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We Are Flying Solo

July 31, 2015

The #1 Reason To Wear A Helmet That You Didn’t Think Of

Heck yeah, helmet went to Ecuador in my carry-on!
I'm going to let you in on a secret:  there is something worse than losing your health, or worse, your life, to a TBI, especially a preventable one.

Even more devastating is losing a person you love to a TBI.

It’s often left out of the equation because it falls into the category of "things that happen to other people," like malaria & plane crashes & armed robbery: awful, yet somewhat abstract.  Until we become one of those people.

How do I know?  Because I became one of those people.  My love, my future, my everything…vanished.

But this post isn’t about me or the story I still can’t write.  This post is about opportunity & hope for countless futures, countless moments that can continue to shine thanks to you.

Sexy 2010 Solo (Pics of You)
It’s A Holiday Sale-day!

August 1st, 2015 marks the 5th Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day.  It has grown & inspired remarkable progress, literally around the world; equine retailers & helmet manufacturers have joined the team to offer huge inventory sales. 
You can find the Master List here.

All of this makes an easy-to-use, well-designed, thoroughly-tested (raises hand) safety essential even more accessible no matter what your discipline or income bracket (waves again from the bottom of that barrel).

  • Want a fresh new look?  The options have become almost limitless. Customize, airbrush, & bedazzle to your heart’s content!  Sport an understated accent piping for the hunter ring or don Western leather to match your trail saddle.
  • Go straight from schooling to show ring on a budget.  Gone are the days of the white mushroom (although I flew one all the way to Australia & back for noggin protection during residence Down Under)!  All your favourite brands have lighter, cooler, more diverse redesigns – in technicolor!  I tried out Troxel’s new Intrepid last year & I can’t believe how comfortable it is…for less than $60!!
  • Never owned a helmet?  It’s not like insurance: yesterday’s actions don’t matter & no one holds a grudge.  Your local store reps will be thrilled to help you find the style & fit you love; if you don’t have one nearby, I’ve spoken with dozen of friendly voices from online retailers like Dover & SmartPak.  Many will allow you to order multiples & return at no charge, as they should, since YOU are priceless.
It’s My Personal Choice & I Just Don’t Want To

Ah, the final bastion of hold-outs.  Which I refer back to the beginning of this missive.  For your “choice” is not truly yours alone.  Do you have a significant other?  A best friend?  A parent?  A sibling?  Offspring?  Take a moment & consider the responsibility inherent in any caring relationship.

Particularly if you yourself are a parent – even aside the obvious, that EVERYONE should wear a helmet -- children are dependents.  Where will yours be if your horse simply stumbles at the wrong moment & like far too many I’ve known even locally, you suffer a catastrophic open skull fracture?

Yes, that’s a dire image, but it’s a very real one.  Horses bring a myriad of risks & we can’t negate them all, but this is, pardon the cliche, a no-brainer.

Don’t let yourself be caught in the complacency trap of “I don’t gallop over giant logs or anything,” either.

Treasured always
  • Ask my wonderful dressage trainer, experienced at PSG, who’s had surgical repairs to shattered ankles TWICE…while walking trained horses on flat trails.  
  • Ask my neighbour, whose leg just spent 8 weeks in a cast with pins…after his trail horse slipped walking down a hill.  
  • Ask me, who landed on my head two years ago…because Encore, STANDING STILL, suddenly felt like something stung him in a meadow.
Geez.  Trail riding is dangerous.  0.o

The Point Is…

Even if you don't want to do it for you, do it for the sake of those who love you.  For them, for me, the greatest gift you can give is sticking around.


  1. Well said. I really don't like people who argue that it's their choice. Every one of them has family or friends who will suffer if they're injured. And if you fall off and die, your horse will be a liability. It won't matter if all the horse did was a trip, a horse who caused a fatality is a liability to sell. So unless you have a will and a fund set up to care for that horse for its life, you've probably sentenced your horse to death too. And the horse didn't have a "choice."

  2. I agree with you that most do not consider that aspect of choice. I lost my only sibling to a non-horse-related tragedy that was totally preventable and resulted from "choices" which certainly had lifelong consequences for the entire family, not just the choice-maker. Those types of losses are haunting, because they creep up over and over again when you are reminded in your daily life that that person was supposed to play a role and is irreversibly absent.

    Take care and thanks for making others aware.

    1. Oh Val, I'm so sorry to hear that. (hugs) You are so poignantly right about feeling them just over your shoulder every day. My fiance's TBI was not horse-related either, but loss, as we learn, is loss. The one silver lining is that you cannot lose unless you first have something you love & having that love, well, I would not for one second go back & undo it! <3

    2. ETA his TBI was definitely NOT a choice, much as we wish it could have been voted against.

  3. Shattered arm with pins and a plate - on the ground, in a stall. Could have easily escalated to involve my noggin...

    With rights ("it's my right to choose") come responsibilities.

    Thanks for the reminder. Hope you are surviving the humid-est summer ever. 90 degrees + 90% humidity. Ugh. It's been brutal here, for people and ponies. :D

    1. Ouch, CFS!! Reminds me of my recent black eye, collected while applying Keratex to Encore's front feet & he simply lifted a leg to dislodge a fly & his kneecap met my orbital bone. Horse parts are heavy!! And that was just a gentle, slow lift that knocked me on my back & put stars in my head, sheesh.

      But well said (Spiderman...) & hope you're finding a breeze out there off the water! We've gotten a nice break this weekend so far, fortunately, as I worried the horses' bone marrow was going to melt... :/

  4. Great Point and you know I agree with you.

  5. Very, very well-put. I am grateful that I didn't have a concussion to deal with when I fell off last year, in addition to the fractured vertebrae. Every single time I wear my helmet I do it for me AND my loved ones. I like the angle of what might happen to your horse if you're injured, too. I will add that to my arsenal of reasons to give folks when given the opportunity.

    It literally blows my mind that people don't think past the "but nobody in my sport wears one" or "I look like a dork" or "it's too hot" or "my horse is dead broke and I trust him/her" or whatever lame-brain excuse they have.

    Can we talk about the Saddlebred folks for a minute? I always think of Western riders as the dedicated non-helmet wearers but holy crap, every single time I see a mounted saddle seat rider they are bare-headed unless under age 10! Do they not suffer injuries?

    I love your last picture. ((hugs))

    1. Ouch ouch -- my back injections hurt like I don't even know what (& I have an epic pain tolerance), just putting the needles in my facet joints. A vertebral fracture would be just...ow! Glad you are ok!

      I'm glad you mentioned saddleseat & Western riders, because I want to give MAD PROPS to Nicole Aichele for screaming out of the barrel chute not just safely, but boldly making a statement with #helmettough.

      And to the trainer/owner of the last farm I boarded with, a small, local TWH group with a 4-H club, but a couple of the adults wore helmets (I had the only trotting horses there, LOL), even on short trail rides, which was a pleasant surprise (although alas, they did not show in them, but it's a good start!). Even better, not only was the under-18 crowd required to wear a helmet while mounted, there were two big red signs on the way out to the pastures: "YOU MUST WEAR A HELMET BEYOND THIS POINT!" Yep, hard & fast rule that the kids' helmets went on even before the horse's halter did, through grooming & aftercare. I was really proud of them for that.

    2. Oops, forgot Nicole's link I was going to include:

  6. every ride every time. it's so easy - just wear the darn hat!

    1. Absolutely - which is why it's important to find a helmet that fits correctly and is comfortable for you. It's no use buying one and leaving it at home. All approved helmets have passed the same safety tests, so $$$$$ is irrelevant: the best helmet is the one you wear. :D