I was thinking about helmets. I know why one would want to wear one when working around or riding horses, but why wouldn't you want to wear one? Is it because it musses up your hair, too hot, not attractive enough..... Are there really any good reasons for not wearing one?
I wear a helmet every time. Every ride. On my horse.
Not on my bicycle. Never. Why?
I grew up riding a bike everywhere. From the time I was six. So even though I know I would be safer wearing a bike helmet, as an adult, I just can't get in the habit. I don't ride on anything but flat dirt or farm-to-market roads, and I don't ride fast. Could I still have an accident? Yes, I suppose so. But I'm a grown-up and I get to make my own decisions, for good or ill.
The above helps me understand why some of my horse friends, who've been riding since before they could walk, can't bring themselves to wear a helmet when they're just trail-riding on the flat.
If anyone were ignorant enough to disparage me for wearing a helmet, I'd tell them to mind their own business right quick. So I give those who choose not to wear helmets the same courtesy.
ETA: I don't wear a helmet when handling my horses and I think I have a damn good reason for not doing so. I used to, but since this is such an oddity in my community, my wearing a helmet gave my horse professionals (farrier, vet, etc) the idea that I had really badly-behaved horses. And their care suffered as a result.
I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt
I'm a big believer in helmets, but there is one situation I don't wear one and that's when I'm going in a long ride in the desert on one of my older, well-trained horses. I'm talking about rides at least 5 hours in length. The reason is that there is absolutely no shade and wearing a light, ventilated wide-brimmed hat makes a huge difference for me in terms of heat exhaustion and dehydration. I realize an accident can still happen but to me the risk of heat stroke is greater in that situation (and heat stroke can be deadly--I've had it bad enough to get disoriented and sick, and I don't want to repeat that alone in the middle of nowhere). I do still wear one when I go on longer rides with my younger or less experienced horses because in that case I feel the risk of a fall is bigger.
I always wear one when schooling or on shorter rides or ones with shaded areas, because I'd rather be safe. But on those long rides in the open desert, even well-ventilated light colored helmets are too heavy for comfort IMO.
I also do think it is an age thing. When I was a kid I was in Pony Club and it required them, but at that time all that was available was those huge heavy egghead ones. The newer ones feel like I'm wearing nothing on my head by comparison.
Because even a fresh-off-the-line bike doesn't spook at shadows/bushes/mailboxes/people/dogs/invisible monsters!
No but you don't have control of a dog coming out at you or a flat tire while whizzing down a hill or some other mechanical failure. Pavement is hard and the times I have come off a bike generally involve some decent road rash, unlike horses where with few exceptions I have dusted myself off and climbed back up relatively unscathed.
I'm of the camp that grew up riding anything and everything sans helmet and it is difficult to get used to. I find I am far more likely to get poked in the face with a branch cantering along on a rail just because the visor causes a blind spot I'm not used to.
As I get older I'm more inclined to wear one but not wild about it.
I wear one every time for regular riding and anything on the ground, but they aren't allowed in vaultingcompetitions. They do interfere with balance, and I bumped the visor of my helmet on the horse when I tried wearing it, and hurt my neck a bit.
Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.
Ya know, I wondered about the whole vaulting thing. I've noticed this in one horse sport that just doesn't go the helmet route and I have never heard anyone call them out.
I can tell you the reasons I never used to wear one.
1. wasn't raised in a breed or discipline where it was considered necessary.
2. was young, dumb and immortal
3. thought my tiny head looked stupid in a helmet.
4. didn't take the time to find one that fit me comfortably so I hated wearing one.
5. I thought I was a good enough rider to not need one.
6. thought everyone else would think i was a sissy or wierd or nerdy for wearing one.
I have ridden since birth (practically) and never even owned a helmet before the college team. I wore it occasionally here and there on some rank horses but 2009 changed my mind. I had some really hard falls, one from a carriage and I decided that my husband and son meant more to me than my vanity. In the instant of my carriage crash, i distinctly remember thinking about Daniel and that he could lose his mother in that instant. Afterward, i felt horribly scared and guilty for putting myself, my husband and my child in the position to lose me. It felt selfish.
I went out and bought a new helmet. Not right away but within a few months of the crash. I have taken some spills off on tough mare in the barn since. I pitched the one from college (18 years old!). I have worn the new helmet for every ride and drive now. Forgot a couple of times and felt a little naked without it. Not sure how I will handle the first horseshow. My rational mind tells me to wear it and say go to hell but my ego and traditionalist show turnout are argueing with me.
Went to a BIG BNT farm today to try a horse he wants me to sell. Took my helmet and had no qualms about slapping it on in front of him, his skinny gorgeous nationally decorated rider and her trainer boyfriend too. Noone said a word. And I don't care.
Now, my seatbelt, that's another story...really bad about wearing that.
I wear a helmet almost all the time. But I loath them. I have a freakishly large head, and a HOT head. I seriously do not care what I look like either in the helmet or after I take it off (though both looks are pretty ghastly). It is a comfort thing.
Another big COTH debate is barn footwear and I am a major offender there for the same basic reason: comfort. With my feet, I weigh the risks (minimal if I keep my wits about me) of flimsy footwear against the misery of hot feet in closed shoes in summer. And I choose cool, vulnerable feet! When I do the same assessment about my head... I put on the @#$% helmet.
Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf
Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?
"Another big COTH debate is barn footwear and I am a major offender there for the same basic reason: comfort. With my feet, I weigh the risks (minimal if I keep my wits about me) of flimsy footwear against the misery of hot feet in closed shoes in summer. And I choose cool, vulnerable feet!"
Joz, try Crocs. You will get some decent coverage for your feet while kicking around at the barn, and your feet will say cool. The gardening clogs have no holes in the tops, so your feet stay cleaner. Can't ride in them, but for general chores, they work.
Helmets make my head all nasty and sweaty! I feel like my field of vision is limited and it bothers me to no end. Needless to say I dont wear one. Almost never. But if someone at the barn wants to wear one, i'm more than happy to help them strap it on. I've seen a helmet save somones life and if youre comfortable wearing it then do so please!
I hate it when people dont want to wear one because of what people think. I dont like helmets on myself, but no one should risk themselves.