Your Turn: The helmet divide

Bernadette Kilcer wants to know: What is it that makes western riding safe enough to do without a helmet, while helmet-wearing has becoming increasingly mandatory for English riding? (Hint: It’s a trick question.)

From Bernadette:

I want you to look at these pictures. What makes one rider more safe than the other? Is it the horse? Is it the saddle? Is it the style of riding? I’m going to venture out on a limb here and say it was the helmet.



I recently had the pleasure of attending a local schooling show that was both Western and English. It was positively fascinating to see the differences in the handling of the horses and the tack as they went side by side in the same warm-up ring. Yet, what made me shudder was the complete lack of helmets worn by the western riders.

It is not unheard of for western riders to wear helmets. There are plenty of news articles out there about more and more riders being western champions while wearing helmets. If you run a search on the interweb of “western safety helmet” there are hundreds of stores that sell them–even one that looks like a cowboy hat!  You cannot tell me that there isn’t something out there that would fit the bill.

My question is with all of the emphasis on safety while riding why is it that more shows aren’t requiring the wear and use of helmets by all of their participants? If it was a mandatory rule then everyone would have to comply. Heck, if USEF can force the dressage community to comply then surely some governing body can do the same for the western world.

It is about safety.  You only get one brain people–why not protect it?

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