Let us begin this blog entry with one resounding, crystal clear fact: I hate helmets. Hate, hate, hatey hate HATE them. It is a scientifically proven fact that only one in ninety-three people look decent with a padded foam shell strapped to their head, and as far as looking good – bad ass even – well… let’s just say the odds are against you.
Despite this, I am determined to wear my helmet in all but extraordinary circumstances. ‘Why, Bonnie?’ You might ask, perched on the edges of your seats. ‘If they make you look and feel like a cat with a hollowed out lime strapped to your head, why put yourself through that? Why not let your locks blow through the breeze, causing people to stop in their tracks as they pass the arena, their hands clasped in awe as they watch you ride. Surely they will believe you to be a better, more competent rider if you go sans helmet.’
And it is true- one does look vastly more intelligent, cooler, more dignified without one. It is one of those tragic ironies that many people ride horses because of the dignity and elegance it affords them, only to be struck down as they walk into the barn and their riding instructor hands them an ancient troxel the size of a vw bug. A single tear slides down their face as they attach the fourteen different clasps into place and drag their now enormous foam head to their horse. I do not blame anyone for letting vanity get the better of them and omitting this most necessary piece of riding gear. I do not blame them because frequently I am one of them. But one can get very, very hurt without my blame.
That being said, anybody who rides horses without a helmet under the pretense of ‘being good enough’ to ride what their horse is prepared to dole out is worthy of a scoff. SCOFF! I SCOFF AT THEE!
Here is the cardinal rule of horseback riding, one which needs to be burned into the retinas of every single person who owns or rides a horse: If your horse wants you off, you will come off. Period. End of story. I do not care if you have been riding ever since I was a gleam in my father’s eye. I do not care if you have neck cramps due to all of those Olympic metals hanging around it. You might have a concrete seat and seven foot legs but still, IF YOUR HORSE WANTS YOU OFF, OFF YOU SHALL GO, as Anky van Grunsven shall now demonstrate.
Starlight might love you indeed. Starlight might love you very, very much but chances are Starlight loves her life more and if she senses it is being threatened by, say, that bush over there, Starlight is going to head for the hills with or without you. Probably without you.