Helmets Are This Year’s Black

Gentle Readers,

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.

‘But Bonnie, Starlight would never do that to me. Whenever I get on her, she takes care of me. I feed her carrots and cookies every day and she looooovvves me.’

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.

4 responses to “Helmets Are This Year’s Black

  1. Thank you, I hate helmets too… so there must be a reason that I always ware a helmet, other than my Doctor told me I can not hit my head again.

  2. Go helmets! I have fallen off (among many other times) over a jump, at a walk, & at a standstill. All three times when the horse went down. There is no saving throw for that.

  3. Bonnie, I think the cat is wearing a hollowed-out pomelo. Entirely different, yet still citrusy, fashion statement! That said, I have to agree with you. I’m 52, and grew up wearing a helmet when jumping, but on the flat? On the trail? SCOFF!!! Now, however, I am older and, if not much wiser, aware of my own mortality. I always fasten those 14 clips before mounting my horse. However — despite the three sutures in my head from last weekend’s perfect storm of her lower jaw, halter clip, and my skull — I am NOT going to start wearing a helmet the moment I get out of my car at the barn. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. But I’m just not quite there yet.Thanks for a great blog post!

  4. Helmets are meant to protect your brain. Only you know what that is worth. If it’s not precious to you, lose the helmet. Just the fact that you’re not wearing it will tell everyone who sees you that your brain does not work well. Don’t care if I look like Darth Vader. It beats the hell out not being able to wash or feed yourself. Yeah for helmets!

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