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True Helmet Stories from HORSE-SENSE Readers

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True Helmet Stories by Sandy Phillips

Several friends came over to our farm for a trail ride. I allowed one of my friends to ride my TB, Dan, a former eventer, who can be a handful some times. She is an experienced rider, so we felt we wouldn't have a problem. I jumped on one of our quarter horeses and away we went. As we left the barn, I was the only "goober" to wear her helmet -- no one else on that ride did. My friend's dog, a blue heeler, accompanied us, and ran back and forth around Dan's feet which really stressed him out. Dan became agitated and began to get very frothy with sweat. I told my friend to switch horses with me and I proceeded to take Dan back to the barn. I wanted to cool him down a bit before puting him up so I walked him over to a side pasture and jumped in the saddle. He was fine at first but then began backing up and all I remember is seeing his head coming at me and thinking "please don't fall on me." I don't remember what else happened, I was knocked out. My friends tell me that Dan fell backwards on top of me and then had a hard time getting his feet back under him so he rolled back and forth several times over top of me. Once he got his legs under him, he kicked me in the head as he got up. Since I had my HELMET on, my head was relatively safe. Had I not had it on, who knows how bad the damage could have been. I came to a few minutes later and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I fractured three vertebrae, cracked a few ribs and had a concussion. Given the circumstances, I came out of this wreck reasonably okay. Had it not been for my helmet, it could have been far worse. I have always required kids to wear helmets on my property, and allowed adults to make their own decision. Now when adults ride with me, I am quick to tell them my story before we start.

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