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

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Getting slammed into a post without a helmet on would have been fatal, but it wasn't because I simply wear a helmet by Catherine

I am a 12-year-old girl who has been riding for 5 years and been jumping for about 1 1/2 years. I was the most adavanced rider at the camp, and they didnt have enough school horses. The instructor decided I could handle a 7-year-old thoroughbred that hadn't been ridden in a whole week. He had a reputation for boulting on people, but no one had ever been injured. The owner of the barn, and very skilled 3-Day-Eventer, lunged Beau, the horse that I was going to ride, before I got on. He seemed fairly lazy,not spooking or doing anything to make me nervous. He was happily trotting when he suddenly stopped, lifted his head, and bolted. I couldn't see anything, all i could hear was my instructor yelling at the other students to stop and get off their horses. On my fifteenth lap around the jumping arena, going around 35mph, he jurked, causing my foot to fall out of the stirrup. I stayed on and finally make him slow down to about 30mph, my foot still dangling without a secure stirrup beneath it. I could feel him speed up every longside, and just as we were about to hit the shortside, he spun around to go back on the longside. I don't remember what happened, only finding myself lying on the ground up against a post. My friend, Gina, later told me that when Beau spun, I did a kind of cartwheel spin off his back and slammed into a nearby post. For a couple of minutes I was numb. Marcie, a barn nurse, helped me up after five minutes of lying there. I had a gash on my back, and my head felt like it had been smashed up against a cement wall. I had to go to the hospital later that day to get x-rays on my back, and it turns out I had a hair-line fracture in my spine. Beau was a very sweet horse, despite what had happened, and he died later that month from colic. The doctors told me that if I hadn't had a helmet on, I would have cracked open my head AGAIN! I want everyone to know,especially western riders, it doesnt matter how advanced you think you are, a horse's mind is something that we will never understand, and when that switch gets flicked and theirs no stopping it, you'll wish you had that helmet on.

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