Hi, I am Bobbie Jones, I’m 14 years old. I have been riding for about ten years. I have witnessed many falls where wearing a helmet quite possibly saved a life and definitely prevented serious injury. I have become a strong believer in wearing a helmet every time I ride, no matter what. Unfortunately, I do have to admit that I have been mounted without wearing a helmet a few times “just for pictures”. I’m not proud of it and I was really lucky in the past. I now realize what can happen in that fraction of a second it takes to snap a picture!
On June 9th, International Helmet Awareness Day 2012, I had competed my American Paint Pony, Rebel’s HeartBreaker at the Kentucky District Four, 4-H competition. After Rebel and I were finished competing, we went to have our picture taken with our awards. I led him to the empty arena where we had ridden the dressage test earlier that day. My mom was holding Rebel for me as I was getting a leg up. Suddenly he spooked and jumped forward while I was in the air. When I came down I landed right behind the saddle, on his rump. Rebel squatted down and jumped to the right, I went to the left and then onto the ground. As my mom was trying to stop him he did a jig and he jumped back over towards me. I did my best to cover my face because I could see his hooves getting closer. Finally, he pulled away from my mom and stepped on my head with a front hoof, and kicked the visor of my helmet with a hind hoof and then ran off. As soon as I knew he was no longer on top of me I got up. I was a little dizzy at first, but was soon able to hop the fence to go catch him. Thankfully he stopped for a minute to say hi to some horses in a paddock. Luckily a friends mom was nearby and quickly grabbed his reins. No one could figure out why Rebel did what he did. Maybe something caught his eye, perhaps a bee stung him, or he just had one of those “moments” that horses have. I led him back up to the arena. He was not spooky at all and we successfully had our picture taken with our ribbons.
I am so glad that I was wearing my helmet, besides having had a bit of a headache, I can say I am fine. However, I cannot say the same for my helmet, I need a new one. Thanks to the Riders4Helmets Campaign I know that I need to replace my helmet. Even though it only has a few nicks in the visor and “looks” okay from the outside, it may have damage on the inside (that I cannot see) and it will not protect my head the way it is supposed to. Better the helmet than my head, I always say! I was not jumping, or galloping, or really doing anything but getting on, so when people say you have to be jumping or “going fast” to have a fall, it is not true at all. So please, “Ride Smart and Strap One On” every time you ride, or even when you pose for pictures! It can save your life!
- Bobbie Jones