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.

EQUUS - - Contents - By Dee McVicker

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.

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