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

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My helmet probably saved my life by Kristen

During a field lesson, I signaled my horse to canter. She picked up the incorrect lead, and before I could slow her to a trot and ask her to pick up the correct lead, we curved around a tree in the field, and she executed a flying lead change.

I wasn't prepared for the shift in balance, and my right heel came straight up. When that happened, my right foot slipped out of the stirrup and I started to bounce back on the saddle. I remember trying to grab desperately for the mane, but I knew there was no way I could stay on her.

I did the only thing I could do--I kicked my left foot free so that my foot wouldn't get caught in the stirrup when I fell, and I launched myself as far away from the horse as possible when I went off her right side.

I remember hitting the ground on my back, then having a horrible pain in my head. It was several minutes before I could get up and back into the saddle. Initially, everything seemed fine, but when my instructor lead us back to the ring so I could walk, I started asking over and over where my glasses were, even though she was answering the question. There were even times during the 20 minute span that I walked in the ring that I can recall not knowing where I was or how I got into the ring. I definitely had short term memory loss and didn't remember much of anything after the accident the next day.

No doubt the helmet I was wearing likely saved me from much worse than the mild concussion I got. I was fully recovered except for a mild headache by the next evening, but I know there is no way I wouldn't have been in the hospital or even dead if I hadn't worn the helmet. I will never, ever ride without a helmet.

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