Let’s Discuss: Qualifying a Fall

So in the last month, I’ve had not one but two separate opportunities to experience a much faster route from saddle to ground.

This always deserves resharing

My involuntary dismounts have both been on the same side of the horse, and ended with my landing (I believe) on the same parts of my body- that is, my right shoulder and hip. This last gravity check did a real number on my shoulder especially, particularly affecting the rotator cuff (so the masseuse told me as she dug her thumbs into the flesh there).

Even though I feel as though it was not my head that was the primary victim of these apparent nose-dives, I still wonder- what goes into the ‘fall to the head = new helmet’ rule? I have no evidence that my head was not involved at all, and admit that my neck was sore after the last incident, but obviously not concussion to my knowledge. 

At some point, do we assume that the helmet has been compromised by the sheer association (like being stuck on my head) with my body as it hit the ground? Or does it need to take a more direct hit in order to be compromised? What is the rule you keep to? Does anyone know the exact science??

13 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Qualifying a Fall

  1. I always err on the side of caution on this one. If I didn’t clearly land on my lower body only, I replace the helmet.

    My fall in 2016, I wasn’t really sure since we totally crashed into the fence kind of face first… so I replaced my helmet. However, in my fall last week, I basically landed on my behind and rolled without my head touching the ground with video evidence. So, my helmet is (IMO) fine.

    If I didn’t have that evidence, I would be replacing.

    • Honestly I’m kind of bummed that I don’t also have video evidence- because A) maybe that would prove my head wasn’t involved? and B) I need new embarassing gifs.

      But thanks for your input- it’s good to hear what others think on this subject!

  2. It’s supposed to be if the helmet made contact with something (ground, jump, hoof, etc). So it doesn’t have to be a direct hit necessarily, ie landing on your head, to cause the internal damage to the helmet… if your head touched the ground at all, especially twice in a short period, I’d probably just err on the side of caution and replace it.

  3. The rule is because if your helmet actually hit the ground (/hoof/rock/jump/whatever), the internal foam has been compressed. The foam compressing is what saves your head. In the next fall, it won’t provide as much cushion. If you didn’t hit your head, you don’t need to replace it.

    • That’s helpful! I’m now trying to determine if it’s the same helmet from that first gif… in which case, maybe more likely it’s hit the dirt.

  4. I always check my helmet for a dirt mark, which sometimes help. If my head hits the ground, even if it’s secondarily (like I land on my ass and then fall backwards and hit my head) I will replace the helmet. I know they’re expensive, but I’ve only got one brain and I’ve spend a lot more money educating it than a $500 helmet (which is on the expensive side for helmets!)

  5. I just took a tumble myself and replaced based because of the obvious head bump. However, I will totally admit that before this I had gone years without a head involved fall and I just kept using the same helmet. Not sure I’d do that now, but it is what it is.

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