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

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My horse loves to jump... too much! by Rachel

My helmet saved me a trip to the hospital; possibly worse. It was a hot day, & I decided to ride in the shade of the indoor arena instead of the outside one... the footing was better in there anyway. The weather made me seriously consider not wearing my crash hat, but as I went to mount up, the thought entered my head "...the one day you don't wear it, something wil happen!" so on the hat went... sure enough, my hot TB was extremely distracted by the back door (think large, roll-up garage door) of the indoor arena being open. At that point in my life I had been riding for at least 15 years; H/J, polo, dressage, & eventing through Training Level. There were some bad bales of hay that had been stacked outside the back door of the arena (which was just at the end of the longside corner)... about 3-high, 3 or 4-deep, & as wide as the door frame. As I rode down the longside in trot, I realized that my horse's attention was not on me, but on something outside the arena, far beyond all the bad hay. So I put my inside leg on him & gave what I thought was a enough of a half-halt on the outside rein as we came to the end of the long side, in an attempt to get his focus back in the arena & re-balance for the corner. Well, he had other ideas. Guess he thought I was setting him up for the "jump" at the end of the arena (all that bad hay), and took a flying leap through the opening... over the hay & under the door. It caught me so off guard that I didn't think or have time to duck, & the bottom of the 1/2 way rolled-up door caught my helmet with a loud *CRACK* sound- right above my eyebrows. Still not quite sure how I stayed on, but the next day I felt like I'd been in a reverse-whiplash car wreck. Every muscle on my front side from throat to abs to quads was quite sore to say the least. The helmet left a bruise on my forehead, but it saved me a trip to the hospital & a whole lot of stitches... maybe even a fractured skull. I know this was an unusual situation, but I could have had a serious head injury without even leaving the saddle. This was almost 10 years ago now, & I ALWAYS wear my crash hat & encourage others to do so as well. Rachel

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