I ride motorcycles. I ride horses. I wear a helmet for both. In the motorcycle world, we call it ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time). My wife says in Pony Club it was “Every Ride, Every Time”.
Basically, the human body is not designed to operate under forces greater than the human body can generate. By riding more than 5 miles an hour, on an object that weighs 500 pounds or a horse that weighs 1500, You run the risk of exceeding conditions the human body can cope with.. particularly when it comes to head trauma.
Dressage… is not “inherently safer” than anything other discipline. Other disciplines just add -more- risk. We ask other motorcycle riders… “Open Casket or Closed, your choice.” Sadly, the disparate cultures around elegance, tradition, and “the cowboy way” all conspire collectively to keep helmets off when on horseback in their respective disciplines (or as some of you would probably posit, lack thereof…)
Fertilizer happens. Every day. The chance may be one in a million, but if you draw the “one”, you’re either prepared, or you aren’t. I’ve gone down on bikes, I’ve yet to come off a horse. It will happen, I’m sure. But my helmet saved my life once… I went in head first on the asphalt at 45 mph. I was prepared. Are you?
I’d rather be laughed at for wearing a helmet than eulogized for not. Macho isn’t riding without one, macho is is stepping up to the plate and setting the example for those who don’t.
I love riding. I love motorcycles. I love my horses. I love my wife. I wish to continue to do all of the above. I wear my helmet, every time.
I challenge every single one of you to set an example for your friends, families, and fellow competitors. Put it on, keep it on, and stand your ground: Safety first.