Thankfully this is not Cheryl’s helmet.
I am writing about this topic because of my own personal bad accident just six days ago. Our steady eddy mare Ida went over backwards with me while we were standing still taking a grass break during a ride. We were in the mountains not far from home. Beautiful spring day and first time out in a while. Overall the ride was mostly just walking as the horses were not ready for hard work since we are just coming out of winter. She caught the “s” hook of her bit curb chain on her hoof boot while scratching her nose and when she felt like she was trapped she started to panic and back up. She then reared up and over backwards with me. Happened in seconds. Enough time to first think WTF?…. And then think, ” I will know how bad I will be injured in about 2 seconds. Luckily, she fell slightly to the right and I went just a little to the left. All Ran could do was watch and wait to see how his life was possibly going to be changed forever also. Pretty scary. Other than a mild concussion, mild whiplash, and general soreness, I am fine, as I was wearing my helmet.
So now you know why we are posting this article on wearing a helmet. I know for many of you I am preaching to the choir. All of us know of new people coming into the horse world or good friends that still do not see the need for one. If only one more person will start to wear a helmet after reading all this, then something good will have come of it. Please read on.
Helmet facts from the Saskatchewan Horse Federation
1. Over 25,000 people in Saskatchewan ride horses. Athletes involved in horse riding are more likely to suffer head trauma than those involved in football, boxing or soccer.
2. Head injuries are the most common reason for admission to hospital or even death among riders. Most injuries occur during pleasure riding.
3. A fall from 2 feet (60 cm) can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider 8 feet (3 meters) or more above ground.
4. A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 7-10 kph. Horses can gallop at 65 kph. Children’s skulls are the most vulnerable.
5. Ten to fourteen year olds are the children most likely to be involved in an accident with a horse, however all ages are at risk.
6. A rider who has had one head injury has a 40% chance of suffering a second head injury. Children, teens and young adults are most vulnerable to sudden death from a second impact syndrome; severe brain swelling as a result of suffering a second head injury before recovery from the first head injuries.
7. Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.
8. Hospital costs for an acute head injury can be in the range of $2000 per day. Lifetime extended care costs may easily exceed $3 million. There is no funding for rehabilitation outside the medical setting.
9. Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the chin strap firmly applied. Other types of helmets including bike helmets, are inadequate.
10. Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer less head injuries than pleasure riders. The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29% with mandatory helmet use. Britain’s hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46% after helmet design improved and they became routine in use.
11. The Sport Medicine & Science Council of Sask., the CMA (Canadian Medical Association), AMEA (American Medical Equestrian Association) and the AMA (American Medical Association) recommend approved helmets be worn on all rides by all equestrians.
Here is another link to an Equestrian Medical Safety Association to look at.