Letter: Horse riders should wear helmets
Last week a young woman died when she fell from her spooked horse and her foot caught in the stirrup. My heart aches when something like this happens because I love both people and horses.
I regularly have children over to learn about, and work with, my horses and pony. There is something very special about horses that can reach and teach people. However, horses are big and powerful and have a basic instinct to be afraid. This is one reason I continually train my animals. Yet, even the most “bombproof” horse will be afraid of something.
This is why the very first rule anyone visiting my barn learns is that, “Everything you do around a horse must be safe for you.” If you can foresee the possibility of an accident, find another way to accomplish your goal.
This first rule of working with horses is also the reason that every person who rides one of my horses wears a helmet. (Heeled shoes are also required.) Although a bicycle helmet is not rated against a horse kick, it is enough to protect against falls. We’ve accepted the concept of wearing helmets when riding a bicycle, a mechanical device that we can almost always control. Why won’t we accept it when riding horse that has a mind of its own?
Wearing a helmet on a horse is like wearing a seatbelt in a car. You don’t anticipate getting into an accident, but if one should happen, you are much better protected. The horse pastime should undergo the same helmet revolution that the bicycle pastime went through years ago.
Please – be a responsible rider. Wear a helmet – every time!