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True Helmet Stories from HORSE-SENSE Readers

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Helmet saved my life! by Barbara

Our Missouri Foxtrotter, Snortin' Norton, is at our trainer's house. We were doing a light workout in the arena. I rode Snort in a walk and trot, and also in a lope. We had been riding about 30 minutes when suddenly, in his lope, he stumbled, kinda fell, got back up, and stumbled again. This happened so quickly that I am relying on Ray (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 pulled my left deltoid muscle severely; nerve damage in my neck which is affecting the use of my left arm; and I have a black eye. I did go to the hospital immediately for an exam. When they did a CAT scan, they found blood on the brain: i.e. some type of hemorrhage. So I was transferred to a neuro-trama center ICU for observation. I ended up spending the night, and was released Monday morning to travel home 4 hours to St. Louis.

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. They thought that there was a possibility that I was bleeding inside my skull, and would need emergency surgery if it got worse. If I sustained a hemorrhage with the helmet on, what would the extend of my injuries be 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 cut on his inside foreleg. So I will ride him with boots from now on. He didn't buck me, or try to throw me. The poor guy kicked himself, and stumbled. He's hurt too.

If we protect our horses; why not ourselves?

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 rear-end 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.

Flame away. 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!!! Even if you are just doing a light workout in the arena like I was.

Please wear one. Put on your saddle; your bridle, and then your 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!!!!

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