Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why you should ALWAYS wear a riding helmet

If I weren't a believer before, I am now!

Why you should always wear a riding helmet

Why you should always wear a helmet when you are horseback riding

Don't worry — I'm all right, but I suspect if I hadn't been wearing that helmet, I wouldn't be writing to you right now — I'd be in the hospital!

Those of you who have been reading my blog a while will remember that I only started wearing a helmet last summer, and that it wasn't until last fall that I started wearing it all the time.  Well, I have had several days now to think about how lucky I am that I made that change.

On Thursday I went out to the barn to ride Panama.  There was a lesson going on in the indoor arena, and since I was going to be riding without stirrups, I didn't want the added distraction of having to avoid the student and her horse.  I decided to ride outside.

Unfortunately, the cement mounting block in the middle of the outdoor arena isn't as high as the plastic 2-step mounting block in the indoor.  When I jumped and tried to swing my leg over the back of the saddle, I missed.  I suspect I either kicked or kneed Panama in the process, because he took off.

My trainer asked me later what I was thinking, why I didn't just let go right away.  I had this harebrained idea that I was going to pull myself up into the saddle.  How I thought I was going to get settled and get him stopped without stirrups, I have no clue!  In any case, Panama was already starting to run away, but when he felt me trying to pull myself up, he took off like he had a mountain lion clawing its way up his back.

When I fell, I landed flat on my back.  My head struck the sand with enough force that everyone heard it and came running.  A few people were astonished when I got up and said I was fine — they said the impact was so loud, they were sure I would be going to the hospital!  After getting my bearings and finding my sunglasses (which had flown off and lost a lens), I fetched the plastic mounting block and got right back on (with a friend to hold him so he wouldn't run off again).

Within a few minutes, I changed my mind.  Panama, who was already upset because it was dinnertime and he wasn't getting to eat first, was fired up from my fall.  A horse in the nearby round pen was continuously running and bucking (wanting his dinner too), which wasn't helping either.  And as I rode, I started seeing stars in my periphery.  I knew Panama was about to run away, and that I was in no position to stop him.

Fortunately Flash, one of Panama's favorite mares, was riding by at that moment.  I swear she knew exactly what was happening, because without any direction from her rider, she cut Panama off and stopped.  She simply stood there, perpendicular to the rail, blocking his path, so I took the opportunity to hop down.  Only when Flash's rider made some irritable comment about her cutting off Panama did I realize that she didn't realize the potential accident her horse had just averted — Flash had been acting independently of her rider.

Anyway, the stars passed within five or ten minutes, and I was left with a mild headache for the next hour or two, until I finally took some ibuprofen to get rid of it.  A friend who used to intern at the Children's Hospital said that most minor concussions resolve themselves in a few hours, and that's probably what I had.

It wasn't until the next day that I took a good look at my helmet and realized how hard the impact must have been, to do that kind of damage!  I'm keeping an eye out for the symptoms of a concussion, which can show up days after the actual injury, but it seems as though I've gotten off with nothing more than a mild headache.  The thought of what could have happened, had I not been wearing that helmet, scares me silly!



At October 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

Glad the helmet saved you!!

I think Troxel will replace the helmet depending on the model, there will be a fee, but not as much as the full priced new helmet!
That is if you still have the receipt!
I sold them for years but only had a couple of people, including myself, when my older daughter slipped off of her mare in the pasture, riding bareback and fell flat on her back! it also broke the helmet 4" up the back!!
I only paid $20 to replace the helmet back then, but it was a Troxel sport.
Again, glad the helmet saved you! We where ours every time!!!! Every ride!!!

At October 2, 2010 at 6:21 PM, Blogger jane augenstein said...

Glad you are OK, wow, your helmet took quite a hit! Good thing you were wearing the helmet, still keep a check on yourself.

At October 2, 2010 at 10:08 PM, Blogger Sydney_bitless said...

Glad you are ok. The loud bang is the air pocket rupturing inside your helmet. The thing is people are always like I dont need a helmet I have a good seat. Things like you mounting and mine earlier this year with dismounting, you just can't place yourself or predict a fall.

At October 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Pam, I got the helmet from someone else (it was her spare and she wasn't using it, so I was able to buy it cheap), so I don't have the receipt. A fellow boarder at my barn told me the same thing, so I'll make sure to keep the receipt for the replacement I'm buying today!

Jane, so far so good, but I'm still keeping an eye on things. I know someone who had a concussion from a horseback riding accident once, and symptoms didn't show up for a week. I'm aware I need to keep tabs on things for a few more days. ;o)

Sydney, thanks for explaining the loud sound. As for the excuse of having a good seat, I have an answer for that: "Then you won't ever have to worry about buying another." Ha!

I was already wearing my helmet every time I rode, but now I'm a believer! In fact, I'm likely to start trying to convert people! Look out world!


Post a Comment

<< Home