Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

When was a time you were glad you were wearing a helmet?
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Riding Helmet
This time around during TREC training, I always wore my helmet. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

Earlier this summer while preparing for the World Championships of TREC, which my teammates and I completed a few weeks ago in Segovia, Spain, I was flipping through a photo album of images from my previous experience participating in the event, 19 years ago in France. Memories came flooding back as I flipped through the pages of training and competition pictures É until I stopped at particular photo, perplexed.

There, in the 35-mm print, I was navigating into a patch of sun along a narrow trail, map in hand, and wearing a mere ball cap on my head. Then, on another page, standing with my horse after the happy-mayhem mounted awards ceremony with no helmet.

I was confused because as long as I can remember, I’ve always worn a riding helmet, without question, save a few silly photo-ops as a kid that I’m lucky I survived. Those training days in France were quite long, and there were plenty of precarious spots along the ground we covered

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

8 Responses

  1. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    Years ago my wife declared that I would wear a helmet while riding. I went thru a few different ones before I found one that was comfortable. Now, as you note, I feel rather naked w/o it on; to the point where I keep a spare in my trailer just in case

  2. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    Years ago my wife declared that I would wear a helmet while riding. I went thru a few different ones before I found one that was comfortable. Now, as you note, I feel rather naked w/o it on; to the point where I keep a spare in my trailer just in case

  3. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    This was years ago before helmets were here.  I was foxhunting with the then famous velvet hunt cap, which had a hard top and did protect your head some.  I was approaching a chicken coop jump when my horse decided to refused it and I went ov

  4. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    Two and a half years ago I was riding my lazy, laid-back, bomb-proof Arabian gelding out on the desert trail across the road from my home when he wandered into a sink hole.  It wasn’t deep (thankfully) but he fell on his side, unseating me in the

  5. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    April 14, 2016. My horse spooked just as I was about to finish mounting and took off galloping across hard packed ground. I lost my balance and landed hard hitting the back of my helmet, the right side of my back and hip enough to break L2 and L3 trave

  6. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    I, being 66 years old, was "new" to the advice of always wearing a helmet. Since I started to faithfully wear one ,I have been, I think, rewarded of not receiving at least 3 serious injuries over the past 20 years. My favorite was when my hor

  7. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    Almost all of my near misses with horses have been when I was on the ground and not wearing a helmet. I know as many accounts of serious injury and death while handling horses from the ground as from recreational accidents while mounted.

  8. re: Snapshots of Safety: Riding Helmets as a Habit

    I always ride with a helmet.  I had a horse that I sent to a trainer to be started.  I was riding this horse in the round pen and we were trotting then he started to canter then BUCK!! I came off and landed on my butt first then the back of m

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