Most people that have been riding for awhile have heard that once a helmet sustains a good fall, it should be replaced, regardless of whether you see visible damage or not.
Directly from the Samshield website:
“In case of violent impact on a helmet, the inner shell (in polystyrene) will crush and lose its shape in order to absorb the impact. From then on, the polystyrene shell will never have the required thickness to absorb another impact if you fall again. This is the reason why we have to change the helmet in case of important impact.”
So what exactly qualifies as a “violent impact”? At what point do you decide to shell out for a replacement? I tend to be on the really conservative side when it comes to this. The newest study on helmet safety seems to indicate that not all helmets are created equal to start with, much less how well they work after a fall.
I’m pretty fond of my brain, and especially fond of keeping it where it belongs in my skull. It’s already been cut open once (surgery when I was young), and I’d really like to avoid any further trauma if possible. I’ve had an eye on those Trauma Void EQ3 helmets since they came out, and read about how Amanda is enjoying hers. I reasoned with myself that I already had 2 perfectly good helmets (practice and show Samshields) and that neither had ever experienced an impact, so I probably didn’t need a new helmet. I made a deal with myself though that if I fell off and my hit my head in either one, I would replace it with a Trauma Void, even if I am not in love with their ‘aesthetic’. Safety first and all!
Well, it may not be obvious in the fall video, but I did bonk my head pretty good. It HURT. I sat on the ground for a few minutes and cried a bit until I could pull myself together. I didn’t feel it was hard enough to warrant a trip to the hospital for a CT scan, but it did hurt. I took OTC pain pills for the rest of the day and still had a low grade headache until well into the evening.
So, was that a bad enough fall to replace the helmet? It’s about 2 years old, and this is my first fall in it. In my eyes- yes. Whether my helmet is actually impaired or not, it’s enough of a risk in my eyes to spend a couple hundred to replace it. A brain injury is WAY more costly of course, not to mention the value of quality of life if I got seriously injured. I instantly knew that I would be getting a Trauma Void. I’d already made a deal with myself after all!
My local tack store doesn’t carry them, so it called for a trip to Dover. My barn bestie and I met up there the next evening, and drifted over to the helmets. I was very disappointed to find that they do not fit my head AT ALL. I tried 3 different sizes, and none was remotely close to feeling like a good fit. Even a size up from what I normally wear was very tight across my forehead, and it felt extremely perched on top of my head. I get that the design of these is different and they might feel a bit different, but the forehead pressure alone meant it wouldn’t work for me. I was super disappointed.
What to do now? I am not sure, but I will likely get another Samshield. After all, I’ve had several pretty harsh falls in Sammys over the years (once where I went to the ER and once where I hit so hard I broke a molar), and I have never gotten a concussion in one. So… they have served me pretty well. I think I am just going to replace my practice one. I typically buy from Europe (saves about $100) but since International Helmet Awareness Day is coming up, I’m going to hold off for a bit and see what the sales look like.
In other news, my friend Liana and I hung out at the barn together last night. Liana takes lessons Bay Yard, but doesn’t have her own brown unicorn just yet. I’m always excited to see other people ride Rio, so we got her up on him last night. Barn time, friends, and wine are basically my ideal night, so needless to say we had a ton of fun!
After riding and grooming Rio to the nines, Liana helped me try to get some good pics of Rio. Conformation shots are HARD y’all! Like… Rio was having none of it. These definitely do not qualify as conformation shots, seeing as I was backing him up, shooting from an angle (making his head look bigger then it is and his butt look tiny), and letting him rest a leg. So…. don’t judge me! He’s cute though, so I wanted to share anyway Hah.
After we were done
torturing taking pictures of Rio, we make him very happy by turning him out for the evening with the donks. He can’t complain, he lives a good life.
So what about you guys? When do you replace your helmet? Do you like watching other people ride your horse?