Riding Helmets for Horseback Riding at Dude Ranches

In Support of Hard Hats

I think that wearing riding helmets should be as basic a precaution as putting on a safety belt while driving a car. I don’t mean to imply that normal horseback riding is as dangerous as driving because I am sure it isn’t. After all horses don’t kill 50,000 people or so a year in this country. Still, there can be accidents on horseback and every reasonable effort should be made to minimize them. The easiest and cheapest way to do it is by always wearing a riding helmet. They are not uncomfortable and who really cares these days about the Marlboro image? Granted that head accidents are not all that frequent, but it only takes one such accident to ruin a person’s life and that of their family. They are the nastiest kind because they often don’t heal as easily as a broken arm or collar bone and we are hearing more and more about the long term effect of even slight concussions on the brain in football or boxing.

I am proud to say that, to my knowledge, we are the only dude ranch to require helmets at all times while riding. Actually I think it is unpardonable that the Dude Ranchers Association does not insist that its members require them. No doubt individual ranches might lose the odd guest wanting to make a fashion statement, but just to avoid one or two serious head accidents a year it would be well worth it. Actually I believe there must be dozens of concussions on dude ranches every year which could have been avoided by wearing a riding helmet

—Bayard Fox

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