July 12, 2014 – Today marks the 5th annual Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day (IHAD).
Started in 2010 by Lyndsey White and Chad Mendell, the Riders4Helmets campaign seeks to educate equestrians of all disciplines and levels on the importance of helmet safety; from the choice to wear a helmet, how to properly fit one, and when to replace them.
Last year, in 2013 the FEI partnered with Riders4Helmets on a global safety initiative, the FEI promoted the campaign when they released information about their new helmet rule, which took effect January 1st, 2013. (You can read more about our discussion of helmets in the ring in Special No. 2)
Each year Riders4Helmets teams up with top helmet manufacturers to offer special discounts on a wide range of helmets. Retailers across the world, from the U.S and Canada, to the U.K, Australia, the Netherlands and more, have joined the cause to help promote helmet safety in equestrian sport.
To promote the 5th annual IHAD, Lyndsey White shared 10 tips riders should always keep in mind about their helmets:
1. If you have a hard impact blow while wearing your helmet, immediately replace it with a new helmet. There may be damage to the helmet that is not visible to the naked eye.
2. Helmet manufacturers generally recommend replacing your hat every 4-5 years. Helmets take a beating over time from sweat, heat, dust and rain, and the styrofoam liner in the helmet, relinquishes its ability to protect the head over time.
3. A ponytail or different hairstyle can affect the fit of your helmet. When you try on helmets prior to purchase, wear your hair in the style that you expect to wear it when riding.
4. Only purchase a helmet online if it is brand new and unused. Check the date of manufacture. Purchasing a used helmet can be very risky and is NOT recommended. The helmet may have sustained previous damage that you are not able to see.
5. Riding is considered more dangerous than downhill skiing and motorcycling.
6. There is no statistical correlation between skill level and injury likelihood. Professional riders are just as “at risk” to sustain injury due to a fall as amateur riders.
7. Approximately 20% of all accidents which result in head injuries happen while the person is on the ground.
8. Head injuries are cumulative. An original head injury can be made much worse by additional concussions.
9. Even a fall from a standing horse can be catastrophic. Your injury risk depends on the height from which you fall, as well as the speed at which you are traveling.
10. It is best if you invest in your own helmet, regardless of whether or not you own a horse. In addition to wearing a properly fitted helmet, the harness must fit snugly, in order for the helmet not to rotate should you have a fall.
Check out the Riders4Helmets webpage for more information, resources, and tips that you can draw on to make sure you head is safe!
Riders looking to purchase a helmet can visit the campaign website (HERE) to find nearby participating retailers.
Stay safe! Protect your head!