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

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Hard Headed? by Janene

I have been riding since I was 3 years old. After 25+ years of riding I started exploring endurance. I never thought I needed a helmet and never owned one. I'm glad that I started.

There have been a few times I've been very glad that I started wearing a helmet. The first time was when I was in a remote location and about 30 minutes into the ride we started trotting out. The trail was flat and we were probably going about 7 mph. Next to the trail was a large oak tree with limbs hanging slightly across the trail. A few little wispy branches didn't seem like much so I kept our pace. WRONG - As I got into the wisps I hit a large branch (about 5-6 inches in diameter) hidden within. I hit about 3-4 inches up from the rim of my helmet towards the top of my head. The impact threw me backwards to where I was laying on the back of my horse. I had to go to a chiropractor for weeks after that one.

I think every time I went out I was glad I had my helmet. Where I live and trained, the trails usually have quite a bit of vegetation. When you are moving out at anything more than a walk, you shouldn’t be moving around dodging stuff. It is nice to just drop your chin and have little branches, leaves, walnut shells, etc. hit the helmet and stay balanced and focused.

There was one time that I didn’t wear my helmet; instead I had my daughter wearing it. We were “just going out for a short stroll across the street”. My horse tripped, fell on me and I hit my head. My daughter jumped off of her horse and both horses took off. Good thing we were close to home (about a block away in a field). I don’t remember walking home, getting the horses from someone who caught them, or tying them up. My daughter called my husband and I kept asking him and her the same questions over and over. I started getting scared when I didn’t know where I was and when I saw how scared my daughter was because I couldn’t remember a question I asked her 10 seconds before. I was lucky, very lucky. My leg wasn’t broken, but I couldn’t walk on it for a couple weeks. Besides the major headache, I started to remember bits and pieces of what happened although I still don’t remember everything.

My daddy always said that I was hard headed, but not as hard as my helmet!

It doesn’t matter how long or how good you are. Wear your helmet every time.

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