Category Archives: Tack thoughts

“Freak Riding Accident? Hardly.” By Anna Blake. WE ALL NEED TO READ THIS.






First off:  I wanted to tell you that I have 2 LG Bitless Bridles here available! Germany sent two extras!  To read about the LG, click here.  It was invented by an elite German dressage rider.  If you want one, grab it below!  $125.  You use your own headstall.  The bridles are highly adjustable, from Icy to Draft.

To purchase a Brown, smooth chin strap LG Bridle:  $125, SOLD!

To purchase a Black, smooth chin strap LG Bridle:  $125, click here!

If you want to order an LG bridle with a different chin strap or different color, click here.  You and your horse will love it!   All 5 of my riding horses use the LG.

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“Freak Riding Accident? Hardly.”  By Anna Blake.  WE ALL NEED TO READ THIS.

I read this story today and felt it was done beautifully.  Yes, another argument for wearing helmets… written without emotion or bias.  Just the facts.  And the facts are compelling.

(Also, you might want to read my blog about my horrible accident I had while wearing a helmet.  I would have broken my skull on a tree branch if it weren’t for the helmet)

Please read Anna’s article all the way through.

Click here to go to the article directly.

Click to go to original article.

Click to go to original article.

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Click to go to original article.

The horse world has lost some good riders in the last few weeks. Sadly, it happens all too often. Horses can be unpredictable and people get hurt. Some of it is unavoidable and some of it is totally preventable.
Two of the most recent stories were especially hard: One was a 27-year-old professional barrel racer with wedding plans and the other was a professional trainer who was respected as the most experienced rider in her mounted posse. These two women had much in common: they were both professionals, both very experienced riders, and both died from extensive head injuries as the result of a fall on pavement. And now they are both profoundly mourned by their friends and families, and yes, their horses, too, I suspect.
I always feel it’s in poor taste to mention helmets at a time like this. It feels mean-spirited, no matter how well stated. And it’s too damn late for these committed horse women. The problem is that someone has always just died, so to be polite, helmets would never be mentioned.
These riders had another thing in common. News reports used the term freak accident in the headline. Do these reporters live in a shoe-box? There’s nothing freak about a riding accident. Emergency rooms treat about 15,000 equine-related head injuries a year. And that doesn’t count other broken bones. Sometimes when I get particularly irked by a phrase, I’ll look it up to see if I’m just being a stickler. The Urban Dictionary defines freak accident as one that’s extremely unlikely and unusual. Their most popular example is:
“Fabio was involved in a freak accident. He got hit in the face by a duck while riding a roller coaster.”
Great example; I couldn’t find statistics for duck-related head injuries at all. Why am I so cranky about word choice? Because it’s literally a matter of life and death–not to mention the numbers of brain injury survivors who suffer personality changes, intellectual and memory impairment, or epilepsy.
I have a yearly tradition of writing about the importance of wearing helmets every ride. Sometimes I feel like I’m preaching to the choir; my readers tell me they are committed to helmets. At the same time, I wonder why I never see a western trainer in a helmet. The one western trainer that I did know has now stopped wearing her helmet. Do you know one? Am I just living in a backward locale for western helmet wearers?
I have a western dressage client who gets routinely “teased” for wearing a helmet. Do these same people tease football players? Statistics say riders are in a greater danger than football players; our teammates literally weigh a ton and the biggest difference; we have farther to fall. Statistics say the altitude makes a huge difference in severity of injury. But if statistical proof mattered to riders, they’d wear helmets and there would be no debate. The increased danger of riding horses without a helmet is as undeniable as gravity. But in many western riding disciplines, a helmet is seen as a sign of weakness. Have we fallen victim to freak lunacy?

The most common excuse I hear has to do with a rider saying that wearing a helmet is a message to their horse that the rider lacks confidence.  When has a horse had to check anything so superficial as wardrobe to feel a rider’s fear? Don’t insult horses; they aren’t fooled by your hat. As if wardrobe hides fear, rendering a rider unbreakable.
There’s no denying that the hat pays homage to our western tradition. As if history could make a rider unbreakable.
But then even history loses its charm and changes with fashion or a fad. As if wearing a hat like Buck Brannaman makes a rider unbreakable.
I was recently referred to a video where a western trainer explains that he’s uncomfortable in a helmet, although he encourages others. As if being comfortable makes him unbreakable.

He adds quickly that wearing a helmet was necessary for some [English] riders because they don’t do groundwork or have their horses attention. As if demeaning other riding disciplines makes a rider unbreakable.

Or that it’s all about the saddle; that somehow English saddles aren’t as safe because they don’t have a solid “handle” in front (that frequently injures everything but your head.) As if a saddle horn makes a rider unbreakable.

Perhaps the saddest for me, when trainers ride bareback, with no bridle and no helmet, advertising a mystic connection that is particularly dreamy to horse crazy girls. As if hero-worship makes a rider unbreakable.

When this loss and destruction from Trumatic Brain Injury finally turns a corner in our equine world, I think it will be with the help of professionals. Helmets are crashing rodeo tradition these days. Imagine the difference that it would make–the lives it would impact and even save–if just one well-known western trainer would break rank and wear a helmet every time. As if actions speak louder than words.

Imagine that the legacy Courtney King-Dye gave dressage riders gets repeated in all riding disciplines. That in memory of a professional rider who didn’t get to her wedding, that white helmets become the habit for other barrel racers. That for a posse mourning its star rider, helmets become a constant part of their proud uniform, in parades and everyday, and that we all respect that uniform even a bit more than before.

We talk a lot about positive leadership in horse training, but it should go past our horses. Whether we like it or not, trainers are role models. It would be a blessing to see the influence of positive safety leadership start with professionals. In some places, it would even qualify as freak common sense.

As for the power of tradition, pick one that goes beyond fashion, stands the test of time, and transcends actual legend status. Pick the romantic tradition of riding off into the sunset. And living to see your children do the same.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

Stats and sources:

  • Equestrians are 20x more likely to sustain an injury than a motorcycle rider, per hour. Source
  • 60 number of deaths/year due to head injury (compared with 8 for Football)Source
  • 1 in 5 equestrian injuries are head injuries. Source
  • 60% of riding fatalities occur from head injuries. Source
  • 15,000 number of ER admissions for equine-related head injuries in 2009. Source
  • 2 feet number of feet at which head injury can occur Source

 PLEASE FIGURE OUT YOUR BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOUR GOOD BRAIN.  Don’t forget hellhats.

newrule2final-helpthehorses1

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Another GREAT IDEA! A “HELLHAT” combining a COWBOY HAT with a HELMET – and it looks good! The best part: you can make one yourself!!






I saw in THE TRAIL RIDER magazine, brims for helmets.  I thought it was a great idea!

(PLEASE, if you don’t wear a helmet, consider wearing a helmet.  I know that my helmet saved my life.  You can read my story here.)

And then I saw this post about a Western rider who had a bad accident (fractured skull) so her husband manufactured a brim to go on a helmet for her to wear from then on!

Well, the idea has caught on!  They call their invention the HELLHAT and you can make your own!

This is the woman who started it all… well, her husband started it after her injury… This is Karen!

Fancy!

Make it any way you wish!

You can match the band to your outfit!

You can match the band to your outfit!

HELL-HAT POSSE – HER HUBBY’S INSTRUCTIONS

A reader sent in this link to the woman and her husband who came up with this idea.  The page is called, “HELL HAT POSSE“.  Since it is a FB page, I will put the instructions here, for those of you who don’t use Fb.

Link to the FB page with directions

Step 1 Cut off the Brim

Step 1 Cut off the Brim

Step 2, Place your helmet on the brim and draw a line around your helmet

Step 2, Place your helmet on the brim and draw a line around your helmet

Step 3 you now have a brim with a line on it

Step 3 you now have a brim with a line on it

Step 4 Define your line so it's kind of even

Step 4 Define your line so it’s kind of even

Step 5, cut pies to your line about every inch or so

Step 5, cut pies to your line about every inch or so

Step 6, spray the brim with water to soften up the pies, then press it down evenly over the crown of the helmet. Position so it sits the way you want it when the helmet is on your head

Step 6, spray the brim with water to soften up the pies, then press it down evenly over the crown of the helmet. Position so it sits the way you want it when the helmet is on your head

Step 7, Secure it with a base layer of duct tape. I always leave the base layer on, then I add different colors depending on what I'm wearing. But I never remove the base layer

Step 7, Secure it with a base layer of duct tape. I always leave the base layer on, then I add different colors depending on what I’m wearing. But I never remove the base layer

TIPS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE THEM…

I was going to whip one  up today… but I didn’t have time to go out and get cool Duct tape so I didn’t.  However, I did read through here and found some tips.  Also, when I dropped off  my excess tack to a saddle consignment shop in town, I saw some fabulous 2nd hand hats… could be a great idea to find wonderful hatbands and brims!

One tip I learned was to keep the original hat head piece and use it as a hat stand!

You can use the original hat head piece to act as a hat stand for your new helmet hat!

You can use the original hat head piece to act as a hat stand for your new helmet hat!

And, one reader took the time to write out her tips:

“My first helmet I used a Stetson straw hat, used clear Gorilla tape. worked fine but had to cut some of it, to be not so wide. Used rubber cement to fasten on the leather, feathers, stones and concho. So far it’s holding up well.
Second hat I used Duct Tape that I got a Walmart, has a rope design on it. I also tore off some of it to be not so wide. This works well too. I haven’t made a hat band for it as of yet. I want to make some that can be taken off easily and changed out. You can never have too many hat bands!  I bought a new straw hat, $33 I think from Texas Trading Post, it has a 7 inch brim, I wanted more sun shade for me. Used this hat band that came on it.  I didn’t want to paint my helmet, I love my Tipperary Sportage, good fit and very comfortable. It says on the inside of the helmet not to paint it, some have painted theirs. Size of hat for brim doesn’t matter.”

Here are her photos:

From this...

From this…

-3

To this!

MORE PICS OF HOMEMADE HELLHATS!

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Fancy!

Fancy!

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Brimless

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DECORATIVE DUCT TAPE, WHO KNEW?!

OH, I think this could be great fun!  For me, I’m going to start with my least favorite hat to make mistakes and learn.  Then I’ll go for it with a nicer hat.  I might even add some bling or danglies!!

You can get decorative tape at Michael's Craft Stores or Walmart.

You can get decorative tape at Michael’s Craft Stores or Walmart.

I like this one. A reader found it at Walmart.

I like this one. A reader found it at Walmart.

A GREAT IDEA, EVERYONE!  PLEASE WEAR A HELMET.

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APRIL BUCKET FUND BABIES UPDATE!

You can read their story here!  OK, so Thumbelina crashed but she is better after a hospital stay and plasma.  The rest are soaking up the Foal Lac and stabilizing.  They need lots of FOOD and medical attention because they were ripped from their moms after only a few hours on the planet.  If you’d like to donate, please click here!  STARBUCKS?  SEAT CHANGE?  Thank you!

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Thumbelina at the hospital.

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Thumbelina this morning! A new girl!

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A pile of SAFE babies! There are 8 all-together.


Riding Warehouse
Your purchase with Riding Warehouse through this link helps the Bucket Fund!


Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!