Equine Progressive

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Hard Hats I Have Known – Part 2

with 3 comments

The next helmet in this sad story of hard-working styrofoam was a Troxel Legacy. It was hunter green and I bought it on my parent’s tab without permission. “But Mom, I broke my hat and I can’t ride without a new one!” Borrowing a school helmet was out of the question. If any of you have children with open tabs at tack shops, I suggest you close them immediately. After reading my blog, anyway. I once knew a thirteen year old girl who bought a $1500 Ashland equitation saddle on her mother’s tab. At Beval. Don’t get a line of credit from Beval.

Anyway, that hat was a victim of hooves. Aren’t they all? Hooves or hard ground, the only question is in which order. I actually rode in it for entirely too long and when I finally did crack it – it’s amazing how they crack inside, like eggs, like skulls – I only wish I’d had on a motorcycle helmet, so that something would have protected my jaw. Yes, horses have two hooves, and sometimes they both hit you. It only hurts occasionally. And I still don’t like Quarter Horses, and I especially don’t like Quarter Horse mares, and I will under no circumstances canter one. You can’t make me. I know it will buck. I just know.

I think I am missing one or two, but here is one coming to me that may have met an early end in the shedrow at Classic Mile training center in Ocala one chilly morning in November. The day after the Breeders’ Cup, I think. A very nasty customer in the form of a dark bay or brown colt and you know what, I didn’t want to ride the sucker. So it wasn’t a shocker when he dumped me in the packed clay and left town. The trainer wasn’t thrilled. I was pretty embarrassed. That was an International, too, I do believe.

My current hard hat - highly recommended!

The most recent dear departed was an International ATH, and I loved its microsuede and its carbon fiber strip. I sold dozens of these helmets at my tack shop, especially the “Switch” with the removable color strips. What is it with little girls and pink? Just dying to live up to stereotypes, aren’t we girls? Anyway, Bonnie,  my lovely chestnut mare, spooked at a caterpillar or a spector or a Dementor or something in the  middle of a dressage arena on a cloudless sunny day. Bonnie is a world-class spooker. I went heels over head backwards. The dent in this helmet is impressive. I think it may have had something to do with the random rock in the orange clay of the dressage arena. Yes, kids, a rock. You never know!

I now ride in a Charles Owen J3 skullcap, and I love it.  I swear it has never touched the ground. I hang it up carefully between uses, or set it on the kitchen table. (I keep a lot of tack on the kitchen table. Seems like a good enough place.) I don’t know how long Chas will last. At this point, though, if I got on a horse without a hat, I’d panic. My falls have been random, unexpected, and largely unrelated to jumping, which is where so many people assume you’ll get hurt. In fact, I’ve never even had a fall cross-country, the one place where I’m required to not only wear a hard hat and vest but also a medical armband listening my blood type. I’ll be sure to update you, should a new hard hat be required. As I’m sure one will be, eventually.


Written by Natalie Keller Reinert

March 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for reminding me I need to invest in a new hat. Mine is nigh on 10 years old now and while it hasn’t hit the ground, it’s probably feeling the effects of age.


    March 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

  2. Maybe my QH mare will be the one to prove your theory wrong. In the 2.5 minutes I’ve been on her back she has yet to buck.

    Anyway, I’ve got one of the new Troxel Legacys. I like it, it fits well and is very light. Plus it’s a stylish navy blue, so it matches everything.


    March 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  3. Yes, the materials used do “fade away” over time. replace, even if there is no damage. I wear hearing protection, and it definitely loses it’s protective usefulness.

    I know it helps, BF. I just meant 900 lbs thrown with force onto a melon shaped object has serious side effects, even with protection. I agree, wear a helmet, always!

    (hangs lucky, stupid head in shame)


    March 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm

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