Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Should You Wear a Riding Helmet?

Those of you who ride at Shiloh know that Sally and I ALWAYS strongly recommend that EVERYONE wear a Riding Helmet whenever you are mounted.

Of course, at Shiloh, anyone under the age of 18 is REQUIRED to wear one and ANYONE riding a Shiloh Horse at anytime for any reason is also REQUIRED to wear a helmet.

In all of my 32 years of riding horses, I have never ridden without a helmet. Even if I am just walking around the ranch bareback, I still wear one. Many companies are making really cute and fashionable helmets now, so there is just really no excuse anymore.

So, with the beautiful Spring riding weather finally almost here, I thought it would be a good idea to remind riders everywhere why wearing a riding helmet is always a great idea.

Equestrian Helmet Facts:

Fact #1: Between 12 to 15 million persons in the United States ride a horse or pony every year.

Fact # 2: Approximately 20 percent of horse related injuries occur on the ground and not riding.

Fact # 3: Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding.

Fact # 4: The most common reason among riders for admission to hospital and death are head injuries.

Fact # 5: A fall from two feet (60 cm) can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider eight feet (three meters) or more above ground.

Fact # 6: A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 7-10 kph. Horses can gallop at 65 kph.

Fact # 7: According to the National Electronic Surveillance System figures the most likely ages for injury is at 5-14, and 25-44 years with each decade having about 20 percent of the injuries.

Fact # 8: A rider who has one head injury has a 40 percent chance of suffering a second head injury. Children, teens and young adults are most vulnerable to sudden death from second impact syndrome: severe brain swelling as a result of suffering a second head injury before recovery from the first head injury.

Fact # 9: Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.

Fact # 10: Hospital costs for an acute head injury can be in the range of $25000 per day. Lifetime extended care costs may easily exceed $3 million. There is no funding for rehabilitation outside the medical setting.

Fact # 11: Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the harness firmly applied. Other types of helmets, including bike helmets, are inadequate.

Fact # 12: Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer less head injuries than pleasure riders. The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29 percent with mandatory helmet use. Britain's hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46 percent after helmet design improved and they became in routine use.

Fact # 13: The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association through the Committee on Sports Medicine, Canadian Medical Association, and the American Medical Equestrian Association/Safe Riders Foundation recommend that approved, fitted and secured helmets be worn on all rides by all horseback riders.


Sharil said...

Amen !!!

Found art blog said...

As an aside to this, I sustained a brain injury through a 3 ton van reversing into me at 30 miles an hour.... bar the hospital costs, it took me 7 years to recouperate enough to enter employment of any kind. Those costs also need to be added in to the hospital costs!!
Worst case - Christopher Reeve. And he wore a hat.

Gina said...

Fabulous information Jill, thanks for sharing! The last time I was on a horse, (without a helmet) I was thrown when the horse reached it's limit, (stable horse) and turned abruptly. I landed on my back on hard solid ground, slamming my head down. I saw the horses hoves as he turned over me to run off the other way! I was stunned for some time, unable to move from the spot. Scared the daylights out of me, and is why I am so afraid now. After reading what you've said, I could have had severe damage from that, and highly recommend everyone follow your advice. I was lucky, more than I ever knew before reading your post!