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The time my helmet saved me. Add yours..

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  • The time my helmet saved me. Add yours..

    I had been fixing some fences earlier in the day, and had left a few tools on the back side of my really huge mounting block. The mounting block was once a small porch for a mobile home; it is about 4.5 fee square. Later, while mounting my horse, I put my left foot too close to the edge of the block. As I started to swing my leg over, my foot slipped off the edge, and I fell straight down, slamming the back of my head onto a steel pipe post driver. Now I did not, until very recently, ride consistantly with a helmet, but I had put one on that day. Could have been a life changer.

    I was lucky that day, but still did not ride with a helmet all the time after that (I am somewhat better at putting my tools away, however). Now I am committed to ride with one, every time.

    Your turn...

  • #2
    Helmet saved my life...while doing a training ride over 2'9" fence in November, horse refused at last minute - I didn't. Shot like a rocket straight down on the center of my head and broke my C6/C7 vertebrae, as well as nerve and disc damage. My GPA helmet saved my life, my legs and everything else that day - 4 months later I am back to riding with no apparent lasting effects! Cost of helmet is worth every penny.


    • #3
      15 years ago I went to the barn with dirty hair. I never rode in a helmet except when jumping. That day my vanity got the better of me, so I put on a helmet to hide my greasy hair.

      After a hard 60 minute lesson, I was cooling my horse outside. I stopped to tal to a friend along the paved driveway. My horse suddenly spooked and dumped me head-first into the paved driveway.

      My helmet split in half like an egg upon impact. At the ER that day, as they sewed up my busted hands and knees, the docs passed the helmet around and kept coming in to stare at me. I did not have a head injury.

      I've worn a helmet ever since. No exceptions.


      • #4
        I've always worn a helmet, every time, every ride. I've had a few accidents over the years - but one recently landed me in the ER.

        I was riding a pony in the field and she spooked and took off. As she took a hard turn, she slipped and went down. I managed to get mostly clear but she landed on my lower body and my head whiplashed down and hit some rocks. Helmet remained intact...I was confused and disoriented. I managed to get back on the pony but I passed out as soon as I was back on...I managed to walk back to the barn, but I was vomiting and nearly blacking out the whole walk back. An ambulance was called and when they came I was in shock.
        I suffered 3 broken ribs and a concussion. I can't even imagine what the damage would have been had I not worn my helmet. An innocent hack in the field turned into a close call that was too close for comfort. I still think about how worried my husband was and how that would have affected him had I been more severely injured. He was deployed at the time. He purchased me a new helmet and sent it to me to keep me safe.


        • #5
          I've got a few, but this is the one I tell people- it reiterates the need for "Every horse, every ride".

          I was probably 14, out at the barn on a lovely summer afternoon. Fooling around following a very casual lesson, my friends and I decided to have a round of musical horses. I was riding my extremely reliable gelding; two friends were riding extremely solid citizen schoolies.

          We'd been riding our 'new' horses for maybe three minutes when a completely freak hail storm erupted. The sun kept shining, the wind didn't pick up, it was just suddenly raining golf balls. All three extremely reliable horses exploded, all three of us came off. I managed to hang on just long enough to get whipped around in front of the schoolie's chest; according to witnesses I got nailed a couple of times with his knees before losing my grip and getting run over.

          I stood up and ran after him, started calling to my friends to see if they were OK, everything but check myself over- and couldn't quite figure out what everyone was yelling at me about. I also couldn't figure out why my leg was all wet and what the crap dangling around my neck was.

          He'd stepped on my leg and head with his back hooves. My leg still has a hoof-shaped dent in it, and my helmet was split in half- when I stood up the harness caught on my ears and the halves hung about my neck. My Mom kept the halves for years.
          bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
          free bar.ka and tidy rabbit


          • #6
            I saw a guy make a bad fall against a railing the helmet saved his head but not his neck , he broke it and died on the scene. I also have seen a guy get kicked in the face the helmet didn't protect him there, his face was a mess. It is horrible when accidents happen and always better to wear a helmet often it is a live saver but crap happens just the same. I should wear a helmet off the horse instead of on the horse because all my hospital visits have never ever been horse related.
            Every time you ride, your are either teaching or un-teaching your horse.


            • #7
              Nothing dramatic here. I was posting along, turning right, when my foot suddenly slipped out of the stirrup! I plopped on his back, he hopped a bit - "what are you doing up there?", I shot off over his shoulder, face first into the arena. My nose was VERY sore, I had arena butn on my upper lip and chin.
              I know I would have had a broken nose at least if not for the helmet.



              • #8
                I have been dumped on my head on a paved road and only saw stars. My daughter has been dumped on her head when pony refused the ditch it had never refused before. The helmets saved us, duh. I'll even wear my safety vest when hacking outside if I feel I've got to work my horse, but its a windy spooky day. My horse had a powerful buck when a baby and she also flipped me off flat on my back a couple times. I am very respectful of any horse's capability to injure me. Limiting liabilities is a good thing.


                • #9
                  I was in a jumping lesson during the winter in the indoor...my horse popped a fence...I have no idea what he did but I think he put in one more stride and I can flying off...landed on my but and whipped backwards on my head....got up...was a little disoriented, thought I was fine and started riding again. Then drove the truck and trailer home but felt like I was drunk driving...a very wierd experience...got to the barn an 930 pm with noone around, unloaded my horse kneeled down to take his boots off and had major vertigo...was weaving and stumbling down the aisle...called my trainers barn and one of the girls took me to ER where they told me I had a concussion...helmet saved me totally....
                  For things to do in Loudoun County, visit: www.365thingstodoloudoun.com


                  • #10
                    Two come to mind... First one I'd only been riding a couple of years and decided to switch to this greenie-wannabe-trainer because I didn't know any better and neither did my non-horse mom. She thought it was a brilliant idea to take me out into an open field right next to a huge, busy interstate for my first time out of the arena. We were trotting along and the horse took off at an uncontrolled dead run. Just when I thought I was hanging on he took a sharp right and off I flew into the air and hit a couple tree trunks in the air with my head and back and landed on one with my back. I cracked the helmet and fractured a vertebra.

                    Next time was another horse who ended up turning into a pasture pet because the vets all agreed he just wasn't all there and wasn't safe for anyone. I couldn't find a trainer, cowboy, or crazy person anywhere to try to ride him. I was 15 and he was my first horse. It was the day before a show and we were just finishing in the outdoor arena (pipe rail). We got down to the end and he spun around and freaked. We were in a western saddle and he was at a dead gallop headed straight towards the fence (with his nose cranked to the side- now that's talent). From all of my other experiences I braced to veer either direction and he decided to jump it- 5' for a western lazy paint horse. I flew off over his head and onto the ground. I looked up and saw him stuck and teeter tottering on the railing above my head! Someone thank goodness saw and ran out and grabbed me by the feet and pulled me out of the way just as he came off the fence with his hoof headed straight towards my face! Gives me shivers. They pulled, but not far enough because he came down on the top of my helmet. Thank goodness it wasn't my head. Gives me chills still to this day. Fractured another darn vertebra.


                    • #11
                      I've managed to bonk myself a few times on the noggin and the helmet has always lightened the blow. The fall that sticks with me was one I witnessed. We were out fox hunting. The footing was great and the foxes were running. A lady had a bad jump over a coop. She landed slightly off balance and there was a sharp corner immediately following. She slammed the ground head first and knocked herself out cold. It seemed like forever that she laid there not moving. You darn right that helmet saved her life! Ps. It's really hard to get an ambulance to get someone in the middle of the woods.


                      • #12
                        I have two that come to mind as well. First one was when I was in high school, was cooling out a horse after a jump lesson and she spooked and bolted. I went headfirst into the wall right under the viewing window to the indoor arena.

                        Second one was on April Fool's Day...gosh, must be close to 10 years ago at this point. Was getting on my OTTB gelding in the indoor. At this point he was still occasionally a little...unreliable about standing still for mounting. I put one foot in the stirrup, went to swing my leg over and he bolted. I was halfway on the horse and knew I wasn't going to manage to get all the way up, so I decided to bail. Right about that time he swerved, and I went headfirst into one of the 8" x 8" wood support posts for the arena. To add insult to injury (or maybe just more injury ) the post I hit was right next to the door that led to the barn aisle. The CONCRETE barn aisle. So I hit the post, blacked out, and flopped like a dead fish onto the concrete.

                        Fortunately there were people in the aisle cleaning stalls, and they ran out immediately and called 911. I woke up having no clue where I was or what just happened - it was honestly one of the scariest experiences of my life. After a while most of it came back, and by the time I got to the ER I had pretty much remembered everything...but I'm still missing 20 seconds or so, I'm guessing. There wasn't much visible damage to the helmet, but I got a new one anyway. CT showed a mild concussion. I consider myself extremely lucky.

                        Adams Equine Wellness


                        • #13
                          I came off a greenie when I was about 11 in a wreck that has kept me helmeted every ride ever since.

                          I was schooling a pretty sensible gelding for his owner, who had asked me to do some canter work over ground poles. Assuming that this was part of the horse's regular training schedule, after warming up I cantered him on a circle toward a ground pole for what turns out was the first time the horse had ever seen one and at the last minute he FREAKED OUT, balking and spinning. This was an athletic 6-yr-old arab, and he took off bucking, interspersed with dead bolts around the enormous arena. I was sticking to him like a burr, when in his blind panic he almost hit one of the oil drums set up in the arena for the barrel racers--at the last minute he swerved and I didn't. I hit the unyielding water-filled oil drum head first and was knocked out cold for a few seconds, I'm told. I woke up with a headache and a faceful of sandy footing--up my nose, in my mouth, covering my eyelashes. Funny the details you really remember.

                          I had on a cheapie Troxel velvet-covered helmet--at the time I LOVED it for making me feel like a "real" jumper rider for some reason, probably because I thought it looked a bit like the helmet my idol at the time, Greg Best, was wearing in the poster I had in my room--and that helmet was cracked inside the smooshed and dented velvet covering. It certainly saved me serious brain injury if not my life. As it was, I had a mild concussion. My best friend was on the rail when this happened, and she was the "I'm too good to need a helmet" kind, and that day she started wearing a helmet and has ever since. That was almost 20 years ago.

                          More recently, I was in a lesson with a friend of mine and a Great Blue Heron landed on the arena fence--something we haven't seen before or since. It was stunning. My friend's steady-eddie schoolie agreed, and did a spin-and-bolt from a halt that managed to drop my friend over the mare's shoulder. Even though it was a straight drop off a little 14.2 mare from the halt, my friend hit her head hard and her helmet cracked halfway up the back. She walked away from that one with a sore neck but no concussion, thanks to her helmet.


                          • #14
                            I have just this year started wearing my helmet with every ride or drive, even wore it doing ground work with a rehab spooker as well as while hosing her off last week.

                            I had a very bad carriage accident last fall that should have killed me. I was not wearing a helmet. as the horse was rounding the turn and making a break for the open arena door, I was thinking about my son being motherless...
                            ...don't sh** where you eat...


                            • #15
                              I almost always rode in my helmet, but usually took it off first thing when I got down. Too hot, too uncomfortable. But this day I'd been jumping and had bell boots on my TB gelding. There'd been some mud and I wanted to get them off before they chafed. I was squatting down fiddling with the boot and he reached his hind leg up to brush at a fly and got me right in the temple. I was bowled over a couple times, but unhurt. THe farrier, who was there at the time, said he'd seen a guy get killed exactly the same way.

                              The second time I was just riding around outside the barn, waiting for the person I was going to trail ride with to finish tacking up. Irish must've been stung by something because all of the sudden he exploded in the huge, rodeo-horse bucks! The BM said I hit 10 up before I started back down. I landed on a hard-packed gravel parking lot, head-first. My back hurt for six months, but no head injury.



                              • #16
                                Not me but I watched a lesson this past winter where a horse left out a stride to a 3'9" oxer and the rider did a pretty good imitation of the Flying Wallenda Brothers. She sailed about 20 feet through the air and landed with her head slammed against the arena wall. She was pretty dazed/out for about 30 seconds but was otherwise unhurt. I could only imagine what would have happened to her head had she not been wearing a helmet. I could hear the slam against the wall all the way across the arena.


                                • #17
                                  I always wear my helmet when working with the young ones - on the ground as well.

                                  My story:

                                  I was riding my horse on the road. A van went by too fast - a stone flew up and hit my gelding. He jumped into the ditch, fell, rolled over top of me and as he was getting up his size 4 hoof landed on my helmet - shattered the helmet instead of my head.


                                  • #18
                                    Barn buddies and I were just discussing this topic!

                                    My (now retired) gelding and I were on a walking trail ride with a friend. Now my horse is a parade horse so spooking was a rarity. We were crossing a paved part of the path, maybe 8 feet wide. His back feet scrambled and he fell. Only my leg was under him but my head hit. I'd be dead if I hadn't been wearing my helmet!

                                    I'm 33 and wear mine always. Hot days, cold days, horse show or non.

                                    Becky & the boys
                                    Becky & Red
                                    In Loving Memory of Gabriel, 1998-2005 and Raalph, 1977-2013


                                    • #19
                                      my "trusty" Caliente

                                      ....about 20+ years ago, I was riding my brandy new OTTB in the indoor arena, she was a young mare, who, by the way, was ever-so-gentle and very quiet! There was a woman riding in the arena as well as a few others at the other end. This particular woman was a virtual beginner and she'd recently purchased a horse that was way above her level of expertise! I used to make a point of avoiding her when she rode in the arena as I had witnessed many of her close calls (and yes, we did talk to the trainer about her but that's another story for another topic).

                                      Anyway, she came into the ring after I was already riding, I didn't even know she was on the property but when I saw her, I thought to myself, "just relax, what harm could come if I stayed away from her and continued working on the walk". Well, I guess I was wrong because she proceeded to trot at a pace so quick that she was barely able to keep posting correctly. I then decided that I was better off on my feet rather than astride so I headed to the short corner of the arena, planned to do a small circle and head for the dismounting area when....suddenly she actually rode her horse into my mine because she was unable to slow him down. My horse did a short bolt but I collected her within moments and was about to ride past the next corner and head out of there when she hit me again, incredible, huh? Anyway, the second "bump" to my girl was obviously a bit too much and she bolted into a dead, flat out run, stumbled and I came "flying off" and hit the wall, with my head! I was wearing one of those skull caps from the "olden days", a Caliente (anyone remember those?) and even with the force of hitting that wall, it did not even get a dent. However, I, on the other hand, managed to do some serious damage to my cheekbone, eye and ear but I am completely positive that had it not been for the helmet, I would not be here today!
                                      Does Class Always Show? You bet it does!
                                      "To Thine Own Thoroughbred Be True"


                                      • #20
                                        I was trying a horse for sale at my home barn that I had seen go many, many times with his junior rider. I had taken a lesson on him at night. Something from the trail spooked him, and he bolted back to the other end of the arena. It's a small ring, so it was no big deal and I quickly got him back.

                                        A few days later, we were riding in a busy ring where I had to keep stopping while the jumping lesson proceeded. I decided to bail on that ring, and went over to the schooling ring where there were more kids but no jumping. He volunteered a trot, so I took off my spurs thinking I did not want to goose him accidentally, since he was feeling rather fresh. Well, that's the last thing I remember about that ride. He took off running, and I was totally panicked and screaming (so I've been told.) I do have one hazy image of being in the air above his back, and someone said he was doing a running buck. Whatever happened, I came off and hit the rail, which is metal piping. It knocked me out cold and dislocated my shoulder.

                                        I spent a night in the ICU because there was some possible bleeding, but it turned out to be nothing. I had some post-concussion symptoms for a few months, and did not get on a horse again for two months.

                                        I have no doubt that I would be dead or disabled without that helmet.
                                        2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                        A helmet saved my life.