Friday, November 27, 2009

Helmet use

This is a follow-up on the earlier blog I wrote, in response to Cathy’s attack on the Parelli’s and what she and her sheep perceived to be the Parelli’s view on helmets. The following is an email I received from the savvy team in response to my query as to their position on helmets:

Thank you very much for your email. We understand your concern about safety and helmets and we are grateful that you took the time to email us so we can better address the issue. Our goal at Parelli Natural Horsemanship is to make the world a better place for horses and humans, and a critical component of that goal is safety. We support any protective gear - including helmets - that gives the rider a safer experience, and we require children under the age of 18 and recommend beginners wear helmets no matter the circumstances. We encourage each rider to thoroughly evaluate their situation, enroll in a training program and research and consider all available protective gear and safety procedures.
Thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Parelli Natural Horsemanship
Savvy team

So there you have it folks, the Parelli’s aren’t actually out to kill children. I know, surprising – I am sure.

Personally, though I do fully support the use of helmets (and other protective gear, such as vests), I recognise that the decision of whether to wear or not to wear a helmet is a personal decision; I never look down on an individual for not wearing a helmet (heck, most of time I just do not even notice). Each individual needs to weigh out the risks appropriated to not wearing a helmet and decide what they are comfortable with according to their beliefs and values, their horse, their horse's level, their riding level, etc. On one side of the coin, you can say: what does it hurt, so you had might as well wear a helmet - better safe than sorry. On the other side, I believe that you can also go too far. Pony Club requires (or at least some of my clubs did - the ones I can recall) their students to wear helmets even when the child is on the ground around their horse. Where do we stop - at bubble wrap?? Yet again though, kids + horses = maybe it is best to wear a helmet at all times, even on the ground. I believe that all kids should wear helmets at least while on a horse - our kids will for certain. However once again, it is still a personal decision (even if it be a parent/guardian).

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