Any parent can take one look at the Liability Form and instantly know this sport is not as safe as, say, knitting. The list of ways to get hurt around a horse is basically infinite … and still growing.
Just take a look at any horsemen/women who have been in the industry a long time — many 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 can 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, research shows that 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 technological advancements in equestrian safety equipment, such as helmets, have made these accidents potentially much less severe if people choose to protect themselves by wearing them.
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 are paramount. The Deluxe Schooler provides a 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!)