If you look back to a post on helmets I did a little over a year ago you will see I almost always wear a helmet and feel like all riders should. I also wrote a post about my stories of falling off, which people always seem to find humorous.
Yesterday was no exception. I fell off and I fell hard.
My friend Korinne and I were riding around. I was on Indigo and she was on Sheba. We were cantering and galloping up and down the fresh cut windrows of hay when we decided we were going to go down the road to the neighbors lane and then way back around to the farm. We did just that. Both horses were on their best behaviors.
We crossed a ditch, rode through some tall weeds, a few fields and made it back to the lane of the farm.
All three turbines are up and two of them were turning last night. The horses paid no mind as we rode underneath them. They hardly make any noise and if theres something else making noise it's very hard to hear them even right near the base.
By the time we went past the last turbine (which is actually the first being closest to the farm) it was about 5 pm. The shadows were not quite long yet so right in the gravel lane where we rode the black outline of the spinning blades crossed our path.
Indigo confidently walked right into the shadows before they started hitting her. Every time a black shadow would touch her she would flinch like someone was whacking her with a whip on the head. I took my feet out of the stirrups to dismount before she panicked but it was too late. I had one leg half over her in a dismount and she was gone right out from underneath me. I landed tailbone first, followed by my back and head on the 2 inch stone laneway, a part that no trucks drove so it wasn't even compacted. I heard a distinct POP as the air pocket inside my helmet ruptured upon impact, the part that is designed to rupture when impacted to save your noggin. I went back today and seen there is definitely a very distinct butt mark where my rear collided with the stone and slid it making a pretty accurate impression of my behind before my back and head hit.
Before I could even lie there for a moment and address that I had fallen off I was up on my feet cussing and looking to make sure Korinne was ok. Sheba had run in the other direction away from the horse eating shadows and was wide eyed and snorty; as excited as that horse has ever been to my knowledge. Indigo had taken off halfway into the corn field and stopped to stuff her face (you big, big pig!)
So I walked into the field to get my snacking horse and walked back to the turbine shadows that eat horses. She was really scared but followed me anyway. This horse trusts me a lot. Again, every time the shadow would hit her she would jump on the spot, Eventually after a minute she stopped jumping and relaxed, licking her lips because she realized the danger was over and the shadows did not actually eat horses. We walked home, I was moaning and groaning the whole way.
Once I got back my shoulders were itchy. I moved my hair only to discover there was a big hole in the back of my shirt. My favorite doggoned shirt!!
What was worse was underneath the shirt. My back literally looks like a cat went feral on it. The large 2 inch stones that made the laneway up tore my back up one side and down the other. I really did think my tailbone was broken too. Until about 10 pm when I finally broke down and took something. Just above my butt hurt soooo bad. I couldn't sit, lying down felt better but not for long. Lets just say thank goodness for Arnica gel being in the house and boyfriends that bring you polysporin when you have none; even if it stings and I dance around when it gets put on my back cuts.
To educate my 4-H kids and just mostly because I like to cut things in half with a hacksaw I took my busted up helmet outside and did just that with it. It's neat to see the air pockets that protect your head. Take note of the white foam at the top right hand side there still in tact on the non-injured side of the helmet.
Heres the physical outer damage to my helmet before I sawed it in half. I went boy, did I miss cracking my melon up. Theres a notable dent along with the velvet being ripped.
The half I threw away was the damaged half. The white foam on the top right hand side was compressed to less than half. When I went to pry around a bit the white foam which was apparently not only acting as a buffer for my skull but helping glue the two halves together totally crumbled and the outer shell and inside protective styrofoam came apart. Apparently because of the impact. I know I would have been in the hospital if I did not have my helmet on.
I have to say the only helmets I have ever bought, in the exception of one was international riding helmets. This is the style I had, the ATH DFS. It fit me the best out of most helmets I tried on and was under $150. I hated all the other dial helmets I tried on and still prefer one without a dial because I seem to constantly be turning it and can never get the perfect fit.
Troxel helmets just do not seem to fit my head and seem too wide in the sides and too narrow front to back which equals a major headache with long rides. In fact I still have my first helmet which was an international olympian velvet hunt cap, certified of course back then, but not now for most horse sports. I still love the look of old hunt caps though with the upside down ribbon on the back. The one exception was some off brand bicycle style helmet rather than my preferred velvet. The plastic bicycle shell popped right off when I accidentally dropped it down the stairs, even though it was ASTM and BSI certified. I learned my lesson about cheap off brand helmets.
I do have to say compared to other times I have bonked my mellon I did not have the classical headache and I hit my head far harder this time than I have with my old hunt style caps. This helmet truely does offer a better design.
International has a warranty that they will replace your helmet for a small fee if you have the original receipt. Unfortunately I do not have the original for this helmet because it was a chrismas gift. The date of manufacture was september 20th 2008. On the certification tag it stated the ASTM and SEI certified tag, which all helmets used for riding should have (make sure yours has it!). I wish I would have been given a receipt but since I had tried on this helmet and liked it the people who gifted it to me knew I likely was not going to return it.
I went to the tack shop today and showed the owner of the store my back and my helmet which she was shocked I was walking around today and going to bale hay this evening. I feel a lot better today, a lot better than I anticipated last night. It's still hard to bend down and I keep accidentally beeping my horn getting out of the vehicle as I try and heave myself out without straining my butthurt.
So here goes to wearing a helmet, every time, every ride/drive. I was on a pretty reliable horse and I fell off when I was dismounting. Not at a gallop, not jumping or barrel racing. I was dismounting and Indigo did the classical teleport out from under me wile I had one leg in the air. Not something you would expect but something to definately think about next time you saddle up.