Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's International Helmet Awareness Day! Helmets Are Handy Out of the Saddle, Too--Just Ask This Farrier!

Farrier trimming feet by World Horse Welfare

Today is International Helmet Awareness Day, part of a worldwide campaign to urge more riders to protect their heads while on horseback. But it occurred to me that there are times when helmets come in handy on the ground too. World Horse Welfare recently published this series of photos, which I thought would be appropriate for today.

An operation to round up 93 semi-feral highland-type ponies in the North East of Scotland was launched with the help of Horseback UK, The Royal Marines and the staff and students of The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Each of the horses was microchipped and issued a corresponding equine passport. They were then sorted into herd groups, and then 41 males were anesthetized and castrated, which gave plenty of practice for the vet school students!

Donald Nicol was the farrier who trimmed the feet--you see him working on a mare in this photo. 

The vets and students wore helmets too. 

Retailers are offering discounts today to people who purchase helmets as part of the International Helmet Awareness Day program. So, if you're a vet, technician, or farrier, there may be a very good reason for you to keep a helmet on hand, even if you don't ride!


Holli B. said...

There are places for helmets since riders do not do enough with the horse on the ground first, building a relationship. They should not be made mandatory for all just because a lot of people don't know real horsemanship. I agree that when working with feral horses or horses that need treatment and haven't been properly trained a helmet would be a good idea.

Judi Hastings said...

Holli B., helmet safety is needed at every level of riding. It's certain that the horses ridden by the following riders were superbly trained, both on the ground and under saddle: Darren Chiacchia, 2004 U.S. Olympic equestrian team member; Courtney King-Dye, American dressage Olympian; Barrel racer Dorothy Richburg. All sustained extensive head injuries in falls. World class riders in various disciplines are modeling safe riding behavior by wearing helmets in competition: Steffen Peters on World Equestrian Games Grand Prix Freestyle champion Ravel; World Equestrian Games US team member Katherine Bateson-Chandler; and World Equestrian Games Canadian team member Ashley Holzer. Pro rodeo competitior Delores Toole explained her choice to go against the western riding norm by wearing a helmet in high-level competition: "I want know that it is okay to wear a helmet...Helmets have become an accepted part of other dangerous sports, and it is time they became an accepted part of western riding and rodeo too."

Dave Millwater said...

Helmets to work with horses. Helmets to ride bikes.

Interfering with natural selection. Producing a bunch of soft-skulled humanoids, methinks.

Next thing you know, folks will be wearing body-armor to play badminton.

There are like seven billion people on the planet now. No need to keep every one of them wrapped in nerf all the time. ;)