Early Days

Safety is a choice

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am the lone equestrian in my family. Furthermore, my father knew Christopher Reeve personally. While growing up I was forbidden from doing any jumping; Papa thought it was just too dangerous. So I grew up riding at a saddleseat barn.

Saddle optional. Helmet not!

Coming to eventing as an adult, I get the impression that I’m more safety conscious than lots of other riders, especially as compared to people who grew up in the sport.

Here are some of the choices I make with safety in mind:

– I wear a helmet every ride.

– I wear my impact vest, and typically my air vest as well, while jumping. This includes jumping in lessons, on my own practicing, or at shows. I typically wear my impact vest for trail rides too.

– Last year I chose to do Intro level for our first few outings to help me feel more confident and therefore help ensure safe and positive experiences for both Hemie and myself.

– I listen to my body. If I’m not well enough to ride, I don’t. I also listen to my gut instincts. If something isn’t feeling right, I take a moment to figure it out instead of just plowing ahead.

– I take regular lessons with a trainer.

– I learn from my mistakes. And with the help of this blog, I don’t forget them!

All suited up for SJ

I wasn’t always so safety conscious. I rode without a helmet for many years in fact. But a post about Riders4Helmets from Nicku of The Polka Dot Periodical several years back inspired me to strap one on every ride.

I’d like to pay it forward and hopefully inspire someone to think more about safety. July 12, 2014 is the 5th annual International Helmet Awareness Day. Many helmet retailers and tack shops will offer great discounts on new helmets and offer helmet-fitting workshops. If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your helmet or adding one to your collection, mark your calendar for this date so you can support a great organization’s program and give your wallet a little break too.


10 comments on “Safety is a choice

  1. I was just looking to see if they still sold Riders4Helmets saddle pads the other day but couldn't find any anymore. Boo.


  2. I used to ride without a helmet a lot too, but now I won't get on without one!


  3. Ever since I was little, I never ride without a helmet…..EVER. My noggin is too important to risk an injury! And thanks for reminding me about the Helmet Awareness Day! I plan to head over to my tack shop and probably upgrade my schooling helmet :)


  4. I am def a helmet advocate!


  5. I've started to wear my helmet every single ride. When I boarded my horse that was the rule, if you didn't have one on you didn't belong on a horse. Well… When I moved my horse home I started riding without one helmet, because I felt safe with him and I mean we were just riding the ditches by our house so nothing bad could happen right? Well fast forward a few years, my steady eddy safe horse had passed away and I was riding my new-ish OTTB. Every ride before was pretty uneventful but it was the first ride of the year so I strapped on my helmet at the last second. I ended up eating gravel and heading to the hospital. Thankfully I had my helmet on, but when I got home I couldn't for the life of me remember where I put my helmet. It took me a month before I finally found it. Apparently I knocked my noggin harder than I remember. I have a new helmet now, but I am so thankful I put it on before that ride. Now I don't ride without it, or my crash vest. Everyone I ride with understands, and even though they don't choose to wear a helmet, they are completely fine with me wearing mine.


  6. I'm all about helmets. :-) I was raised in a good barn where we all worn them all the time anyways, so it's never occurred to me that it could be otherwise. Glad you are making solid decisions!


  7. I wear my helmet every ride, all the time. It feels weird if I don't have it on. Same thing goes for my seat belt in the car. It feels weird if I don't.


  8. Bravo, I always wear my helmet. Anyone who rides my horses will too. We even got the baby a helmet. Definitely better safe than sorry.


  9. I think people are slowly growing accustom to wearing a helmet whenever they hop on a horse. It certainly is more common now that I ride English not western. I could see wearing the vest for jumping and certainly for xc.


  10. I never ever ride without!


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