Wearing helmets is not the way of the future.  It is for TODAY.

With 800* brain injuries from horse riding every year (*Flinders University) in a population the same as the state of Massachusettes, one wonders why ANY expo, show or venue allows non-helmet riders on their property.  And, certainly, why the insurance premiums I pay are the same for riders who have helmets and those shows that don’t.

It’s all very well to have “freedom and liberty”, however this is NOT ABOUT YOU.  It’s about US!  No helmets makes my insurance premiums go up, year after year…not to mention our medical insurance payments as well!.

Most of you know that I have not just lost one good friend because of not wearing a helmet, I have lost two.

What seems even somehow worse is many of the para-equestrians I teach have acquired brain injuries because of the same reason: not wearing a helmet.  Most of them have told me they didn’t wear a helmet because it was too hot, or it messed their hair.  Bottom line…vanity.  It’s too late to tell them “pride comes before a fall” .  I just see them sitting in the wheelchair unable to help themself and ask myself “was vanity worth it”?  What can I say then?

Certainly we all take a risk every time we are near a horse.  However, if you break a leg, it’s awful and painful, but it doesn’t change who you are.  It doesn’t affect your brain, and change your personality, change your likes and dislikes, and change you into a completely different person.  What if your husband or wife or friends don’t like that new person?  Then what?

Every time I look at a rider without a helmet, no matter who it is, I just feel sick.  And I feel worse that sometimes at big demos working with famous people I have to “look the other way”, knowing full well that it was AT AN EXPO that my friend was killed (hit his head on the side of the arena wall).  And, what can I say?  I know they’re not “evolved enough” to understand the impact their head injury will make on their family, otherwise they would be wearing a helmet for their husband, or for their wife or children.

They don’t understand yet that you wear a helmet for your family, not for you.  You have to figure out…who is your next of kin, and will they REALLY be ready to wipe your butt, change your catheter and roll you over in bed, carry you to the toilet and dress and wash you…when they know that it was just vanity that made you not wear a helmet.  The same decision as not putting on a seatbelt in your car.

And, sadly, most of you know I lost the boy that I loved for not wearing a seat belt.

I wear a helmet for my husband, for my children, and for my two gorgeous grandchildren.  And I put my seat belt on for the same reason.

However, this is not any more an emotional decision.  I now cannot get any insurance to cover me teaching riders without helmets.

Have a look at Tails & Helmets“.  There’s only one reason stars like this wear helmets….they’ve had loses as well!  …if stars like this wear helmets (and look so hot!) then you can too!

When I first met Superstar Rider Julio Mendoza  I asked if he would wear a helmet for my clinic in memory of two  friends I have lost not wearing helmets (and knowing my insurance won’t cover me teaching without helmets).  He was so gracious!  Doesn’t he make a helmet look handsome!  Now…selected to represent internationally at the Pan Am Games he is one of the fast growing  “helmet & tails” group!  What role a model – wearing a helmet, for his wife and beautiful child.

But it does leave the question…after Courney King Dye’s accident making this all such a “hot topic”…why are events without helmets the same insurance cost as events with helmets?   Go ask Great American Insurance Group – then email them:  contactus@gaic.com and ask them, because I sure as heck can’t answer that question!  Only with pressure on insurance companies, and great role models like these will things change.

Julio Mendoz - Dressage Rider - Tails and Helmet - Pan Am Games USA Team Member

Julio Mendoz - Dressage Superstar - Tails and Helmet - Pan Am Games USA Team Member

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