The helmet question
Every rider falls sooner or later, and this one piece of equipment may make the difference between walking away versus a lifetime of disability.
Every rider falls sooner or later, and this piece of equipment may make the difference between walking away versus a lifetime of disability.
Few topics spark as passionate a debate among horsepeople as the need for riding helmets. The question of whether to wear protective headgear is deeply personal, and it cuts to the heart of how we identify ourselves as equestrians. Many of us--especially those of us born in the 1980s or earlier---grew up admiring horsemen and -women who wore either Western hats or velvet hunt caps. Our heroes did not wear protective headgear, and neither did we. (In fact, apart from jockeys and polo players, almost no one did in those days.)
But what if we could set aside all of the emotional history and take a fresh look at head protection, just as we consider new research into saddle fit, feeding, veterinary care and just about every other aspect of horsemanship?
Whether you choose to wear a helmet when you ride on your own is ultimately your decision, but from one rider to another, please make sure your opinions are fully informed. When you understand exactly how concussions injure the tissues of our brains and how protective helmets may limit the damage---and when you consider the research that shows how increased use of helmets can mitigate or prevent brain injuries---you might just want to make sure that you’re wearing protective headgear every time you mount up.