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

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Hunt Cap vs. Safety Helmet by Meghan

I bought my green Clydesdale/Thoroughbred horse, totally unbroken, a year and a half ago. I had never fallen off of him, despite some of our insane rides through Virginia Hunt Country. I began to feel like I had velcro on my butt and I could never fall off! I started wearing my hunt cap instead of my safety helmet, mostly due to my own vanity and the way it looked. Let's face it...a traditional hunt cap has such a lovely profile and such a classic look. Well, my husband had some words about this and insisted that I wear my safety helmet. He rarely insists on anything, so I began to oblige him (that, and reading all your articles Jessica!). The other week, I was trail riding him alone at my barn, in a snaffle, and we were cantering in a direction that lead to the path home when he, for the first time ever, grabbed a hold of that bit and took off at a gallop. I guess I was so shocked that I froze up...not really out of fear, but more out of shock. As we approached the fork in the path at a full out gallop (mind you, he is about 17 hands and weighs about 1600 pounds), I knew that, in order to stop him, I had to turn him up hill to the right (away from home) and that he would want to take the sharp left hand turn towards home. I tried to turn him right and almost got him to go that way, but he swung around so hard and fast to the left and bolted so powerfully that I came off the left side, rolled onto my back, slid a few feet on the ground and then my head crashing into the base of a large oak tree finally stopped my forward motion. I got up, relatively injury-free...and, well, yes chased my horse the mile home! (glad to say that I took him back there the next day in a stronger bit and he behaved very well!). Anyway, I know without a doubt that if I were not wearing a helmet, I would be in a hospital right now in a coma, with brain injury or dead. If I had been wearing my hunt cap (with no chip strap) it would have off and I would be in the same situation as if I had not been wearing a helmet at all.

Thanks to my husband for his stern caring and to you Jessica for your mantra of helmet-wearing!

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