Even the most naive parent can take one look at the Liability Form required before their precious cargo mounts up and decipher that this sport isn’t exactly as safe as knitting. The list of ways to get hurt around a horse is basically infinite… and still growing. Just take a look at a horseman/woman who has been in the industry a long time — they are plagued by crooked fingers, mangled toes, a slight limp, a significant lean, and probably known for setting off airport metal detectors.
Barn induced injuries range from minor bumps and bruises, to significant life-altering accidents. The most common reason for the most severe incidents and/or death is due to head injuries. In fact, riders are admitted to the hospital for head injuries at a higher rate than motorcycle riders, football players, and skiers. The good news is that technology advancements have made these accidents potentially much less severe, if people choose to protect themselves by wearing a certified helmet.
Then the question becomes “why not”?
The laundry list of reasons why people don’t wear helmets is long. They’re hot. They’ll mess up their hair. They’re unattractive. They’re expensive. A bike helmet is more convenient. They’ve “ridden this long without a helmet, so why start now”.
Here’s the thing (or actually a few things): 1) Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by a properly fitted ASTM/SEI certified helmet. The logistics of riding and falling from a horse or getting hit in the head by their head are different than a bike or motorcycle, so making sure the equipment matches the activity is paramount to protection. 2) Just because you haven’t fallen on your head yet, or aren’t “riding hard enough to need a helmet” doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
By nature, horses are unpredictable, and humans are clumsy. I still have the image of a vicious fall burned in my brain after a friend in college decided to take the barn’s mascot-mini for a spin, and got his hands caught in the bridle with the mini decided to pull a slide-into-grazing maneuver. I bet he never intended to end up in the hospital falling from a mini, along with the laundry list of people whose lives have been changed by a simple spook, stumble, or fly bite on their horse’s butt.
The #AlwaysAmazing innovators at Ovation have come up with multiple ways to protect your noggin. For most of us, the day-in-day-out comfort and ease of a helmet is paramount. The Deluxe Schooler provides lightweight, low-profile appearance. A dial-fit system ensures proper fit (and proper protection!), while high-flow vents, and a washable liner ensure your head will stay cool and fresh, even in the hottest of summer rides.
And they even have created a toddler size… so your little one can be protected from impromptu-horse-shakes during their lead line ride! (and they can pick from a variety of colors so no arguing!)