Helmets. Not everybody wears them, and not every discipline is completely accepting of them. And regarding the recent accident Silva Martin had, I felt it necessary to address to topic of helmet safety.
For those of you that don’t know, Silva Martin, a very talented dressage rider and wife of Olympian and upper level eventer Boyd Martin, had a recent freak accident aboard one of her horses. The horse tripped, causing Silva hit her head on his neck. She fell to the ground unconscious, which was followed by a seizure. After being airlifted out, she is now in the hospital with bleeding in her brain, but is slowly but surely making a recovery. In a recent article with Eventing Nation, Boyd said that “her helmet very obviously prevented this from being a much more serious injury.” And on Boyd’s blog, he posted ”Since the tragedy of Courtney King Dye, Silva has worn her Charles Owen helmet every day and doctors assured us that if she hadn’t had her helmet on in this instance the conversation we’d be having would be extremely different.”
Alright, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: Your helmet protects your brain, therefore protecting all of your bodily functions. And even though your bomb-proof-never-laid-a-foot-wrong-in-all-of-his-life trusty steed is known for being the safest horse on the farm, it doesn’t mean that one day he might trip in an unseen hole, or even over his own feet, and send you flying into a hospital bed.
We’ve all been there, where your hair looks great and your horse is clean and shiny, so you hop on and take a cute picture: the occasional photo-op is completely understandable. But day-to-day riding is a completely different story. Each day, on every single horse I ride, I wear my helmet, not only on young and inexperienced horses, but my been-around-the-block-and-back-six-times 15.3 hand 16 year old horse.
Sure, in the spring and summer it’s hot, and your helmet makes your head sweat, but rather than spending the rest of your days getting CT scans of your brain, slap your Charles Owen, One K, Troxel, anything that is ASTM approved on your head and get riding!
Ask yourself this before you make the decision to ride without a helmet:
Is your life worth it?