The statistics are gripping. Equestrian-related injuries account for 70,000 emergency room visits yearly, with 12,000 of those being head injuries. Equestrians across the country, and across disciplines, are sharing their harrowing close calls and their reasons behind wearing riding helmets.
Leslie (Barrel racer)
I ride in a Troxel. I remember being in OKC at the Better Barrel Racing Finals and just decided it was time to wear one. It was before the helmet fad started. When I pulled up, they had 1,500 entries. I went right to the stockyards, bought a helmet and brought it back. That weekend, two girls hit the wall. One girl went to the hospital. Then six months later, my horse went front end over end. I ended up underneath of him. Two hooves scrapped by the helmet, and I stood up with no injuries. I was totally lucky and thankful I had the feeling I needed a helmet before that happened. I always ride in a helmet. Thank God I wore it before; a lot of people wear a helmet after an accident. Trendy or not, it’s smart.
One day, we were riding around the outdoor arena, and out of nowhere, my horse Luna tripped, and then tripped a second time. I prepared myself mentally for the inevitable fall that was coming. As I felt her body fall out from underneath me, I hit the ground face down, and the next thing I knew she was rolling over top of me. I will never be able to get the sound of my helmet crunching as she continued to roll over me and then away from me. I was, and am, so lucky for both her and me to walk away from our worst fall/crash basically unscathed. It was in those heart-stopping moments as she tripped, fell down and my helmet crunched under her body weight that I realized just how appreciative I was of all the trainers and people along my way that preached to me that I must ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Anne Marie (Jumper)
I had a horse fall on my head in November and didn’t even get a concussion. My helmet was smashed in three places, but besides bruising and swelling, I walked into the ER with no concussion and never blacked out. The doctors were so impressed with the helmet!
Tina (Barrel racer)
The main reason I wear a helmet is because I had three friends who within just one summer, all had head injuries from horseback riding. It was then I thought to myself, "OK, it might be time to start wearing a helmet." I’m an older rider, and I’m the first to know that I don’t ride as well as I once did. All three of my friends who had head injuries are now wearing helmets. It’s been about two years since we were at a barrel race, and it was misting. I was warming up, and my horse drifted off the dry ground to grass, taking a bad fall. I had my helmet on, and I broke my ankle. The helmet was covered in mud; I obviously hit my head. I hate to think, "What if I hadn’t been wearing my helmet?"
Chakara (Trail rider)
I wear a helmet because life is too short not to. A close friend of mine spent all of her life on working ranches, riding anything and everything. She made a living training horses and working as a ranch hand, being considered one of the guys. Until one day, that all changed. She was moving a bull on a horse she trusted, something they had done many times before. But that day was different. The bull didn't want to move and ended up throwing her horse and her with it. After a lengthy hospital stay and having to learn basic motor functions all over again, she now wears a helmet. And that is why I do, too.
Riders can help avoid grave risk by wearing an ASTM/SEI approved helmet. With an extensive selection of riding helmets available, equestrians can have peace of mind knowing they are protected.
Editor's note: A college friend is a doctor in one of the busiest emergency rooms in the country. The first thing he asked was if we rode with a helmet. He explained the number of serious head injuries, and even death, could have been avoided by riders wearing helmets.
This article originally appeared on Valley Vet and is published here with permission. Valley Vet Supply was founded in 1985 by veterinarians for people just like you - people who want the very best for their four-legged friends and livestock.
All photos courtesy of Valley Vet.
There are more informative articles in our section on Health & Education.
By the EIE Editorial Staff
Ensuring your horse's well-being while you're away on vacation requires careful planning and consideration. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process:
1. Find a Reliable Horse Sitter:
The most crucial aspect is securing a trustworthy and experienced horse sitter. Seek recommendations from fellow horse owners, barn staff, or local veterinarians. Consider individuals with a proven track record of caring for horses, preferably with experience handling your horse's specific needs and temperament. Some are listed on our Horse Sitting page but you may also want to get recommendations through other horse owners in your area.
2. Assess Your Horse's Needs:
Evaluate your horse's individual requirements, including feeding schedule, turnout preferences, exercise routine, and any special medications or supplements and places to reorder if you run out such as SmartPak, Purina, or Triple Crown. Provide detailed instructions and create a written care plan that clearly outlines your horse's daily routine and any specific considerations.
3. Schedule a Trial Visit:
Arrange for the horse sitter to visit your barn or home before your departure. This allows them to familiarize themselves with your horse, your facilities, and your care routine. It's an opportunity for you to observe their interaction with your horse and assess their competence.
4. Provide Emergency Contact Information:
Furnish the horse sitter with a list of emergency contact numbers, including your veterinarian, farrier, and a trusted friend or neighbor who can assist if needed. Ensure they have easy access to your horse's medical records and any relevant documentation.
5. Communicate Effectively:
Maintain open communication with your horse sitter throughout your absence. Regularly check in to get updates on your horse's well-being and address any concerns promptly. Provide a way for them to contact you easily in case of emergencies.
6. Prepare Your Home or Barn:
Ensure your home or barn is ready for your horse sitter's arrival. Stock up on hay, feed, and any necessary supplies. Clearly label medications, supplements, and grooming equipment. Make sure your horse's stall or pasture is clean and safe.
7. Consider Boarding Options:
If you're concerned about leaving your horse at home, consider boarding options. Reputable boarding facilities offer professional care and supervision, ensuring your horse's needs are met in a safe and controlled environment. Here are Boarding facilities including overnights. Make sure you are up to date on your health certificates and Coggins!
8. Plan for Return:
Before your return, coordinate with your horse sitter to ensure a smooth transition. Leave clear instructions for your horse's care upon your arrival. Schedule a time to meet with the horse sitter to receive a thorough update on your horse's condition.
Remember, your horse's well-being is paramount. By carefully planning and preparing, you can ensure your horse receives the proper care and attention while you're away, allowing you to enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.
There's more interesting articles in our section on Recreation & Lifestyle.
Monty Roberts welcomes a group of combat veterans to his ranch for a weekend of his renowned program Horse Sense & Healing. The film follows three veterans as they experience their first Join-Up® with a horse and begin to build back a sense of trust and a reduction in anxiety.
Join-Up is that moment when a horse (a flight animal) decides it can follow a person because they use a body language that Monty learned from the wild mustangs in Nevada.
Monty believes that Post Traumatic Stress is an injury, not a disorder (PTSI not PTSD).
By the EIE Editorial Staff
Florida offers a unique and exciting experience for horseback riding enthusiasts. With its diverse landscapes, from beaches and forests to prairies and swamps, Florida provides a variety of trails to explore. Additionally, Florida's warm weather makes it possible to enjoy horseback riding year-round.
Here are some of the reasons why horse vacations in Florida are so much fun:
- Variety of trails: Florida offers a wide variety of trails to suit all levels of experience, from beginner-friendly paths to challenging cross-country rides. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll along the beach or a heart-pounding adventure through the woods, Florida has something for you.
- Beautiful scenery: Florida is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. From the white-sand beaches of the Gulf Coast to the lush green forests of the interior, Florida's scenery is sure to take your breath away.
- Warm weather: Florida's warm weather makes it possible to enjoy horseback riding year-round. Even in the winter, the temperatures are mild enough to ride comfortably. Check out places to book your trip on our Vacations page.
- World Class Polo: Some of the best polo in the world is located in Florida where you can check out matches at the National Polo Center in Wellington or the Sarasota Polo Club in Sarasota.
- Plenty of Events: There are a great number of events including at places like the World Equestrian Center in Ocala a must see for any horse lover! This venue features shows with horse breeds, dressage, hunter jumper, classes and more. You can also dine and stay onsite at their beautiful hotel. Don’t forget the incredible shopping to buy gifts for yourself or your favorite equestrian!
- Off to the Races: Gulfstream Park is home to the Florida Derby and the Pegasus World Cup, located in Hallandale Beach and further north is Tampa Bay Downs, hosting the Tampa Bay Downs, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Both tracks are found on our Thoroughbred Racing page.
If you're looking for a fun and exciting vacation, Florida is the perfect place to go. With its beautiful scenery, warm weather, and friendly people, Florida is sure to make your horse vacation one to remember.
There's more interesting articles in our section on Recreation & Lifestyle.