by Karen
- My 14 year old wasn't wearing a helmet. The season is over for her
- Accidents can happen just walking around the yard by Kerri
- Thanks to her helmet, my daughter survived being kicked in the head.
- Helmet safety by Sarah
- I was 14 when I was on a relaxing trail ride with my reliable old horse. When coming through a gate, my stirrup became caught on a gate latch, every thing else is a blur.
- Cinch breaks while trailriding by Tiffany
- I'm 30 and fell off while cantering my horse on trail. My cinch broke off of saddle and I fell off head first.
- Helmets for all! by Cat
- Double somersault in the air!
- Wearing a helmet by Krista
- Might not have been able to laugh off the fall and climbed back on if it wasn't for my helmet.........
- My Grandmas insisted on my helmet and not my Cowboy Hat by Kyndra
- My 8 year old daughter was at her Jr. Rodeo and getting ready for her barrel run.
Her horse balked at the gate and got spooked and he came up and over on top of her left side.
If she had worn her Cowboy Hat, the outcome would have been worse, as her helmet was cracked up the backside and a hole in her helmet from landing on a rock.
- Even "Celebrities" should wear helmets by Jill
- A TV personality was taping a show at my friend's house and part of the show was him trailriding with us. He was an inexperienced rider and insisted he didn't need a helmet.
- trailriding by Rachael
- I was trail riding and a truck went by and my horse spooked
- Helmets on my kids, A MUST! by Tina
- If not for wearing a helmet, my daughter would not be sitting on my couch right now, she would probably still be in the hospital, or worse.
- no hat-no brains by Gayle
- As a crazy about horses teenager, I had a favourite riding school horse-who HATED motorbikes, I somersaulted off and had concussion,and ongoing neck and back problems. No hat- Nearly no brains.
- Helmet Saved Me While on Vacation in New Zealand by Pam
- At 29, I had taken a vacation to New Zealand and wanted to go on a trail ride. While cantering through the woods, I fell off the horse and I think I landed on my head -- I'll never know, because I don't remember what happened.
- Last jump of the session by Katherine
- My horse bucked over the last jump and that is all I remembered.
- Everyone who rides with me wears a helmet...OR THEY DON'T RIDE!!!!! by Sylvie
- I insist anyone who rides with me wear a helmet. Or I don't ride with them. This has caused friction and disagreement - can you beleive it!
- horse falls by Becky
- 27-year-old professional rider, riding a quiet, reliable horse in an indoor arena, just walking and trotting. The horse falls, striking me in the head on his way back up.
- Bucking horse, felt like it was head first, but I don't really know by Wendi
- I'm a nine year old girl, and I ride in Blue Shadows, western. I was riding a horse, letting him rest, while talking to my best friend's little brother's friend (I was riding with my best friend and her little brother) and I spurred him to hard when I wanted to go. Thank you helmet!
- Riding a green horse by Carrie
- Riding a green horse requires a helmet.
- My helmet saved my life!!! by Natalie
- I was riding my horse Paco, when all of a sudden he tripped on a rock, I fell and hit my head on the ground.
- Helmet...every time by Pat
- I started riding at age 57. Having been a bicyclist, no one had to tell me to wear a helmet. Were it not for my helmet,(Troxel) I would have surely been severely injured...or worse. (note that Troxel will replace a damaged helmet for $15 and the story)
- My instructor didn't forget her helmet by Erika
- My instructor's horse tripped and she went flying through the air. Thanks to her
helmet she can still ride.
- Grateful for just a concussion and a raspberry on my back! by Diana
- I am 16 and the daughter of an experienced horseman. I was jumping a green mare when I was thrown and did several backwards sommersaults.
- Another helmet does its job by Karen
- Head first into the back of a barn and still alive to tell about it.
- Lexington helmet saved my life by Sarah
- My horse slipped in hidden mud and fell, I hit my head on the ground.
- I won't need one... by G
- Just hopping on for a few seconds bareback...I won't need a helmet, I won't be jumping or anything.
- Helmet stories I learned from by Karen
- Why I always wear a helmet...
- helmet story by Sarah
- I have always worn a helmet, except....
- Peer Pressure is NOT an excuse to forego a helmet!! by Lisa
- As the only one of ten people on a trail ride on the beach who opted to wear a safety helmet, I felt pretty "dorky", for lack of a better term...
- Troxel helmet saved a life by Denay
- My sister-in-law was on my horse when he spooked. She lost her balance and fell off to the right side.
- helmets, thank heaven for them! by ruth
- Beautiful, sunny summer day...short fast launch into a jump standard head-first!
- Hunt Cap vs. Safety Helmet by Meghan
- I am a 32-year-old foxhunter whose husband insisted that I NEVER use my hunt cap but always wear my safety helmet with a chin strap...his insistence may have saved my life when I was thrown from my horse and crashed into a tree head first.
- helmet story by Shelley
- My dog startled my horse, he bucked, I hit the ground, the only damage was to my helmet.
- Never take the chance by Kelly
- I don't ever take the chance anymore. Think about what life would be like if you have that accident--and most are completely unforeseen accidents. What would your family do?
- no helmet leads to a sad story by Michelle
- 65 year old very active barn owner who was a great rider and trainer has a small fall off a spooked horse and now is reduced to a physically frail man with 6 year old like mentality.
- Just a 5 minute ride... by Kate
- "I don't think he's for you" said a friend as she dismounted from the lovely horse we'd been looking at for me to buy..."but have a 5 minute walk anyway, to see what you think"
- There is no excuse for not
wearing a helmet! by Barb
- This was written from my hospital room after my new horse tripped and fell.
- my helmet saved my life (probably) by Craig
- Horse spooked on my driveway and I (55 YO man) hit pavement head first....broken collar bone, cracked helmet, mild concussion, 8 months dizziness.
- Miss my sister by Beth
- My 25-year-old sister was delivering Christmas presents with her husband of 7 months. She was riding her horse of many years, the "bomb-proof, babysitter horse" and no one really knows what happened.
- Devoted helmet wearer by Tania
- 30-year-old woman sadly recalls a childhood Pony Club friend who died from head injuries because she wasn't wearing her helmet while out hacking.
- Landed on head while jumping by Lori
- Rider recalls landing on her head after her horse stopped at a fence.
- My 4-H kids are required to wear helmets by 4-H adviser
- Young 4-Her's horse bolted and she hit a 4x4 post head-first.
- Many reasons to wear a helmet by Bobbie
- 60-something rider living in Switzerland has seen and experienced many instances where helmets have made the difference.
- Friend survives severe kick in the head by Debbi
- Friend was kicked in the head during a fall. She spent 6 months in the hospital but survived. Her helmet had split in half.
- Usually quiet Saddlebred bolts by Aneda
- 50+ woman was riding her quiet-mannered Saddlebred when he bolted and she had to bale out. Her helmet had a 6" crack in it.
- Three accidents in two years and lessons learned by Jonnie
- Another lesson learned for an old dog, (mother-wife-sister-daughter-friend-teacher-instructor) who knows her loved ones are very grateful for a cheap to replace helmet!
A regularly updated list of approved helmets is available from
the Safety Equipment Institute
Every Time, Every Ride
"Every Time, Every Ride" is an educational video on head injury prevention
that is a must for all riders, instructors, horse clubs and parents of
children who ride. From the Washington State 4-H
Do You Know the
Signs of Concussion?
Read up and learn more from the downloadable PDF
Mild Brain Injury
. Also available in text format
From the Brain Injury
Association of America
True Helmet Facts
[Reprinted with permission of the EMSA (Equestrian Medical Safety Association).]
- Between 12 to 15 million persons in the United States ride a horse or pony every year.
- Approximately 20 percent of horse-related injuries occur on the ground and not riding.
- Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding.
- The most common reason among riders for admission to hospital and death are head injuries.
- A fall from two feet (60 cm) can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider eight feet (three meters) or more above ground.
- A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 7-10 kph. Horses can gallop at 65 kph.
- According to the National Electronic Surveillance System figures the most likely ages for injury is at 5-14, and 25-44 years with each decade having about 20 percent of the injuries.
- A rider who has one head injury has a 40 percent chance of suffering a second head injury. Children, teens and young adults are most vulnerable to sudden death from second impact syndrome: severe brain swelling as a result of suffering a second head injury before recovery from the first head injury.
- Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.
- Hospital costs for an acute head injury can be in the range of $25000 per day. Lifetime extended care costs may easily exceed $3 million. There is no funding for rehabilitation outside the medical setting.
- Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI
(Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the harness firmly applied.
Other types of helmets, including bike helmets, are inadequate.
- Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer fewer head injuries than pleasure riders. The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29 percent with mandatory helmet use. Britainís hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46 percent after helmet design improved and they came into routine use.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association through the Committee on Sports Medicine, Canadian Medical Association, and the American Medical Equestrian Association/Safe Riders Foundation recommend that approved, fitted and secured helmets be worn on all rides by all horseback riders.