Another Helmet Post?

Let me tell you a quick story before we jump in.

When I was 12 years old, I had the displeasure of 2 AVMs in my brain rupture. These arteriovenous malformations quickly dispersed blood on my brain and gave my body a terrible opportunity  to become susceptible to death. Four brain surgeries later, I have no neurological damage and I have lived to tell the tale! Now, what does this have to do with helmets or horses or freak accidents? Because not only did I have 2 AVMs in my brain, but they were in my cerebellum. This is literally a 1 in a million thing. I don’t even acknowledge my situation as a freak accident.

My neurosurgeon, Dr. Sun

Now, my neurosurgeon still hates that I ride horses. I really don’t blame him. After all, he spent almost 30 hours operating on my head and he knows the risks of riding a giant animal. A couple years after these traumatic surgeries, I sustained a mild concussion because my horse tripped at the stretching trot and we both fell. If I didn’t have my Charles Own GR8 on at that moment, I would have had serious brain damage and possible death. My helmet was actually slammed in half at the incident. I mean, really? Such a stupid reason to get a concussion, right? It’s almost like it was a freak accident…

Here’s the thing — none of these experiences have been freak accidents. In the article, “Freak Accident? Hardly,” Anny Blake hit the nail head on. Horses are giant prey animals that humans can never fully control. By climbing upon horses’ backs, riders have signed away their full control. Trainers and amateurs alike can master the equestrian world, but there is absolutely no way to predict a horse’s actions 100%, even with extensive ground training or riding. Therefore, everything that you do with a horse is a freak accident. With this notion, shouldn’t you owe it to yourself to avoid brain trauma and wear a helmet?


Right after my concussion, I still had the confidence to go cross country! With my helmet of course 🙂
I have heard so many excuses about not wearing a helmet, particularly in the Western world (not to blame, it’s more of a correlation type thing). Most of the excuses I hear are issues about helmet hair, the helmet being too hot or bulky, helmets not being cool, knowing your horse well enough….honestly the list goes on. And I honestly don’t care what your excuse is. If someone doesn’t want to wear a helmet because of some reason definitely not as valuable as your life, I am convinced that there is no way to stop you.

To me, horses can be very dangerous just as much as they can be the best things on the planet. I love working with horses and I feel very confident to be around them. This whole industry has taught me plenty of things and I can never fully thank it enough. I just hope, to whomever is reading this, that you listen to my story and understand why it’s necessary to think about wearing helmets. Helmet hair is sexier than brain damage. You can know your horse for 25 years and they can still take off with you and slip on pavement. You could be jumping a jump and land wrong and fall off and hit your head. There are so many areas of uncertainty when riding that it seems more likely for you to get hurt while riding! With that said, please please please think of wearing a helmet the next time you get on a horse. It might save your life.


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