Jessica Jahiel's HORSE-SENSE
True Helmet Stories from HORSE-SENSE Readers

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Many reasons to wear a helmet by Bobbie

Thank you for publishing the helmet story. I believe in helmets whole-heartedly. And here are some reasons why:

Across the road from a stable I once frequented was a teenaged girl -- who had quite a lot of correct riding experience -- with a metal plate in her head from a riding accident.

At a community riding hall where my step daughter rode weekly was a man with a major dent (no plate) in his head from a horse-related accident.

I can think of at least one fall when my helmet intercepted the encounter of a galloping hoof with my head. The helmet was damaged; my head was not.

And a few times while riding an experienced trail horse at a walk in the woods, I have not folded my 60-some-year-old body fast enough to prevent ramming my head into a branch. Thank goodness for helmets.

One of my two horse-related hospitalizations involved a concussion. This was a ground accident incurred while leading a young horse 100' from one stable to another. As reconstructed, she apparently spooked, jerked me off my feet and kicked. I "sort of" remember an eye-blink length scene of something approaching through the dense fog and I "sort of" remember myself refusing to let go (stupid!) and I "sort of" remember another eye-blink scene of myself dragging. Whatever the actual lost facts of the accident were, when I swam up into consciousness, an ambulance crew was bending over me and I heard the din of the medical helicopter landing. Since I was then conscious and coherent ("sort of"!!!), they decided I would not have to be transported to the Zurich hospital after all. The nearest hospital could handle me.

Quite likely a helmet, had I been wearing one, would not have prevented this particular concussion as the horse's hoof had landed on my cheek. But what is interesting is what I learned on day 3 or 4 of my hospitalization when I was allowed out of bed and into the halls. There in the same wing of that hospital in a small Swiss town were two other horse accident victims. The injuries of each had been far more grave than my own. One patient, who had not been wearing her helmet while riding, had suffered a serious concussion and two long, stitched up lacerations to the skull. A helmet would have lessened and perhaps prevented her injuries

While I did not wear a helmet -- did I even know about them? -- when I owned horses for 10 years in the 50s and 60s, when I returned to horses in 1986, equipment and knowledge and also my own awareness of mortality had changed. For the last 16 years I have ALWAYS worn a helmet when mounted, even if only on a 10 minute bareback walk in an inside arena on my very solid citizen and very aged oldest mare.

I'm very glad you will be devoting space to this subject.

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