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Have You Caught People Exposing Children To This Dangerous Piece of  "Safety" Equipment?
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Have You Caught People Exposing Children To This Dangerous Piece of "Safety" Equipment?

I may be a young adult but in my 9 years of horse ownership and riding I've seen this potentially deadly mistake done by well-meaning parents more times than I can count. Even worse, I've seen this error committed at 4H events, horse rental rides at public stables and even by riding instructors. This dangerous mistake I'm talking about involves a common piece of riding safety equipment: helmets. Can you guess what specific type of helmet I'm talking about yet?

Bicycle helmets!

I'm a huge candidate for wearing helmets while riding. I don't care if you're 5 years old riding on a sweet old 25 yr old pony or a nimble 30 yr old cowboy who rode before he could walk. You might feel silly wearing a helmet but when you're laid up in the hospital with a broken leg but an intact head, you won't regret it. At least consider wearing a helmet when working with green horses or in uncontrollable surroundings by yourself, say a solo trail ride. Now back to the real subject!

Bicycle Helmets ARE NOT Acceptable for Equestrian Activities

Regardless of what Joe down the street told you or what you read somewhere on the internet, bicycle helmets are not acceptable for riding. Period. Some people try and argue that bicycle helmets and equestrian helmets offer the same protection. This couldn't be further from the truth. Lets look at this logically.

Bicycle Accident vs Horse Accident

  • On a bicycle you're maybe 2 or 3 feet off the ground
  • The average bicycle accident occurs at a speed of 10 mph or less
  • If you bump your head, it'll likely be on flat ground or a curb slope
  • Head injuries usually occur on the top of the head
  • On a horse you can be upwards of 6ft+ above the ground
  • Horses can reach speeds of 35+ mph
  • Falling off a horse usually happens at fast speeds and over obstacles
  • If you bump your head it could be a swift horse hoof, a sharp jump cup or a tree branch

Did I mentioned that an adult skull can shatter are only 2ft above the ground at a speed of 4 to 6 mph? A horse accident is more likely to be deadly than a bicycle accident. Bicycle accidents just do not compare to a flying lesson from an equine's back and neither do the helmets. The only helmet that will help protect you or your loved one from a potentially deadly head injury is an ASTM/SEI certified equestrian helmet.

Invest in an ASTM/SEI Helmet

Horse-related accidents can happen anytime, any place, with the calmest horse. The one thing horses are most predictable at is being unpredictable. I've seen and ridden on well-adjusted backwoods savvy horses spook at the silliest thing that you wouldn't expect. Children's reflexes are less well developed and they are more likely to fall. I personally can't understand how parents or any adult can allow a child to ride with a bicycle helmet just to save a few bucks. The price of a good-quality equestrian helmet is nothing compared to a person's life. You can find lightly used helmets through tack swaps, friends, classifieds and online. Just be sure they are well-cared for and have never been dropped. I do recommend buying a helmet new just in case.

Have you ever unknowingly used or were recommended to use a bicycle helmet? Have you, like me, seen a scary number of adults allowing kids to use them? Feel free to comment down below, share this warning on your social media accounts and vote up!

(Photo Credit: Carlos Ciudad Trilla via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Leave a Comment

  1. Andreana
    Andreana
    Hi, voted you up and thanks for voting on my article. Some really interesting articles I will check them out in more detail.
    Log in to reply.
  2. gayle
    After reading this blog i felt i had to leave a comment. I had a nasty accident where i broke my back in 2 places and small fracture in my neck. Luckiky i have still got full mobility. If i didnt have my brand new hat on i would have been dead instantly on impact. Hats are there to protect you ive seen too many people jumping on the back of there horses without one on or not securly fixed. The horse i jad this incident with was very safe and reliable. It doesnt matter how long you have had your horse or how long you have been riding for. Its a matter of common sense and protecting your head for any fatal damage. Another thing i feel strongly about is having a riding hat for long periods of time. I was lucky my hat was brand new but was informed had it not been then outcome would have been totally difference. Sorry if i have offended anyone with this comment but i honestly feel very strongly about it. (sorry about my grammer not my strongest point) x
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  3. Twoblonds79
    I couldn't agree more!! Not only are bike helmets for bikes but I think it's also important to touch on the fact that when wearing a riding helmet u can't wear any old riding hat but one that properly fits the head. If it doesn't fit properly then it can't do the job it was intended for. When I worked in a tack shop and even now I tell new riders or the parents of new riders if there is one thing you spend a lot of money on make it a properly fitting helmet you only have one head. Don't waste money on cutesy riding outfits or matching saddle pads and wraps, buy the helmet that fits the head best regardless of price.
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