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Only 1 in 8 Riders Wear a Helmet When Riding Horses
 By Painted Destiny   •   18th Feb 2012   •   6,946 views   •   23 comments
Horse HelmetsHelmets are an important piece of equipment to have when riding. In the United States, only about 1 in 8 riders wear a helmet while riding. It's everyone's personal choice whether or not to wear a helmet, but this article will go over the general information of helmets, and various bits of information about wearing them.

The Helmet
The helmets used in equestrian sports are different from those used in other sports, such as cycling. It is specially designed to protect the person's head from falls, being struck with hard objects, etc. They are required in some competitions, and required in the majority of competitions for children. Riding schools usually require someone taking lessons to wear one.

Why do many people choose not to wear one?
It will mess up my hair!
I'm an experienced rider.
I'm riding a bombproof horse.
Helmets are expensive.
Western riders don't wear helmets.
Helmets are uncomfortable.

If you have a fall that injures your head, you probably won't have hair when they shave it to perform surgery on your damaged brain. No matter how experienced you are, an unexpected bolt, rear, buck, refusal, etc could cause you to become unseated. Horses are unpredictable, and 'bombproof' horses can live up to be unpredictable. Helmets aren't expensive. You can find many for under $50, while paying for a hospital bill that could have been prevented from wearing a helmet will cost much more. Many western riders do wear helmets. If your helmet is uncomfortable, you probably need a different size or style. There's many varieties, and one will work for you.

Wearing a helmet can prevent many head injuries. Sometimes, a helmet has saved a life. No, some injuries can't be prevented when wearing a helmet, but they can help make them less severe. I hope you'll consider wearing a helmet the next time you ride.

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Mutley Jackson  
I. Love. You. Thank you..... *kneels before Painteh*
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,265 views
 
Chris Antley Memorial  MOD 
Amazing article!

It is like not wearing a seat belt. So many people don't wear a seat belt because they think, "I am a good driver. I have never been in an accident...." It only takes one second for something to go wrong, even if it isn't your fault. When you get seriously hurt and in the hospital that is when you will look back and say, "Why didn't I wear my seat belt."

In my opinion, helmets should be mandatory. People get a ticket for not wearing their seat belts, why can't that be the same for helmets? Whether motorcycle helmets, bike helmets, riding helmets...

For those who don't wear helmets, look at the professional riders in Show Jumping, Dressage, Cross-Country, Horse racing, etc. and you will see that they are wearing helmets.

It only takes a second for your life to drastically change. Don't make it worse by not wearing a helmet because you never know, you might not get a second chance.
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,729 views
 
Wanderin Boy Memorial  
Great article ! I'm one of the one in 8 riders who wear a helmet :)
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,297 views
 
Diddy  
Verry nice post!:D
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,848 views
 
MoonBeam  
I don't always wear a hemet, but I know I should. I always, always do on hacks, but I have to admit that if I'm in the indoor school I don't always bother. Its not because I think I won't fall off, its because there is nothing to fall on. I rarely jump in the indoor school and the walls...well I've hit my head on them before, and pretty hard. It did know damage. I'm probably going to get a lot of comments saying that this is stupid, but helmets always make me feel enclosed and apart from my horse. I'm strange like that.
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,900 views
 
Cruisin Past Curfew  
Great article! My helmet saved me twice! Something will always go wrong, even if you horse is so called "bomb-proof."
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,603 views
 
Heaven Sent Creatures  MOD 
My daughter is currrently attending Equine Assisted Learning sessions and the instructor requires that they wear helmets, even though they are not riding the horses. I think it's a good thing since even on the ground a horse can hurt you.
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,474 views
 
SatanicWhispers  
First I do respect the fact that you put in that it is everyones choice to wear or not wear a helmet, unless your under 18 and your parent makes you lol.
I hated helmets always have and always will, and not just for riding horse, I made it clear at a young age I wouldnt wear a helmet, and my mom was ok with that as she didnt like them either, then it became any 4-h show you were required to wear a helmet, ok so we stopped doing 4-h shows except for fair and state. or me its not it will mess my hair up, or i dont like them, its i get horrible headaches from them, I cant wear any kind of a hat for more then a half hr without getting bad headachs I have a hard time with glasses and sunglasses to as i get headachs from them, so thats the main reason i havent had a helmet.
The second in one fall the helmet i had had the brim and not the removable brim, when i broke my leg the way i hit the rail as yes i did hit my face on it, but as i was told by the dr if i had been wearing it the way
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,758 views
 
Dark Star  
Well, I don't wear one on my show horse when I show/train. I DO wear a helmet when barrel racing, as I do have a high chance of an accident, Not from my horse acting up, but from horses falling down, tripping, etc.

With me it all depends on the horse I'm riding. If I'm on Archie, I SHOULD, but I don't always (He is unpredictable, and fairly dangerous to ride) I only wear it when I race him or I'm participating in 4H. If I'm on Dee, She is ALMOST bombproof. If I'm paying attention, she will not throw me off, but if I'm not paying attention, I deserve to fall off.

And you didn't say how it can be beneficial to NOT wear one. I have had an accident that would've hurt me MORE if I had one on. I have also been in one that I would've probably been comatose if I hadn't had one on.
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,685 views
 
BarrelRacersLove  
I wear helmets unless I am showing, roping, or running barrels. The association I am in for rodeo requires everyone except bronc riders and bull riders to wear cowboy hats. I do wear a helmet at home, most of the time.
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,693 views
 
Starlight Farm  
THANK YOU for writing an article on this. I can't remember her name, but a Maclay Medal Finals winner from the 1980's was nearly killed when her horse spooked - certainly an experienced rider who became unseated because horses are predictable. There are countless tales of people who fell off or were bucked over and were later told that their helmets were the only things that saved their lives. You never know what you could hit your head on - a fence, the ground, a jump standard (done that one before!).... a concussion or even worse damage is no excuse for not wearing a helmet, especially since they now come in all styles and colors and can be adjusted and whatnot. plus, the visor on the front helps block the sun :)
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,724 views
 
Double Spur Ranch  
Great Article
  Feb 18, 2012  •  4,697 views
 
Deep as Rhubarb  
Great article! I'm one of the one in eight. :-)
  Feb 19, 2012  •  4,688 views
 
Moose  
That's quite a shocking fact! Well I guess I'm one of those eight that actually wear a helmet! =D
  Feb 20, 2012  •  4,718 views
 
SMFponies  
Hi everyone. That is a very startling but I could see how that could apply. And while I respect everyone's decision, I want to point out a couple things.

1) Horses are A N I MALS!!! They are 1000+ Pounds of instinct or logic. Unlike cars or bicycles, they can't really reach speeds that a helmet couldn't make a difference. and they also have a bit of sense to try and fix any problem you may have put yourself into. But if they get startled, they will automatically turn to the instincts that have kept them alive for the past 50 million years or so. So even the most trusted horses can get spooked for a milisecond. And it only takes a milisecond to land on your head.

2) The stories go as followed
A girl walks into her round. horse is a relative baby, but is learning his job and doing extremely well. Horse spooks over a plane that just flew overhead, rears over backwards and crushes the girl. Broke her wrist and had a major concussion. The only thing that saved her life was the GPA he
  Feb 20, 2012  •  4,717 views
 
Reality  
Very good article! I don't ride now, but if I ever do, I will always wear a helmet. :)
  Feb 21, 2012  •  4,892 views
 
Spaztastic  
Great article. If only more people listened. If I didn't use a helmet, my head would of been a ball of mush a couple years ago. -_-
  Feb 23, 2012  •  5,051 views
 
Raychel  
Great article!! I'm proud to say that I'm one in eight who wears a helmet :)
  Feb 27, 2012  •  4,947 views
 
Carpe Diem  
This is great! Safety first everyone! :)
  Feb 28, 2012  •  4,686 views
 
Rusted Faith  
Helmets are provided at riding schools, shows and are all over the shops for a reason. They are essential. If you can't afford a helmet, how can you afford your horse? If it makes you uncomfortable, well lets just say you'll be a lot more uncomfortable when you fall and smack your head on something hard. That is providing you survive the fall if you land on your head. Horses will spook. Bombproof is a figure of speech, it does not mean your horse literally won't spook at a bomb. Even the best riders fall off sometimes. It only takes one time.
  Mar 2, 2012  •  4,712 views
 
abb77  
i wear a helmet because i dont want brain damage ..
  Mar 9, 2012  •  4,698 views
 
Makaela Marie  
I can't get on a horse without a helmet, I simply don't feel safe, no matter which horse I'm riding. It's second nature to me.
  Mar 18, 2012  •  4,711 views
 
Americano Freedom Stables  
the other imprtant thing to tho is that to make sure you replace your helmet after a while. I got lucky the night before new years eve this year. I had just gotten back from trying out a horse and went back to the barn with one of the trainers but left my new helmet in my moms car so i used my helmet that has been through many a crash and was 5 years old. I ended up schooling a pony who was short enough i figured if i got thrown it was no biggie. 20 minutes into my ride he bolted and slamed me into the gate and then spun, I lost my balence and only my foot on the other side of where I was dangling stayed in the sturriup and we did a 360. at the last second I crashed down and ended up being on the verge of a concusion, on bed rest for 4 days with no tv or phone usage and mucle spasms that needed mucle relaxers. A couple months later i wore the same helmet and went to open the arena gate to go to the attached outdoor arena and my horse spun and spooked. I lasted 8 seconds bucking and th
  Jul 5, 2012  •  4,808 views
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