10 Bad Reasons Not to Wear a Helmet on Horseback

These boots were made for riding
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There are many excuses for not wearing a helmet when you ride, but there is no good reason. The quietest, most well-trained horse can cause injury if it is startled or hurt. Ask anyone who has accidentally ridden over a nest of ground wasps, or was riding calmly along when a car backfired. A helmet will not make you invincible, but it will help protect the one part of your body that is among the hardest to fix—your brain. Avoid using these excuses and wear an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved riding helmet every time you ride.

  • 01 of 10

    You Are Willing to Take the Risk

    Horse with rider in English riding apparel

    K. Blocksdorf

    You might think, it is my head and I am willing to take the risk. But, what if your head meets an arena wall, fence post, rock, or hard ground? Head injuries can lead to permanent debilitation. While it may be your head, have you decided who will spend their life looking after you if you cannot look after yourself due to a head injury?

    If you think you do not need a helmet, then you should look at your son, daughter, spouse, or friend in the eye and tell them: I don't need a helmet, but if I am wrong it will be your job to care for me.

  • 02 of 10

    Points Will Get Deducted in the Show Ring

    Close view of horse in a dressage scene

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    Western riders and other riders who compete in equestrian competitions might feel they will be penalized if they wear a helmet in the show ring. However, there is no justification for valuing fashion and tradition over safety.

    The truth of the matter is that certified helmets are required headgear for many competitive riding events, particularly where horse and rider must jump or work at high speed. Helmets are worn more often by English-style riders and are gaining acceptance as required headgear for children.

  • 03 of 10

    You Know Safety Dismounts

    Horse rider falling off a horse

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    Emergency dismounts and emergency stops are useful skills to learn, but they are not guaranteed to be effective, and they do not replace a helmet if you take a fall. Falls can happen so quickly that you do not know you are going to fall off, leaving you no time to prepare or brace for the fall.

  • 04 of 10

    Helmets Cause Headaches

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    In most cases, the solution to this problem is not to avoid using a helmet, but to find one that fits. In other cases, the problem might not even be the helmet but dehydration. Riding is a sport and like any athlete, you have to care for yourself properly, especially when heat and stress can take their toll.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Helmet Head

    Back of man's head with messy hair

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    Some people can take off their helmet and look like they are the new spokesperson for a shampoo commercial, flinging their locks in the sunlight. The rest of the world gets helmet head. Just because your hair gets messed up is not a good reason for risking a preventable brain injury.

  • 06 of 10

    You Are an Experienced Rider

    Woman in red jacket on horseback

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    A study conducted by a team of Alberta researchers found that riders who reported an injury had an average of 27 years of riding experience. New riders had a relatively small incidence of injury.

    Accidents do not just happen to inexperienced riders. Grand Prix level riders have suffered traumatic brain injury from falling off of a horse. In fact, more experienced riders tend to fall off with more force.

  • 07 of 10

    Helmets Are Uncomfortable

    Horse with rider jumping over hurdle

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    With the number of styles and fits now available there should be a helmet to fit everyone. Many are adjustable for a custom fit. Troxel, Tipperary, and IRH are just a few of the manufacturers you can choose from. All have a slightly different fit and are different weights and styles.

    Try lots of helmets on before you buy. Ask your friends what they like. With a little research, you should be able to find a helmet that will keep you both comfortable and safe.

  • 08 of 10

    Helmets Are Ugly

    A young girl and a pony in a snowy day

    Iliana Mestari / Getty Images

    There are helmets in many different styles, like the Troxel Sierra and the Troxel Cheyenne. If you do not like the way the shell of your helmet looks, put on a funky helmet cover. Helmet covers are a great way to personalize your look.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Helmets Are Expensive

    Hand holding $100 bills

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    ASTM-approved helmets cost as little as $50. This is a small expense compared to an emergency room visit, a hospital stay, or long-term care. The International Equi-Lite Dial Fit System Schooling Helmet is just one example of a helmet that is used during training or exercise that is under the $50 price mark.

  • 10 of 10

    You Wear Another Type of Helmet

    Woman pauses with bike at a scenic overlook

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    Riding helmets are made specifically to withstand a fall from a height or a blow to the head by a hoof. Bicycle, hockey, baseball, and other helmets are not made to protect the head from these incidents.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.