If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m an advocate for the use of certified safety helmets during any kind of riding. A new article posted today on the Riders4Helmet site provides horsebiz owners and managers some additional insights into why people do, and don’t, choose to wear riding helmets.
My own noggin’s been saved a couple of times over the years by helmets, first when a car hit me in the early 1990s while I was riding a bike, and then years later when I was riding a mutton-withered horse who spooked at a safety cone; the saddle twisted to the right, and thankfully I had my wits about me, kicking my feet out of the stirrups and bailing off.
However, on that occasion my head came within a few feet of a solid wooden structure that had I hit it would have been the end of me. Even the car collision was scary, since my head hit first the car hood and then the pavement. And so, I wear helmets, and encourage others to wear them, too.
That’s why I was on-board when Lyndsey White, who co-founded and runs the Riders4Helmets campaign, asked me to write an article exploring the psychological reasons why so many horsemen and women, of all ages, abilities, and disciplines, still believe they don’t need to wear riding helmets. This is despite some scary statistics that put horseback riding near the top of the list when it comes to recreational activities or sports resulting in head injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
In the article, I interview Tonya Johnston, MA, a mental skills coach that works with equestrians. Tonya was a speaker at the 2011 Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium, held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington this past July.
I won’t go into the details of the article here; you’ll have to read it for yourself (link below). But, if you’ve got a horsebiz where students, instructors, boarders, guests, etc., are riding horses without wearing helmets, it’s worth a read at least to understand why you either do or don’t believe in riding helmets, and if you do support helmet usage, how you can approach others about strapping one on (a helmet, that is).
Why What’s IN Your Head Reflects What’s ON Your Head at Riders4Helmets.com
Many thanks to Tonya Johnston for her assistance with the article and for sharing her knowledge, and to Lyndsey White for her tireless campaigning to make equestrian sports safer for all.
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