Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Safety Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly: Helmet-Hat Debut

Driving Thursday

Been There, Done That competed with her combined helmet & driving hat at the 31st Annual ASAC Spring Classic Horse Show. The green hat, by Debbie Navelski of RodeApple Hats, is designed to fit snugly over a helmet. [Guest Post: It’s Let’s-Wear-A-Helmet Day!]

The judge had no problem with a helmet in pleasure driving, giving the pair the victory in the first class.

The driver wanted to be sure that I credited owner Reagan Upton, trainer Courtney Huguley of Stepping Stone Farm, and of course, Rare Friends. Photo by Sandra Hall, used with permission.

For more helmet-hat action, Sandra Hall Photography > ASAC Spring Classic (once that icon is gone, Horse Show Proofs > 2018 ASAC Spring Classic 18) > Thursday Evening 1 to 26 > 23 Open Park Pleasure Driving & Friday Morning 27 to 44A >40 Open Park Pleasure Driving Stake.
Rare Friends elsewhere on RS, in his guise as an Academy horse.

[Show Report, Show Photo]
[Show Reports, Winter Tournament #1 & # 2, 2016/2017]
[Show Report, Winter Tournament #3, 2017]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

This Is Why I Am Paranoid Around The Barn

Saddle Seat Wednesday

P is for a healthy concern for safety, not an obsession, not at all. If you are joining me from Blogging A To Z, welcome! Since the blog is already daily, with topics for each day [About: Schedule], there is no specific A To Z theme. I may even skip a few letters. Gasp. Clutch the pearls. The goal for this year is less crazy, more visiting. [Ze State of Ze Blog 2014]

A while back, I was at Stepping Stone, getting ready for my lesson. The grooming stall is full of SSF brushes and material, so I leave my brush box just outside, in the aisle. (Yes, I bring my own brushes. Your point?) As I was about to reach down to get a brush, I saw a horse being led up the aisle.

From an excess of caution, I stood up & stepped back, waiting for the horse pass by. As he got level with me, the horse suddenly kicked out with both hind feet. I was looking at the bottom of a set of hooves from about a foot away. At least, it felt like 12 inches. Probably was more. I was perfectly safe where I was.

What if I had been a step closer, bent over? Shudder.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Ride PHAT for International Helmet Awareness Day


Taken by the Roaming Reader at the welcome station in Fair Haven VT.

PHAT (Protect your Head at All Times) is a non-profit program that promotes the use of helmets in all sports where head injury is a serious risk. Its work is based on recent medical literature proving helmets work in preventing head injuries – from concussions to Traumatic Brain Injuries – that can have devastating physical, emotional and financial impacts on the injured and their loved ones. About PHAT

Downloads available, above link, scroll down.


The campaign targets ski & snowboard, bike, ATV, & longboarding. Their goal is to make helmets cool.

Helmet Advocacy Links
International Helmet Awareness Day
Riders 4 Helmets
Helmet Tough
Fallon Taylor

Previous RS Posts
2015 Networking Like A Boss, scroll down
2014 #IHAD

Roaming Reader posts
Antique Horse Toys, with list

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

10 Reasons To Wear A Helmet

1) “Dear Daddy: I fell off my horse at the camp show. Don’t worry, I can move my arm now.”

2) Getting assigned the schoolie who only goes bareback.

3) If a horse jumps but does not clear a large, unsecured hay roll, then the hay, the horse, and the rider will roll.

4) Jumping a fallen tree. Failing to clear a low-hanging branch of a non-fallen tree on the other side.

5) Jumping a fallen tree. Getting a toe caught on part of the tree halfway over.

6) “Sorry, I’m late for my class. My horse fell over in warm-up.”

7) When your horse says, ‘Oooh, I don’t like that jump. Very dangerous. You go first.’

8) “Having trouble with your horse? Here let me try.”

9) There appears to be a horse lying on my leg. That can’t be good.

10) Hanging on during a bucking fit. Then a stirrup leather breaks.
One K logo

Written for a contest by One K Helmet. Winner announced on their Facebook page on May 20, 2016. Didn’t win. At least I got a blog post out of it.

All of these happened to me, from my first fall off of Wind Chimes in the late ’70s to my dumping by Milton in the mid ’10s [Universe]. There have been many more, including two more horse falls. I picked the ones with the best WTF factor.

Of the 10 falls, four were jumping, six on the flat. Three involved the horse falling as well: one jumping, two on the flat.

Of the flat falls, two were horse stumbles (one horse stayed up, the other flopped over [Helmet Evangelism]), one was rider error, one was a horse wiping out on a corner, two were bucking fits.

The flat falls happened at the walk, trot, canter, and buck.

The jumping falls happened before the jump, over the jump, and after the jump.

Every ride. Every time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

7 Answers

Over on Horse Collaborative, Haley Katherine Esparza takes an opposing viewpoint on the recent helmet safety awareness campaign. Not against safety, but against getting swept up into something to be regretted later. These are questions worth considering.

Upon reflection, why did I decide to drop trou [The Naked Challenge] & did it work?

  • To have something new to blog about. Success. This makes post #5 on the subject. [1,3,4]
  • To challenge my comfort zone. Definitely.
  • To say, Yes I do feel that strongly about wearing helmets. To what effect? Am I preaching to the choir?

Will You Take #TheNakedChallenge? on Horse Collaborative
The Naked Challenge on Facebook

rather helmet partial

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Bare It All for Helmet Awareness

1. Does my birthday suit violate the barn’s dress code?

At home. Not an issue. One benefit of life in the boonies is a lack of housing covenants.

2. Am I really ready for people to see that much of me?
“… down the road. Like when you’re interviewing for a high level job or applying to graduate school …”

This is aimed at young people, who tend to have more road in front of them & tend to take it less into account. When I was 16, I couldn’t imagine being 30. Now, I can’t remember it.

3. Would you actually rather go naked than not wear a helmet?
“It should reflect the choices you make in your everyday riding habits.”

I have helmet cred. Online, I have been yapping for years. IRL, I am a vox clamantis in an unhelmeted deserto.

4. Why am I doing it, and what do I want to accomplish?
“Every person deserves to feel sexy and love their body.”

So much no. Do people deserve to? Yes. Did I? So much no. I felt awkward during and appalled after. That much unfit, saggy flesh is horrifying. But then, I’m appalled at how I look on a horse when I have my clothes on.

5. But it’s like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, right?
“The ‘peer pressure’ element of nominating your friends seems a little more dangerous.”

Ignored this. Will happily support anyone who wants to join in. Can you say Naked Challenge guest post? Doesn’t have to be horses: motorcycles, bicycles, skis, or so on. However, it is a personal decision.

6. What other messages am I sending?
“If you don’t like people offering alternative uses for your crop and tall boots, it might be best to not actively feed into those stereotypes.”

Barefoot would have been thematic. Since it was at heart a safety message, I wore boots.

7. What other things can I do to increase helmet awareness?


Rodney’s Thoughts on My Posing Naked

For those of you who wonder how to take revealing pictures of oneself on a horse. [Challenge]

Have your horses at home. Have a pasture surrounded by dense foliage and fields. Hope none of your neighbors are hunting that day. Wear easily removable clothing – less time to undress equals less time to stress. Have a steady, reliable horse who won’t get upset at new circumstances.

Oh wait, we don’t have one of those.

Day 1: Cognitive Dissonance
Activity! Nerves! Stress! None of it directed at me!

Rodney did not know what to make of the photo shoot. We asked him to stand. He knows couch. He stood like a champ. All four legs solidly locked in park. From the shoulders back, he was a statue.

Rodney is a sensitive horse, particularly to any signs of anxiety in his vicinity. There was a certain level of anxiety in his vicinity. More so on the first day. From the shoulders forward, he was a mess: ducking his neck, pinning his ears, grinding his teeth. After a while, we called it a day. He was on overload. Composing himself afterward required generous pats and a liberal application of green grass.

rather helmet Rodney

Day 2: Happy Horse
I stand. They do weird sh*t. Got it.

Rodney was much more relaxed the next day. Too relaxed. He has a tendency to let it all hang out [Doctor Whooves]. His happy meter does not droop. It is set to ‘Wah-hoo, bring on the mares’. This turned the photos from tasteful to trashy.

[Photo withheld due to shortage of brain bleach.]

The Naked Challenge & My Thoughts On Posing Naked on Rodney’s Saga
Will You Take #TheNakedChallenge? on Horse Collaborative
The Naked Challenge on Facebook

My Thoughts On Posing Naked

Will You Take #TheNakedChallenge? on Horse Collaborative
The Naked Challenge on Facebook

I took the challenge [The Naked Challenge]. How did it go?

rather helmet partial

+ Husband/photographer immediately doubled down. If we were doing this, then we were doing it right: a) I had to be riding & b) it had to be clear I was buck-naked. No possibility of hiding a tank top and bikini bottoms. Eeep.

+ I’m wearing a helmet, I must be dressed. I’m wearing a helmet, I must be dressed. I’m wearing a helmet …

+ Breezes in unexpected places.

+ It’s good to get outside of my comfort zone.

+ It’s exhausting to get outside of my comfort zone.

+ Composing myself afterward required a liberal application of cupcake.

+ I know my friends will be amused &/or supportive. What about acquaintances? Will they be appalled? Amused? Will there be repercussions?

+ I can’t BELIEVE I’m doing this.

rather helmet partial feet