If you watched the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), then you have probably saw Fallon Taylor wearing a helmet for a few rounds. It was reported the other day that AQHA is now enforcing a new rule that states that all riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet when riding. I have nothing against helmets, do get me wrong, however I do have an issue with the rules forcing helmets upon people.
I believe that people should have the right to choose whether or not to wear a helmet. Now I require youth under 18 to wear a helmet, however parents can sign a waiver holding me not liable if there child falls and gets hurt. I have seen cases where helmets didn’t help prevent injury and may have cause greater harm then help. I am not against helmets whatsoever, but I am against taking away the right to choose.
If you are a beginner adult rider in my lesson program, I will ask/recommend that you wear a helmet but if you choose to sign the waiver and knowledge the risk
involved that is YOUR choice as a grown adult. I grew up not wearing a helmet. I am not comfortable wearing a helmet. While I was in college it was a requirement to work at the Quarter Horse Unit, but not while I was a part of the rodeo team. I wore a helmet when I started my mustangs, but once they were on the broker side, I reverted back to my baseball cap. I have started colts with and without a helmet on as I have fallen off with and without a helmet on.
I feel the best way to approach the helmet debate is: if you want to wear one I commend you for making that choice, but DO NOT force a helmet on me if I am willing to sign a waiver releasing you of liability.