Here’s Why I Wear a Riding Helmet
There are lots of reasons to wear a riding helmet and not a lot of reasons not to wear one. In this video, Paul talks about his military experience as a helicopter pilot and the reasons why military pilots wear helmets — and don’t complain about wearing them.
Summary of the Riding Helmet Video
– Howdy friends my name is Paul Sherland with SaddleUpAgain.com And today I’m going to be talking a little bit about whether to wear a riding helmet. Should you wear a riding helmet?
I’ve learned over the years that it’s a good idea to wear a riding helmet. Not because I’m afraid of riding and not because I’m afraid of horses but I’ve learned that it’s possible for me to come off a horse. And if I do come off a horse it’s less likely that I’ll be injured if I’m wearing a riding helmet.
Now let me use another helmet or use a helmet to illustrate a point here. This is a U.S. Navy or was a U.S. Navy flight helmet a helicopter flight helmet which I wore for many, many years. I didn’t wear it because I was afraid of flying. I didn’t wear it because I feared a crash would occur on the next flight. I wore it because I knew that it’s possible for a crash to occur, and if a crash did occur I’d be more likely to survive with a helmet on.
I never heard anybody, any of the pilots and aircrewmen that I flew with complain about wearing a helmet. And we flew off of small destroyer decks on dark nights with no horizon and as I say we always wore our helmets. I can tell you that the jet pilots flying off carriers wear their helmets too. I’ve never heard anybody complain about wearing a helmet.
There’s a stigma especially in western riding about wearing a riding helmet. I was at a clinic several years ago with Joe Wolter who’s a fine clinician and a fine horseman, and he would never ever discourage someone from riding with a helmet in one of his clinics. But someone who was at the clinic with me kept telling me that basically I was disgracing manhood by wearing a riding helmet. So there are plenty of people out there who don’t wear helmets because of vanity. They think it’s a sign of being afraid or something like that. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Wearing a helmet is just a recognition that you and I and everyone else can come off a horse. The horse can fall, the horse can throw you, there are all kinds of ways to come off a horse. If that happens you want everything working for you. And one thing that can be working for you is wearing a helmet.
As I was thinking of doing this topic or doing a video on riding helmets or should I wear a riding helmet? I got an email from Jan who’s also a Texan and it’s a pretty long email but I’m going to read it with Jan’s permission because it’s a great story.
Paul thanks for your prompt reply and interest in my passion for helmets. I’m a retired trauma nurse definitely an older rider and used to specialize in working with families of head injured children and adults. Although the mechanism was usually automobile the result was sadly often the same. In the worst cases the person who recovered from the injury was not the same person they were before the head injury. Sometimes devastatingly so.
Texas has a long history of tough cowboys and cowgirls and I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say things like “I’ve been riding since I was two and I’ve never worn a helmet and I’m fine”. It’s been encouraging to me that over the more recent years helmets are more widely accepted but there’s still as you would admit the vanity of wanting to look authentic. The idea that a helmet signals that you’re not a good rider.
If you Google “Every Time Every Ride” there’s a lot of good info there. The U.S. Pony Club also has excellent statistics on helmet safety. Also children learn by example. If adults don’t wear helmets it’s a hard sell to make your children wear them.
My own example. Riding a well trained horse at a walk down a dirt road. She stepped on a long branch on the road that levered up and goosed her between her back legs. The only thing I knew was that I suddenly launched directly upward and when I came down she was no longer underneath me. I hit the ground hard and my head snapped back on to the road. When I got up totally surprised but otherwise unhurt my friend said “look at the back of your helmet”. There was an almost one inch deep divot where I’d hit a rock in the road.
It would have been enough to create a depressed skull fracture if I’d not had a helmet on. The importance of the story is not so much that I was fine but rather that this occurred on a quiet lovely afternoon at a walk in a safe environment on a familiar well behaved horse. You can just never predict the accident waiting to happen.
If there’s anything I can do please let me know. Meanwhile thank you for your interest and I wish you well on your website. Jan
So as Jan’s experience confirms you can never tell when you might come off your horse when your horse may get out from under you. And it doesn’t make any different whether you’re the best rider in the world we all come off our horse occasionally. We all want to ride again we all want to continue riding, so the best way to do that is to wear a helmet because if you do come off your horse it’s more likely that you’ll be able to either have no injury or certainly not have a serious head injury.
So I hope that you will wear a riding helmet and if you have stories about how riding helmets maybe have helped you please share them with me. Thank you very much.