Each Friday, Horse Nation teams up with Ovation Riding to spotlight an individual or organization doing good work in the horse world. Today, on the eve of International Helmet Awareness Day, we recognize Riders4Helmets.
In March of 2010, Olympian dressage rider Courtney King-Dye was riding a horse who simply tripped and fell, and the resulting fall of both horse and rider put King-Dye in a coma for the next month. She has undergone years of rehabilitation, learning all over again how to walk, talk and eat — let alone re-learning how to ride. Courtney King-Dye was not wearing a helmet at the time of her fall.
This high-profile accident hit close to home for many equestrians, including Lyndsey White, who is a personal friend of Courtney King-Dye. White teamed up with Chad Mendell to create Riders4Helmets, an educational campaign to help encourage more riders to choose a helmet when they saddle up.
Many sports place the participant at a higher risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs, but horseback riding ranks among the most dangerous. It’s not hard to see why — a falling rider may be coming from heights of anywhere from 4 to 13 feet. Factor in things like rocky terrain, jumps or arena walls and the horse itself and it’s no wonder that about 15% of all horseback riding-related injuries in emergency rooms are to the head. 5% of all emergency room visits for equestrians are concussions, which is more than double the incidence for other sports. Wearing a correctly-fitting helmet can greatly reduce the likelihood of suffering a TBI: the helmet absorbs the impact between the head and the ground or an object.
Riders4Helmets seeks to educate to the riding public about riding-related head injuries and why choosing to wear a helmet can be a life-changing or even life-saving decision. Supporting this mission, Riders4Helmets.com has a full library of educational articles related to TBIs, concussions, proper helmet fit, changing rules and bylaws from major equestrian organizations and interviews with industry professionals. Riders4Helmets also hosted four Safety Symposia to bring industry leaders and speakers together to discuss helmets in the equestrian disciplines.
One of Riders4Helmets’ biggest events is International Helmet Awareness Day, a worldwide celebration to help recognize the importance of wearing a helmet. On this day — for 2016, that’s September 17 — interested riders can find a retailer near them who will help them properly fit a helmet and offer discounts and sales on new helmets. For a list of participating retailers, view the list and map.
If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.