The reason I wear a helmet. Mastery Horsemanship

The Reason I Wear a Helmet

August 28, 2017 7 Comments

The Reason I Wear a Helmet - by Don Jessop

I never did before.  I used to think helmets weren't that important.  In fact I used to teach that "what kept you alive was in your head, no on your head"  Meaning "be smart" so you don't get yourself in bad situations.

Although I still believe that the first part of that statement is true, the second part is false. What's on your head can certainly keep you alive.  Remember you are only one fall away from never riding again. A helmet won't prevent you from falling. But if you fall, a helmet might save your life.

I have three horse related concussions. Each one could have been diminished or eliminated with a helmet. Now I always ride with a helmet. The sad part is that it took me three injuries to realize I need it. The really sad part is, that I am often criticized by many high profile natural horseman (people you've probably heard of) who think I'm silly for riding with a helmet. The critics don't bother my ego, they bother my sense of safety for the thousands of riders they influence.

I have a doctor friend (a general surgeon), who told me how many horse related injuries he sees every week in the emergency room.  In a town of 50,000 people, there were more horse related injuries than I imagined.  I thought maybe motorcycle injuries, car accidents, falling out of tree, would all take first place. But they didn't. Horse related injuries were the most common accident related emergency room procedures. That's in just one small city.  Which means that there are multiple horse related accidents world wide every single day!

I think about that often. Either people are riding unsafe horses or practicing unsafe behaviors with their horses. Turns out, the longer I'm in the industry I realize it's both. Just yesterday a horse arrived at my facility for training. This horse has been ridden for some time, but within a hour of assessing his skill level I told the owner I wouldn't ride this horse, not yet anyway, and I'm a professional. Therefore I recommend nobody else rides the horse until he's calmer, smarter, braver, and more attentive to the important things like hand yields, personal space, and he has to learn what to do in high pressure situations.  

Once he is better, I'll begin riding him again.  But even then, he's still capable of being a "1200 pound ball of fire". When you stop to think about it... Why wouldn't you ride with head protection. It's not uncomfortable. You can't use that excuse anymore. There are many comfortable helmet brands. It's not expensive. You can buy a decent helmet for less than $100. 

So what prevents riders from wearing helmets? And worse, what prevents professionals from wearing helmets? 

Answer: Pride, laziness, fear of criticism, image. I know a lot of cowboys who just have to wear that hat. I used to "have to wear the hat" too. Now I say, "screw it". If you like my cowboy hat that much, you wear it. I want to be safe. I want you to be safe. And I want you to make progress.

That's one of the reasons I wrote my book. Leadership and Horses.  You should buy it. Right now! Click on the link and buy it.

https://masteryhorsemanship.com/collections/books/products/leadership-and-horses

 Reading it will change your whole perspective on horses, safety, leadership, progress and more! If you already bought the book, share this article. Help someone else buy the book. Let's make a difference in this world, together!

PS. Just so you know, when you buy the book, you're also supporting Horses for Orphans. A cause that I hope you look into. Just google it, after you've bought the book.

Thanks for reading!

Don Jessop

Comment, share, ask questions. I will be here for you!

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7 Responses

Rachel huff
Rachel huff

November 04, 2017

I cannot tell you how glad I am that you posted this article. Not glad, of course, that you’ve had some injuries. But glad that more and more high level trainers are promoting safety. And my respect for you as a trainer has only grown.

A friend who always wears a helmet (as I do) said she did a clinic and the trainer told her he was going to help her train her horse in such a way that she’d never have to wear one again. She’s smart-she ignored that remark. I had another person tell me I was smart to wear one. Her comment was “if you THINK your appearance is more important than your brain, it probably is.” LOL. Thanks again, Don. Happy trails.

Lyn Derbyshire
Lyn Derbyshire

September 04, 2017

I have a very fair skin and burn very easily. But I wear a helmet with a large brimmed hat over it. Works well.

Linda A Moon
Linda A Moon

August 31, 2017

I have ridden for 55 years without a helmet. A year ago something happened while either on the ground or on my mare at home alone. I was outside all night on the ground. I was found the next day I don’t remember anything about that day and had to have someone with me for six weeks from a brain injury. I wear a helmet every single time I’m getting on any horse. I never objected to them was just a western rider. Please please wear your helmet!

Angie Watson
Angie Watson

August 30, 2017

My late husband died in a horseback riding accident where a helmet may have saved his life. Thank you for sharing this information. I always ride with a helmet now.

Geneviève Benoit
Geneviève Benoit

August 30, 2017

Just to rectify, and BTW, I now too wear a helmet, but they are not designed to and won’t prevent a concussion, that is a scientific fact. It can prevent a skull fracture or other types of head injuries. A common misconception, but you might want to check into it. Hope you and Rachel are doing well!

Linda
Linda

August 29, 2017

It took me 6 concussions. Good to hear you’re wearing one!

Marie Chance
Marie Chance

August 29, 2017

I love this article! I wish more people shared our philosophy. I once heard someone say that not all who ride horses need to wear helmets, only those with brains!!

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