Friday, April 2, 2010

The Great Helmet Debate

Just something I was thinking about this morning.

Someone I know has said in the past, basically, that if a horse wasn't safe enough he could put his kids on it without helmets, he didn't want it.

Now, it's not quite so surprising to hear he's not interested in helmets when you think that they ride Western, basically, and wearing helmets really isn't at all part of Western riding culture. And if he doesn't want to wear a helmet, I sincerely hope he never needs to. But it does seem crazy to me, a bit, he's not encouraging his kids to wear helmets. I wonder if they ride bikes and whether he makes them wear helmets then.

And it's not really that. The horses he was referring to and their suitability as "safe" horses isn't in question. I mean, they're some of the safest, most "bombproof" horses I know. I should know, I was riding one of them when her bridle broke on a downhill, narrow slope, as the train was coming not yards away.

Hell, I trust my horse to let me do all kinds of things I wouldn't do with just any horse. He's safe, really safe. And I ride him wearing a helmet. I mean, I've been on him without a helmet, but those occasions are few and far between and generally for a specific purpose (like a photoshoot). I really trust him not to take advantage and he's so far shown himself worthy of that trust.

But that doesn't mean he won't have a bad day, that we won't find something that really will spook him into a panic (it could happen! Swarm of bees, anyone?). It doesn't mean that, out trail riding, he won't trip and go down. It doesn't mean I won't do something dumb and fall off (even the best riders do). There's a reason there's that folk wisdom that says you're not a "real" rider until you've fallen off a hundred times (I'm not nearly there yet).

And all of those things are things that could happen even with a safe, reliable, trustworthy horse with no spook.

It just seems ridiculous to me to suggest that you don't need a helmet to protect your head because the horse is safe.

It seems ridiculous to me to forgo a very simple precaution that could save your life and costs you very little in terms of time or money (my helmet cost less than $50). Yes, I wear my seatbelt in the car, too. I learned my lesson on that one.

I like my brainz. I'd like to keep them around a while.

1 comment:

PruSki said...

I totally agree!! When I was 12 years old my mom and dad started making me wear a helmet everytime I rode. Then, I hated it, but complied. i have carried that lil'bit of knowledge into my adult life. I have always worn a helmet, with exceptions, like you said. i could not imagine setting my child up-top a horse or even a pony with out one. Good for you for standing up for what is right, and I hope that your friend seriously considers that horses are flight animals. Even the safest have their days.