Interesting brochure on the OEF group page tallking about helmets and rider injury statistics.
http://www.horse.on.ca/safety.html
I work with a coach and a clinician, both of whom are Olympic competitors in dressage (one is a medal winner) and both ride with helmets every time they get on the horse. With them setting the example, virtually all of their students ride with helmets as well. It's easier to get a helemt on your head than dressage boots on your feet, so what is stopping people from wearing helmets? Are they embarrassed? Afraid that it will seem uncool?

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Cathrine, do you find that wearing the helmet is becoming a trend in Europe? More and more dressage riders in North America are wearing them, although I cannot speak for the other disciplines.
Hi Laura... perhaps. I always wore mine, but I suppose you could say it's catching on more with Anky leading the way at clinics etc.

Cat
That is interesting that Anky wears a helmet in clinics. Good for her! I used to be at a barn where the trainer made you feel like there was something wrong with you if you wore a helmet. With people like Anky setting the example, hopefully people will realise that if riders at the top of their game are willing to forget vanity and protect their brain, maybe they can do the same!!
Hm - Anky didn't use to wear a helmet for clinics, but she does seem to fall off a lot more than other world champions these days, so maybe that has something to do with it. I saw her at a big clinic in March on Painted Black and she had some sort of safety number on - GPA, I think. I'm sure the example does have an impact. But I know trainers as well who tease their pupils about wearing a helmet.

The latest I read in a Swedish newspaper was that parents are buying "fake" safety body protectors for their kids because they are mandatory in jumping competitions. Some junior trainers are saying that the rigid body protectors inhibit the kids' technique, so one of the big riding gear chains have launched a waistcoat that looks like a body protector but has no protection - the only reason I can think of is that people buy it to conform to the rules (or seem to conform) whilst affording their youngster a little extra flexibility (but no protection) in the saddle. Crazy world.

Cat
Yes, I have heard that she has had a number of recent falls. I also think, from my own experience, that after you have children, your thinking changes a lot. I must say that I became a bit more neurotic! :)

About that article, I can not possibly imagine any parent buying their children FAKE safety equipment!! I can see the kids complaining and asking for it, but now I've heard everything!
Perhaps some parents bought the "body protectorette" out of ignorance, but I have seen it on the website, and there is a visible disclaimer saying it is not a piece of safety equipment and still people buy it for their kids at the price of a real body protector. I also know that some pretty high profile junior trainers claim that the body protectors are costing kids ribbons. I agree it's pretty incredible.

Cat
I always wear a hat and it wouldn't even occur to me not to, it's just habit. My mare is bombproof and I've never fallen off her in 11 years of riding her but even bombproof horses can trip and fall. It's just not worth the risk.
Hi, yes being a Mom and getting older changes alot. I would NEVER consider not wearing a helmet because now I have chosen to have children it would be selfish of me to take that risk. I sometimes ride with some other ladies (all Moms) and none of them wear helmets trail riding and galloping in areas where lets face it anything could spook the horse. I felt goofy at first being the only one and the first time I felt embaressed enough to remove and carry my helmet but 5 mins later I thought of my lovely husband and family and realised how stupid and selfish it was to take that risk.
How could I insist my kids wore their helmets if they did not see me wearing mine?
I always ride with a helmet. I got bucked off and hit the ground hard. I still don't have very clear memories of that happened. I won't let anyone ride my horse without a helmet.
I should clarify that my horse didn't buck me off. It was a horse I was part-leasing & the accident happened 5 years ago.
Yeah, I always wear a helmet. I rode for years back in the 1970s and '80s never wearing a helmet except when I jumped - which wasn't very often, believe me. No one wore a helmet in those days, and I never thought about it.

I never had a serious injury, but I started wearing one after my horse slipped down on pavement, and I went off backward, flat on my back. Only got a bump on my head, but I decided to try out one of the newer helmets. This was 1992, and I haven't ridden without one since.

As others have said, now I would feel as strange riding without a helmet as I would driving without a seat belt.
I am a Certified Horsemanship Association Standard Level 1 Western Instructor and we teach that you wear a helmet anywhere around horses. Doesn't matter whether you are riding or just working on the ground around them you must wear a helmet. Now this may seem rather harsh but several times since this idea was introduced to me it has become clear how important my helmet truly is. I used to be a cowboy hat only kind of person, using a helmet maybe for riding but since I've had horses bump my helmet severely while on the ground, plus slipping on ice and landing flat on my back banging my head (with my helmet on) I can honestly say I swear by them and wear them instead of my cowboy hat while riding. On the rare occasion when the heat is like 32 degrees with the sun beating down I will wear my wide brim cowboy hat for xtra sun protection, but man does it feel weird when I do.that helmet saved me from a severe concussion each time,

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