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

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My 4-H kids are required to wear helmets by 4-H adviser

My story: I am the adviser for a 4H Horse project group. I require all members to wear a helmet and boots when mounted. I made that rule when I first started, and I had the usual grumbling. I stood by my rule (that's ANOTHER story), and am I glad I did.

One day, I had the group out in the ring, and we had finished the planned part of the day and the kids were 'free riding' to cool down themselves and the horses. All the horses were personal mounts or good old school horses. Suddenly, one of the school horses took off, for some reason I never discovered. We were in the 'big ring', so the horse had lots of room to build up speed. She tore around the ring and headed for the gate. I stepped in front of the gate to head her off. The child riding was one of my best riders, and she was doing a good job staying on but when the horse got to the gate she veered suddenly and the little girl fell off. She took out a 4x4 pressure-treated fence post with her helmet. It put a dent in the helmet that I could lay a finger in! I expected the worst, but the girl got up, took off her helmet, and said "I've got a headache." My heart went flippy-flop. I insisted her mother take her to the emergency room for a checkup. She had a red spot on her head where she had hit the post, the helmet was ruined, but she had NO lingering effects.

I was a believer before, but I have become a preacher!!! If you are on my horse, you wear a helmet. I even wrote it into our horse show rules: "Helmets are required for all timed events. All riders are encouraged to wear helmets. No rider will be penalized for incorrect attire if wearing a helmet." Several other groups have adopted our rule, and I'm happy to see it.

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