Helmet has saved me two times - 7 years apart by Stacey
I had been riding a blue eyed Appaloosa for a riding class at a local college. I was 13-years old at the time and had a passion to learn as much as I could about english dressage and show jumping. The horse had refused every jump during our lesson. Finally, after much convincing, he got out of his rut and began performing. When we rounded the corner, there were two jumps set up 3 strides apart. He jumped the first jump, then all I remember was my instructer screaming "KICK HIM NOW!" to get him through the second jump... I went to kick him and the next thing I remember is looking up from the ground and seeing my mother and instructor running towards me. According to their stories, the horse put on the breaks as soon as I went to kick him. I was so prepared and focused on the jump, not expecting him to refuse it, that I flew right over him, and cracked my head hard on the vertical pole, my neck hitting the horizontal part of the jump. The horse, Apollo, proceeded to attempt to jump over me but came down hard on my back. I went to the emergency room, feeling as though my jaw were broken. Fortunately I limped away with a huge bruise on my back, enormous headache and a very stiff jaw. This happened exactly one month prior to Christopher Reeves accident.
I bought Lancelot when he was 5 months old and began training him immediately. Running out of knowledge, my trainer and I (now 20) had been working with my 5-year old Paint-Percheron gelding full time this past summer. Training had been going wonderfully, I was just getting my confidence up to lope and canter him. I cued him in the corner at the same time (supposedly) that a horsefly bit his stomach.
Lancelot bucked rapidly twice - on the first buck I was completely caught off guard and tossed up into the air. My feet stayed in the stirrups but I came right down on the saddle horn causing contact with my pelvic boin/groin area. On the second buck, I was so stunned he managed to toss me over his head - similar to a gymnastic performing a front roundoff. All I remember is slamming my neck, shoulders, back and bottom hard onto the dirt ground. People came running and I just laid their in shock and complete awe. My horse had completely frozen in place and refused to move. The trainer said he just looked at me almost dazed at his own actions. The barn owner helped me up and out of the arena. I suffered traumatic injury to my pelvic bone and lower back - causing me to be out of commission for one month. The doctors told me that had I not worn my helmet I could be paralized today due to the trauma on my head, neck and lower back.
PLEASE TELL YOUR STUDENTS, LOVED ONES, TRAINERS, AND ALL PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH HORSES TO WEAR A HELMET. MAKE IT THE NEW FASION - DO NOT RISK YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE BY IGNORING YOUR HELMET - IT IS AN INVESTMENT THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME!
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