A friend of ours called us the other day to relay a story that happened on her street a few days ago. A local girl was out riding her horse on this small country road not far from here. She put a blanket on the horse and went for a ride using a lead rope as reigns. I bet you can guess this didn’t end well. Her horse spooked, dumping her onto the paved road where she was found some time later, bleeding from her ears. Her horse was standing nearby. She was airlifted to a hospital an hour away and is recovering. But it could have been far worse. I don’t have the statistics on head injuries handy but most of the serious injuries I hear of involve head trauma. Yet on trail rides and at events, I rarely see anyone wearing a helmet. Why is that?
Last year I hopped on top of Moonshine for a photo opportunity. I was wearing shorts and sneakers and Moonshine was bare, except for a lead rope. I believe my famous last words were “I’m king of the world!”, followed by me coming to on the ground. For whatever reason, Moonshine dumped me off of her back and I was fortunate to have not hit my head. But I could have and I might not be writing this today.
For Christmas last year, I gave Mikki a nice Troxel Dakota Duratec helmet, complete with leather trim and all the modern fixings. We’re still new to this whole horse thing and I knew we’d be riding our horses soon. It’s a long way up, especially on Valentine and after my fall, a helmet seemed like a good idea. Now that I’m starting to ride, I decided I needed a helmet too so today I bought the less expensive Troxel Spirit training helmet. My head is apparently big so I got a large and an hour later I tried it on at home. The fitting was met with snickers and I figured out why when I looked in the mirror. This helmet is HUGE. I looks like I have a shiny black watermelon on my head. In fact, it looks ridiculous. Remember Rick Moranis in the giant Darth Vader helmet in Spaceballs? That’s how I felt wearing this thing. How could this be? Mikki’s helmet, a medium, looks so cool on her. The foam on the Spirit is almost twice as thick as the Dakota and it really increases the size of the helmet. Mikki is going to exchange the Spirit for a Dakota tomorrow so I don’t feel as much like a goober. I don’t want an excuse to not wear a helmet.
When you have a chance, check out the testimonials on the Troxel Helmet website from horse riders whose lives were saved by a helmet. Several of the stories are from people who said they’ve ridden all their lives and their horse was normally calm until one day something happened and they were dumped onto their head. There’s no question in my mind that a helmet is a wise idea. Fortunately there are style options to keep you and me from feeling goofy but either way, be safe and protect your head, just in case the unexpected happens. And try that new helmet on in front of a mirror before you leave the store!