Today, June 22 is International Helmet Awareness Day! This is a fantastic initiative to remind us all to regularly replace our helmets. If your helmet is over 5 years old or you’ve recently taken a tumble it’s time for a new one!
Let me tell you a story about a very silly 14/15 year old girl and her very clever mother…
When I was a teenager helmets weren’t sexy, in fact, they looked like you had an egg on your head. They were white, they were big, they didn’t ‘breathe’, they weren’t what your average 14/15 year old girl wanted to be seen in. One day we arrived where our horses were kept this very cocky teenager grabbed the bridle and wandered off to find her trusty steed in the bush. Mother noted I wasn’t going to be riding back bareback without a helmet on. Cue teenage eye-rolling, foot stomping, mumbling, you know the drill. Mum was insistent and to save her selling the horses/telling dad/grounding me I took the damned helmet. Turns out the easiest way to carry said helmet was to put it on my head. This wasn’t a bad idea since my mare stumbled on the way back, I went over the handlebars and bounced on my head along some rocks. The gouges in the egg-head helmet confirmed this. Gee, maybe mum was right? Of course I didn’t tell her but I’ve also wore a helmet forever more!
I become tired of hearing the arguments of ‘my horse is quiet’, ‘it’s my choice’ and so on. Yes it is your choice, 100% it is! It is NOT the choice of your partner, family and friends to feed, bathe and dress you for the rest of your life should you have an acquired brain injury. Quiet horses stumble or get a fright as well. Courtney King-Dye, an Olympian, probably didn’t expect to fall off either. Her story is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awJDYBhBPzk, it’s worth watching.
If it’s good enough for Chartlotte Dujardin to win an Olympic gold medal in dressage wearing a, very cool, helmet then it’s good enough for us! It’s great to see higher level riders showing in helmets.
We’ve come a long way from the egg-head helmets. We’ve all sorts lighter, vented, cool colours to choose from and above all they’re much more comfortable. Take a moment to ensure your helmet fits correctly, you wear it fitted correctly (no flapping chin straps please!) and it meets current safety standards. It may even be an opportunity to purchase a new, sexier looking one! Life is much too short to spend a portion of it thinking ‘If only I’d put the helmet on’….