Another entry for the February Helmet Story Contest. We will except entries from anywhere in the world. Please submit your entry no later than February 29th, 2012 (must be a minimum of 500 words AND include a photo) for your chance to win a Riders4Helmets Saddle Pad (your choice of AP, Dressage or Western) and a $50 Equestrian Collections gift certificate ($50 certificate will be substituted for one from another retailer should the winner reside outside of the USA).
Tomorrow; this one word is filled with a great deal of meaning. It is a gift that is promised to no one, but can open so many opportunities in life. Do people ever stop and think, just for a second, that with one small mistake their tomorrow could be taken away forever?
I began riding in the third grade and from the very moment I got on a horse for the first time, an ASTM/SEI approved helmet was always on my head. I never really thought about why it was so important. Why couldn’t I be cool like everyone else without helmets? I always imagined how beautiful I would look riding bareback through a field of tall grass, hair blowing behind me in the wind. The thought of it just takes your breath away. However in reality, not wearing a helmet can take a person’s beauty away from them. The complete opposite of what we think. Stories always appear about how a rider was not wearing a helmet and one swift move from the horse took away their life, or at least their right of mind. It does not matter how bombproof your horse is. Anything can happen. Everything is scared of something.
I was on a trail ride at Fair Hill International with my sister, friend, and riding instructor and I had only owned my first horse, Metro (the rest had been ponies), for a few months. So I was still getting used to him and his strength. We were in the back of the group and were walking on a narrow trail, so we stayed single file. Up ahead was a small wooden bridge crossing over a ravine, about four feet above it. Our whole group crossed safely, but Metro was being a little fussy right after. Told by my instructor I did not fight against him, but only gave slight kicks behind the girth to keep him moving forward. Ignoring my leg he began to back up and slightly reared which was normal for him. However we were too close to the bridge and he fell backwards into the ravine. My head hit the side of the bridge first quite hard, but I knew I had to quickly get out because I was stuck between a 1,200 pound animal and a solid structure. When I went to stand up and move away, I couldn’t. My foot was stuck in the stirrup. Crying and without help, since no one could get in the way of Metro’s scrambling legs, I got my foot out as soon as I could, knowing that if he got out I could have been drug. I moved up and once halfway on the bridge Metro stepped up, and slightly stepped on my legs, luckily not hard enough to break them. We were both covered in mud, water, and scratches but thankfully we were safe and sound. However I always go back and think if I had no helmet I could have been knocked out, not able to get out of Metro’s way. Since then, though, we figured out Metro just is not a group animal, and prefers to be alone on trails.
If it had not been for my helmet I don’t know what would have happened to me; possibly death, coma, or brain damage. Anything can happen at any given moment. All the things I love in life could have been taken away so easily if I made one careless mistake like many riders make. I truly wish and hope that other people learn the dangers of not wearing a helmet because no one deserves to die in such a tragic way- Everyone deserves to see another tomorrow.