Back in June I got an email from one of my favorite horsey magazines “Horse Illustrated.” They wanted to print a little submission I sent about my opinion on riding helmets in the July 2007 magazine. Troxel sponsored the segment and for the privilege of getting printed they offered me a new helmet! They asked me what size and color I would like. Classic black, of course! What came in the mail was a periwinkle blue. Oh, well, what’s that saying about a gift horse? Here’s what I wrote…
A lot of us have reason to know that riding at fifty is a bit different from riding at fifteen. Growing up with horses the only headgear required was a good straw cowboy hat in the summer and a warm felt one in the winter. I remember spending days breaking in my hats so that the brim folded up just so and it didn’t look too embarrassingly new. When I first got back to riding after a twenty-year hiatus my instructor informed me of the stable rule, no helmet, no ride. This was new for me and at first I felt like an idiot. The helmet was big, the strap under my chin choking. Over time it became a habit like my cowboy hat used to be, but I still felt a bit silly. Then I took a couple of serious tumbles, or else I believe they would have been serious if I didn’t have the properly fitting helmet strapped on. Now I have several helmets just like I had my collection of hats, different ones for different occasions, show, trail, schooling. I’ve made other adjustments. My hair is cut short to fit under my helmet, rather than fuss with hairnets or bands. In other words, I’ve become friends with my helmet. What was forced on me at first, I now embrace as being as essential to riding as my boots.
Here I am in my new helmet on my Annie enjoying a walk at Maple Row Farm.
Photo taken by Sofia F. Aletta