June 9th is International Helmet Awareness Day, promoted by Riders4Helmets.com. The idea is to spread the word about helmet safety and promote always wearing a helmet. Additionally, many tack stores and helmet companies are offering discounts on helmets during this day.
Unfortunately, this day is forcing me to confront my own stupidity. While I wear a helmet every time I take a lesson from Laurie or ride Hemie, I haven't been using a helmet when I ride my other mount, Miss Paint, up in Santa Barbara. I ride her bareback, in a halter, alternately out on the trail (150 acres of mountain pasture) or in the arena where, yes, we do jump.
The trails are on uneven terrain, riddled with holes and drain channels, with spook-worthy wildlife including deer, coyotes, snakes, cows (okay, those are technically livestock/domestic, not wild), etc. She could trip or spook at any moment. The arena is dragged once every comet-passing, so the footing is horrible and very trip-worthy too. Plus I'm jumping and doing all the trail class obstacles. Bareback. In jeans. In a halter.
|Stupidity in action. But a nice sunset.|
One question I still have about helmets, though, has to do with the falling-off-so-replace-it rules. I've fallen off while wearing my helmet, but I've never landed on my head, nor even bounced my head hard. I normally land on my feet or on my back (God bless impact vests). But I'm sure my head must touch the ground at some point when I land on my back, right? Does that mean I need to replace the helmet? For now I've decided to keep a helmet unless I've bounced my head hard or landed on my head. Thoughts? What do you do?
Let me leave you with this funny skit from Jerry Seinfeld. Most horse people will agree that riding has enough benefits to outweigh the risks. But not all "regular people" get that. Enjoy!