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Another "Helmet Thread"- Opinions on schooling on the flat, w/o helmet?

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  • Another "Helmet Thread"- Opinions on schooling on the flat, w/o helmet?

    How many of you wear a helmet always/no matter what? Just for jumping? What is the general opinion about schooling at home on the flat without a helmet? I know that all juniors must wear ATSM headgear for all phases at events, do any of you 18+ people wear hunt caps for the dressage?

    Not talking about the typical green baby... but fairly trustworthy schooled horses.

  • #2
    If I didn't wear a helmet on the flat, I'd have some major brain damage by now! My last 3 falls on my new horse have been when he spooked and bucked while flatting. (He's 7, but he's not green.)


    • #3
      I am so guilty of not wearing my helmet on the flat! I have been getting better about it this past summer!
      No Worries!


      • #4

        I typically don't wear a helmet schooling on the flat with my older guy and sometimes don't when I jump either (at home). If I'm at my trainers I will wear a helmet jumping and mostly on the flat (if required on the flat). I ALWAYS wear a helmet when I ride my baby, I just never know when they will do something. I do wear a hunt cap at shows for dressage.

        If I'm riding a new/ unknown horse I will wear a helmet.

        It is just a personal preference on my older guy, although my mom would like me to wear a helmet with a chin strap whenever I'm riding.


        • #5
          I'm a H/J rider but I hardly ever wear my helmet on the flat. I always wear it when I jump and I always wear it when I do anything on a new horse, young horse, horse that seems stupidly fresh, etc just not on my been there done that show horses or retirees that I occasionally trail ride.


          • #6
            My choice is to wear a helmet when ever I am sitting on a horse...whether I am working on dressage, jumping, or my nails!


            • #7
              How many of you wear a helmet always/no matter what?
              Me. Green, old, quiet, nuts, trail ride on the beach in Aruba, playing gymkhana games on my son's 10.2h Shetland--all the same to me: helmet ON.

              No doubt I'd be MORE safe wearing it 24/7/365 and LESS safe wearing it never. This compromise works for me.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                I know a lot of people who don't wear a helmet on the flat. The last time I did was about 3 years ago when I was in FL, riding my true blue mare. That's the first and last time that I did that. I felt very aware that I didn't have a helmet on and wasn't entirely comfortable.

                The bottom line is just when you think all is well, your horse can spook, buck, trip, etc., and you can fall off, even if you're only doing flat work. I think it was Kim Severson who had her leg broken just walking along on her horse.

                I've hit my head hard a couple of times wearing a helmet while jumping--or more accurately, falling--and I was so happy that I had that helmet on. I saw stars once in my brain, not my eyes--not sure how to describe it--when my head hit the ground. Luckily, no concussions and no brain injuries. It's just not worth it to lose your ability to ride and, more importantly, to live with a TBI.

                Having said all that, I don't lecture or pontificate to those who choose not to wear a helmet.


                • #9
                  I'm in the habit of riding w/one all the time. I got in the habit when I had to wear one when I boarded my horse, and now I feel vulnerable without it. So it sort of gives me 'some' extra confidence as opposed to going to the ring and realizing I don't have it and thinking "What if ---?" bec I don't have it on. That is on the flat as well as over fences.


                  • #10
                    Anytime I am on a horse, period. Tell me, is it fashion? Vanity? The " I'm not wearing a helmet so people will think I'm a really good rider!" thing? It's tiresome and not at all amusing to see people strutting around in hunt caps.


                    • #11
                      At least half the people I know who've had major injuries from horseback riding have had it happen a) on the flat or on the ground and b) on horses they knew well c) were experienced competitive riders.

                      Then again, I can't think of a single head injury among my circle of acquaintances.

                      Some examples:

                      Woman who unloaded her horse, warmed up, walked back to the trailer, bee stung the horse, and he flipped over. They almost had to amputate her leg. Seriously.

                      Woman who was walking on a long rein in the warmup at a small casual event, familiar location. Horse suddenly reared, threw her, and bolted. She broke her arm.

                      Woman unloading her horse, he got caught on something, panicked, and kicked. Her leg broken in three places.

                      Woman hacking on familiar trail on bombproof horse. Horse slipped hard on a wet stone under mud, leaped hard to gain its balance, rider down.

                      Very experienced trainer riding well-schooled but somewhat difficult horse. Horse did a bolt and brake maneuver. She sailed over a fence. Lucky not to have broken anything. She just missed landing on a parked car.

                      Very experienced trainer riding a dressage horse in an indoor. Stirrup leather broke suddenly when horse spooked. Bad groin pull.

                      Rider on horse she'd had for years, hacking. Horse slipped on paved road. Rider down, got a broken foot.

                      None of these involved head injuries. But they show that it is not just jumping that can lead to broken bones and injuries.

                      On the other hand, the half-dozen broken collar bones I can count among friends all came from falls over jumps.

                      I wear a helmet always, indoors, outdoors, walking, hacking, whatever. It's really not that unpleasant or hard to do. But I don't really care if other people don't. It's your head, not mine!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yance View Post
                        How many of you wear a helmet always/no matter what? Just for jumping? What is the general opinion about schooling at home on the flat without a helmet? I know that all juniors must wear ATSM headgear for all phases at events, do any of you 18+ people wear hunt caps for the dressage?

                        Not talking about the typical green baby... but fairly trustworthy schooled horses.
                        I ride in my helmet, basically always. On my 18 yr old Appendix mare, on my 22 yr old grandma broke ex theraputic riding program mount/ ex Pleasant Hollow schoolie who is currently living with my god daughter to be her first pony (and when did he get so old!! Seems like just the other day he was 9 and coming home with me in my old Kieffer trailer!), on my green bean, on my solid minded 10 yr old Cleveland Bay cross--whether we are in her jumping tack, dressage tack, Western tack, or bareback.

                        I spent a lot of years putting stuff *in* my head and I want to be sure I have the best chance possible of *keeping* it there.


                        • #13
                          I always wear a helmet. I don't see any reason NOT to, honestly.
                          I love my Econo-Nag!


                          • #14
                            EVERY time. Altho t'was not always thus. I used to wear a hunt cap to jump, otherwise a baseball cap or kerchief. Then, in 1999, I was given a 3 year old TB by my best friend. She handed me the lead shank, horse attached, looked me in the eye and said, "If I ever hear of you getting on this horse without a helmet I will come take him straight home and that will be the end of it." Sheesh. I thought she was fairly bossy. I obeyed, however. Since that day I have never been on any horse without an ASTM helmet unless I was doing a 3-day and had to wear a top hat. Even then, it made me nervous. My daughter has never, in 22 years of riding, been on the back of a horse without an approved helmet on her head, CHIN STRAP SECURED. That's my big pet peeve. Why put on the helmet if you're not going to do it up??????????
                            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                            • #15
                              I have ridden quite a few times without a helmet, it is not a daily occurrence, but it happens. I wont get on a green horse or one I do not know without one. On my old mare I hardly ever wore one, and on my pony, I don't think I have worn one since I discovered how hard it was to make him do anything remotely dangerous. He is young, but as broke as they come. Now I know they are all horses and things can happen, but it is my choice. I have even ridden my big young TB a handful of times without one. I try not to jump without one, but I am guilty of that as well. If I get to my barn and realize I forgot my key to my tackbox, I am not going to let my helmet being locked inside stop me from my ride as my boy NEEDS daily rides (lounging just doesnt do it for him)

                              Now I will never lesson without a helmet, nor will I ride without one in front of children or other people. But if I am schooling at home, at my own barn, I will.
                              True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
                              ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
                              ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~


                              • #16
                                I feel naked on a horse without a helmet.

                                Did it once by accident a few months ago (wearing a baseball cap, getting ready fast) and was horrified when my trainer pointed it out, and off in a flash until I got it on.

                                You never know. That's the bottom line.
                                "This thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down" - Mary Pickford


                                • #17
                                  I don't get on a horse without a helmet on. Ever.

                                  I don't treat cuts or wrap legs without a helmet on if I am home alone.

                                  I'm an EMT.

                                  A few years ago, one of my good friends got on an old, slow horse and took a walk down the street in our neighborhood. Someone saw her sitting on the horse -- sitting -- then saw her down in the street seconds later. She had a bad TBI and was in a coma for months. We planned her memorial service three times.

                                  This was a very experienced rider who almost always wore a helmet. 'Almost always' wasn't good enough, was it?

                                  If you like to ride without a helmet, take a few moments to think about how your friends and family are going to feel when they're standing over your ICU bed, visiting you when you're in a coma. I know I don't want anyone I care about going through that kind of pain.


                                  • #18
                                    The last time I fell off I was warming up for a dressage test when my horse dumped me.


                                    • #19
                                      I wear one every time I am on a horse, no exceptions. The last fall I had was a very well schooled horse in the dressage arena, at the walk, stumbled and tripped over the arena rail, falling on his side and on me outside of the arena. Talk about freak accident at the WALK on a very quiet well schooled horse. Never without a helmet!



                                      • #20
                                        If I'm on a horse I'm wearing a helmet. Period.

                                        The worst head injury from among the folks I know personally happened to a woman on a wonderful, dependable old schoolie. She'd just finished a jumping lesson and her instructor told her to walk him on the buckle for a minute. It was very hot, and she took her helmet off and stuck it on a fencepost. There were three other people in the ring (instructor on ground and two riders) but whatever happened happened so fast no one saw it. They just saw the horse standing a few strides away from her, and her on the ground. She almost died, was in a coma, had to relearn how to talk and walk, couldn't work for years, and her husband and family went through hell. And she'll never be 100%.

                                        I just don't get why anyone *wouldn't* wear one.

                                        In my experience it does seem that the more medical knowledge/training folks have the more likely they are to wear a helmet. *cue non-helmet-wearing neurosurgeon response* I think the better one's understanding of how very fragile and complex the brain is the more inclined they are to protect it.