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

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No head injury by Rachel

I grew up around people who rode Western and who never wore helmets. Everyone thought a helmet was for English riders and my parents who did not really know about horses never insisted that I wear a helmet. Luckily for me, I got through my teenage and early adult years without any incidents. Sure, I took some falls but never really got hurt and so I was still thinking that I was a good rider and that I could avoid any major injuries. As I got older, I took an interest in English riding and purchased a helmet since it was mandatory to wear one in competitions. Yet I still rode at home without a helmet - after all I was familiar with my horse and the trails. However, I started riding horses that were green broke and that belonged to other people. They were much more unpredictable than my own horse since I did not know the horses until I was on their back. I started thinking more about wearing a helmet regularly but no one else wore a helmet at my barn and I guess I felt a little self-conscious still. One day I was riding in a competition when my horse tripped and fell very hard. As she fell my saddle slipped to the side and I was thrown off very hard. I fractured several vertebrae and hit my head pretty hard, I was knocked out for a few seconds. You can probably imagine how thankful I was (and still am) that I was wearing a helmet on that day! After many tests I was told I did not have any head injury. My helmet was dented so I sent it back to the company and they replaced it for only the cost of shipping. While it did take several months for my back to heal and several more months of rehab, it was little compared to the thought of dying, or having permanent brain damage, memory loss or any of the other things that can result. Now when I get on a horse, it will be with my helmet and a body protector. Like anything, they don't protect against every possible injury, but it sure puts the balance in the rider's favor. I learned a hard lesson and I won't make the same mistake as I did in the past of ridng without a helmet.

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