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

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We had been riding about 30 minutes when suddenly, in his canter, he stumbled, kinda fell, got back up, and stumbled again. This happened so quickly that I am relying on Ray (the trainer)and Greg's (my husband) accounts. I managed to sit the first stumble; righted myself on the recovery; but fell off on the second stumble. I slid face first and hit the ground into a gravel track. I then flipped over, and landed on my back. For approximately 1 1/2 hours I have no idea of what I said or did during that time period.

The results of the injuries are as follows: 6 stitches to the upper lip and chin; 12-15 stitches to reattach my lower lip where it was ripped off my gum (nice BIG pocket for Skoal now!); the skin on my upper right shoulder is GONE; the skin on my right breast looks like it was sandpapered; a big welt on my upper right forehead above my right eye; major swelling of my right jaw and chin area; I have nerve damage in my neck that affects my left arm; and I have a black eye. I did come to the hospital immediately for an exam. When they did a CAT scan, they found a brain hemorrhage.

OK, so far it's been kinda gross and painful to read. Here's the preaching/soapbox part. EVERY ONE OF THE DOCTORS/AMBULANCE DRIVERS/NURSES/XRAY TECHNICIANS, ETC. ALL SAID THAT I WAS LUCKY TO HAVE BEEN WEARING A HELMET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, when I got my first horse I promised myself any my husband that I would never ride without a helmet. Or a cellphone. Or a buddy. When I fell Sunday, I hit my forehead first, then when I flipped over backwards I hit the back of my head. If I ended up with a brain hemmorhage with the helmet on, but what would the extend of my injuries have been without one??? In the Springfield, Missouri area, the hospitals deal with a lot of horse-related injuries. They all stated, to the letter, than injuries where the person wore a helmet were FAR, FAR less severe than the same accident where the rider wasn't wearing a helmet.

Snort just overreached, and now has a crescent-shaped cuts on his inside forelegs. He didn't buck me, or try to throw me. The poor guy kicked himself, and stumbled. He's hurt too.

My CAT scans were close to $1,000 each, and I had 2. My helmet was $60.

Some say wearing a helmet isn't macho. There is nothing macho about walking around a hospital wearing a gown that shows your arse to everyone. Nothing macho about using a bedpan. Nothing macho about being a vegetable, and not being able to take care of your loved ones.

My husband was a nervous wreck. I can't imagine what it would have been like if my injuries would have turned out to be more serious. No matter how good of a rider you are, manure happens, and you have no right to let your pride cause your family any amount of worry or concern. No matter how experienced of a rider you are, gravity works the same on you as it does a rookie.

Right now I'm high on Darvocettes, look like Rocky Balboa, and am thanking God Almightly that I am fine, except for superficial injuries that will heal within a month. I feel, and look, like h*ll. I scare small children at this point.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT WEARING A HELMET!!! Don't let someone go through the trauma of seeing you hurt, please. Trust me, it isn't worth it. It just isn't worth it!!!!

Barb <\__~ // \\

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