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Of Helmets and Trainers - WWYD?

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  • Of Helmets and Trainers - WWYD?

    This issue came up a couple weeks ago in a lesson, and I was reminded of it while watching video of a BNT on a friend's horse. I was in a group lesson with a new trainer. She rode each horse for about five minutes on the flat at the end of the lesson. She didn't use a helmet on the other horses and didn't appear to have one with her, so when she went to get on my horse I handed her mine. She looked a little surprised but didn't argue.

    I don't like the idea of someone on my horse without a helmet, and frankly I was annoyed that I was put in the awkward position of having to ask. What would you do? Would it make a difference if you were on the trainer's property vs. your own? Would you have the nerve to make the request of a Big Name Trainer?

    If you're a trainer, would you be offended if your student had a helmet rule?
    The big guy: Lincoln

    Southern Maryland Equestrian

  • #2
    I will say my horse, my rules. I am not a trainer. However, I do not care how great the person rides or how big the reputation. It only takes a split second for something to go wrong and I will protect myself, my family and my horse. If that person got hurt, someone could sue including their insurance company. I would not want to give them any reason to win a lawsuit.
    Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
    www.thesaddlefits.com
    Society of Master Saddlers trained saddle fitter

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    • #3
      On my horses a helmet is mandatory. I have had lessons/ clinics with very famous people (none of whom have ever gotten on my horse), and would not have an issue with telling them so, politely, of course.
      The big man -- my lost prince

      The little brother, now my main man

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sheltona01 View Post
        I will say my horse, my rules. I am not a trainer. However, I do not care how great the person rides or how big the reputation. It only takes a split second for something to go wrong and I will protect myself, my family and my horse. If that person got hurt, someone could sue including their insurance company. I would not want to give them any reason to win a lawsuit.
        Well said and my thoughts exactly!

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        • #5
          If you anticipate that the trainer may get on a horse, it is good to ask if s/he needs someone to carry their water bottle and helmet out to the ring or field. Then, when the trainer starts to get on, the helmet is close by. It always frustrates me if the trainer is scrambling around and borrowing a helmet that doesn't fit while getting on a horse.

          At some locations, a helmet is required. That makes it easier to enforce having the BNT wear a helmet. If I were the organizer of the clinic, I would remind the trainer ahead of time that anyone on a horse needs to be wearing a helmet, and that s/he should bring a helmet along.

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          • #6
            If that was my rule, then I would have no problem enforcing it, no matter how big name the trainer in question was.

            Personally, that's not my rule, nor my barn's, and so I am fine with my trainers getting on my horses helmetless. I'm not saying helmet advocates are wrong, I'm just saying that free-choice helmet wearing is my personal opinion.

            sheltona01 has a very good point though, and that is something I will certainly take into thought the next time my trainer rides helmetless. Although they couldn't use any of my helmets... stupid custom sizing.
            Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

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            • #7
              I'd be afraid of a law suit, should the worst happen!

              I used to ride at a barn where the trainer did not wear helmets at home on her own, personal, horses, but always wore a helmet when riding a client's horse. I asked her why the difference and she said she wanted to reduce the chances she'd be seriously injured on someone else's horse, because then they'd feel terrible. Personally, I ALWAYS ride with helmet and always have, but at least she was thinking of the other people involved when making the call as to whether to wear one.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by sheltona01 View Post
                It only takes a split second for something to go wrong and I will protect myself, my family and my horse. If that person got hurt, someone could sue including their insurance company. I would not want to give them any reason to win a lawsuit.
                This is my biggest concern. Our facility does not require adults to wear helmets but I worry about the legal ramifications of someone getting hurt on my horse without using a helmet. Better safe than sorry IMO. With the trainer in question, I made a joke about it (along the lines of "my mom would give birth to a live cow if she knew someone got on our horse without a helmet"). I suppose I'll keep using that approach and hope I don't offend anyone along the way.

                Can any trainers chime in with opinions? I'm not on a witch hunt or anything (I swear, I don't care what anyone wears on their head as long as they aren't on my horse ), but I am interested to hear if there is a right or wrong way to make this request in a lesson or clinic setting.
                The big guy: Lincoln

                Southern Maryland Equestrian

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Canaqua View Post
                  I used to ride at a barn where the trainer did not wear helmets at home on her own, personal, horses, but always wore a helmet when riding a client's horse. I asked her why the difference and she said she wanted to reduce the chances she'd be seriously injured on someone else's horse, because then they'd feel terrible. Personally, I ALWAYS ride with helmet and always have, but at least she was thinking of the other people involved when making the call as to whether to wear one.
                  I like this
                  The big guy: Lincoln

                  Southern Maryland Equestrian

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Canaqua View Post
                    I'd be afraid of a law suit, should the worst happen!

                    I used to ride at a barn where the trainer did not wear helmets at home on her own, personal, horses, but always wore a helmet when riding a client's horse. I asked her why the difference and she said she wanted to reduce the chances she'd be seriously injured on someone else's horse, because then they'd feel terrible. Personally, I ALWAYS ride with helmet and always have, but at least she was thinking of the other people involved when making the call as to whether to wear one.
                    What my trainer does.
                    "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

                    www.thestartbox.wordpress.com
                    www.useaiv.org

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                    • #11
                      Well...

                      In this day and age (in the US anyway) trainers/instructors ought not get huffy over being handed a helmet. I mean the issue is out there and there's no justifiable reason for them to object to an owner requiring someone mounted on their horse to wear one. If they see you riding in one, well, duh, obviously you think they should be used... And if the 'trainer' is not familiar with the helmet 'debate,' then I say they are too stupid to be getting on your horse in the first place.

                      I admit to knowing at least one BNT who bad mouthed a rider's helmet (owner of the farm no less) on one occasion. Her exact comment "Why do they have to make those helmets look so ugly." Jackass.

                      And honestly, who gives a flying F%#k if the trainer is "offended" by being asked to wear a helmet.
                      "Friend" me !

                      http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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                      • #12
                        Anyone who came up through the ranks in Pony Club went through the PC instructor training curriculum...and knows to bring a helmet when teaching a lesson. FWIW, PC also made us bring a sponge: in case a bridle was too big we could pad the crown piece. LOL!! Anyway, common sense says bring a helmet for a million reasons, legal and otherwise. Trainers should be leaders and should tread the high road by wearing a helmet in lesson situations.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
                          Well...

                          In this day and age (in the US anyway) trainers/instructors ought not get huffy over being handed a helmet. I mean the issue is out there and there's no justifiable reason for them to object to an owner requiring someone mounted on their horse to wear one. If they see you riding in one, well, duh, obviously you think they should be used... And if the 'trainer' is not familiar with the helmet 'debate,' then I say they are too stupid to be getting on your horse in the first place.

                          I admit to knowing at least one BNT who bad mouthed a rider's helmet (owner of the farm no less) on one occasion. Her exact comment "Why do they have to make those helmets look so ugly." Jackass.

                          And honestly, who gives a flying F%#k if the trainer is "offended" by being asked to wear a helmet.
                          As a trainer when I am teaching a lesson off property I always bring all my riding gear including a helmet and would always put one on before mounting a horse on someones elses property or someone elses horse.
                          I do take exception to the remark that if they did not know the "helmet debate" they would be to stupid, ya know what is so very important to one is not so much to another.
                          As kids we rode around barfoot and bareheaded and survived!! Wore helmets that were for looks only right up to last Jan.
                          Yes, I think the proper helmet is going to save your brain from a injury as seatbelts will help save your life, staying off motorcycles will also help to avoid dying not getting on a roof, stay out of the field during a thunderstorm and on and on and on, putting a helmet on does not insure that there will not be a accident, and will not hold you harmless if someone wants to sue.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nextyear View Post
                            I do take exception to the remark that if they did not know the "helmet debate" they would be to stupid, ya know what is so very important to one is not so much to another.
                            I disagree. Continuing education is essential to someone who expects to assume the role of educator/instructor/teacher/trainer. If one is not aware enough of the horse world they are working in to be aware of the CKD situation and ensuing issues, then they flunk that aspect of continuing education.

                            Awareness is one of the horseman's most powerful tools. Instructors/trainers should be models of awareness not paragons of 'I do it my way.'
                            "Friend" me !

                            http://www.facebook.com/isabeau.solace

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                            • #15
                              I think it is very important that a trainer wear a helmet in the presence of kids- clinic or not. My trainer growing up always wore a helmet or borrowed one if she had to jump on a horse whenever we were present. No idea what she did when she was alone but then we weren't there to see!!! And this was 10/15 years ago- BEFORE the great helmet debate!!

                              Personally I'd at least offer my helmet to any Trainer (big name or not) getting on my horse. If they choose not to, well it was probably not that smart b/c usually the only reason I'd let someone ride my horse would be if he's being naughty and I can't handle it!!!

                              Thinking back on it I don't think I've ever seen a trainer not use a helmet when getting on someone's horse in a lesson or clinic- I don't know if this was b/c of growing up in Pony Club, or because of the "kid" factor and being easily influenced by Big Names, or in the latter years b/c my horse was crazy!!!! hahahaha!!!!!!
                              proud owner of a very pretty but completely useless horse (and one useful horse!)

                              Horse Thoughts

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                              • #16
                                Don't forget, wearing an ill-fitting helmet can be almost as useless as not wearing one at all.
                                (ask me how I know)
                                I would decline having the trainer ride my horse if his/her OWN helmet wasn't available.
                                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Duckz View Post
                                  With the trainer in question, I made a joke about it (along the lines of "my mom would give birth to a live cow if she knew someone got on our horse without a helmet"). I suppose I'll keep using that approach and hope I don't offend anyone along the way.

                                  That's a fine approach and if that offends someone...not worth training with them. I know many BNTs...and most carry a helmet with them or have one near the ring. And many are relutant to get on horses they do not know. Not worth them getting hurt.

                                  For insurance reasons--personal liability---I'd prefer no one got on a horse of mine without a helmet. Luckily...my own trainer will not get on anything without a helmet.

                                  And yes...I'm a lawyer and requiring a helmet would not prevent one from getting sued or even all liability. Just trying to reduce a little of the risk for a serious accident (which it is reduced a bit if they are wearing a helmet). If I was really worried about someone's safety....I wouldn't be having them get on the horse at all (BNT or not)!
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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