First of all I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the brief survey I created to collect data on The Great Helmet Debate. We had a tremendous amount of responses (over 200 people) and I couldn’t be happier! You all spoke your mind & I love it! Thanks again!
The survey consisted of 10 easy questions, all multiple choice or Yes/No. On the 10th “question”, I gave participants an opportunity to speak their minds on the topic. Below will be the list of questions with the answers except for #10 which I will dabble in and paraphrase so participants can stay anonymous.
Now you are probably wondering what the results were, what others said and how we will be putting the data together. This was an anonymous survey so no personal information will be given when it comes to the opinion section of #10 of the survey but I will be summarizing the results you can get a good idea of others’ opinions on the matter.
Q1. Which equine discipline do you participate in?
A1: Western – 33.96%, English 51.57%, Other (please specify) 14.47%. Other was specified as Western Dressage, Competitive Distance Riding, All seats, both Western & English, Australian, Endurance (all genres), Trail, Competitive Trail, Driving, Mounted Police, Wrangler.
Q2: What is your gender?
A2: Female – 99.38% Male – 0.63%
Q3: Do you currently wear a helmet whilst participating in your equine related sport?
A3: Yes – 72.50% No – 19.38% Sometimes – 8.13%
Q4: Do you feel people under the age of 18 should be required to wear a helmet during competitions?
A4: Yes – 91.14% No – 8.86%
Q5: Does the cost of a helmet affect your choice of wearing one or not?
A5: Yes – 4.40% No – 92.45% Not Applicable – 3.14%
Q6: If helmets were more fashionable, would you wear one?
A6: Yes – 70.75% No – 29.25%
Q7: In what country do you live?
A7: Answers consisted of Australia, Ireland, Panama, United Kingdom & the USA.
Q8: How would you assess your riding proficiency level?
A8: Beginner/Novice – 5.03%, Intermediate – 33.33%, Advanced – 54.09%, Expert – 7.55%
Q9: Have you ever been in an equine related fall or accident?
A9: Yes – 93.75 No – 6.25%
For question 10, participants shared with me their opinions on The Great Helmet Debate and I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the responses.
To summarize or paraphrase their responses, we got answers that were strong when it came to which side of the fence they stood on the matter. All the opinions were wonderful and covered the entire topic in many different ways. I saw a lot of responses stating how a helmet saved their lives or how they wish they would have worn one at the time of their accident and mentioned TBI a lot.
TBI stands for Traumatic Brain Inquiry and is common when a horse falls on top of a rider’s head. Bones that are broken in equine related falls or accidents such as arms, legs, ribs for example, can be fixed back to 100% normal for the most part but individuals can have issues years down the line with arthritis, prone to infections or clots depending on the success of the healing process. Brains are different, they cannot be mended like bones can be, so it is understandable when people freak out seeing a 1200lb animal put immense pressure on a human skull. According to the University of California, Department of Neurological Surgery, Equestrian related TBI cases make up 45% of the nations sports related TBI admissions in the US annually.
Please note there is more than one type of TBI. Mild TBI is usually a concussion which is temporary, doesn’t necessarily require a blow to the head and doesn’t always involve loss of consciousness. Severe TBI can be skull fractures, intracranial hematoma, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries or anoxic brain injuries. If you wear a helmet or are debating on wearing one, these are the injuries that your helmet is designed and made to prevent.
Others stated that it is purely choice, they know the risks when they place themselves in the saddle or bareback. The majority despite their opinions of the individual themselves wearing helmets, mostly mentioned in some form or other that it should be mandatory for children to wear them. Despite the large percentage of our participants being in an equine related fall or accident, a large majority of the answers were completely split down the middle when it came to individuals wearing a helmet or opting not to.
Much to the surprise of some, there are actually laws concerning wearing a helmet whilst engaging in an equine related sport or activity just like there is when it comes to wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle. Here is a list of the US states & their laws here: Laws Involving Equestrian Safety Helmets so feel free to read through these as it pertains to your state depending on where you stand on The Great Helmet Debate. The law in the UK is a little different and can be found here: Highway Code | British Horse Society and here RoSPA – Horse Riders Factsheet – Dorset Police
For our Australian friends, the regulations changed somewhat recently and can be found here: Helmet Regulations Updated | Equestrian Australia or here: IMPORTANT INFO – New Helmet Safety Standards in Australia or here: Horse Safety Australia » Regulations
If fashion is a deciding factor for you here are a few places that you can get cute helmets and even customize your own helmets.
- From world-renowned barrel racer Fallon Taylor: HELMETS – Fallon Taylor – Fallon was in a horrible accident and doctors told her she couldn’t walk or ride. After years of recovery she came back in full swing and is now protecting her noggin. We all know how fashion forward Fallon is (say that 5 times fast) so there are lots of cute choices if you are in the market for a helmet.
2. From a Florida local LJT Custom Rodeo Hats offers something for everyone. Custom, hand painted rodeo hats, ballcaps, helmets & more! So whether you want a helmet or something new for an up coming rodeo, LJT can help you design whatever you like.
3. From a well-known company Troxel Helmets: Equestrian Riding Helmets – they are leaders in the world when it comes to helmets. They sponsor and partner with many top equine athletes such as Fallon Taylor (World Champion Barrel Racer), Tammy Sronce (World Champion Mounted Shooting), Chrissa Hoffman (International Grand Prix) and many more.
I have also seen some awesome helmets and products from SmartPak – Equestrian Helmets – Gifts from SmartPak Equine – I trust their brand and they have products for all your equine and K-9 friends. Plus, their instagram stories are on point.
If you are on the fence and wear cowboy/cowgirl hats or rodeo hats, there are companies that now make covers for helmets that look like rodeo hats. They like to nickname it the HelHat. Here are a few: Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet or Jackson™ Western Outlaw™ Hard Hat or Equestrian Helmet Cover/Hat Buckaroo Wide Brim Collection – so there are many options to suit everyone.
We here at International Cowgirl Blog will never tell you if you have to wear one or not, but we DO care about our readers and hope you enjoy your equine activities of any and all kinds in a fun & safe manner. We will never discriminate or judge you on whether you wear a helmet or not. If you are having a hard time finding the helmet laws or regulations in your area or country, comment below or shoot us email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you do some research so you can make a sound, confident decision & stay up to date.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Be safe & God Bless!