New Zealand showjumper Chloe Akers has a new helmet to thank for saving her from a serious injury after a fall during training last month.
Akers, who is speaking out help raise the profile of International Helmet Awareness Day on Saturday, June 22, was riding a young horse. He slipped on a corner, causing the saddle to slip. “He freaked and ran and I bailed as I was on the left side, and he didn’t feel like he was going to stop,” Akers said.
The two-time winner of the NZ University Showjumping series remounted the young horse, and rode three more horses later that day.
“It wasn’t until the next day when I went to put the same helmet on that I saw it was cracked on the outside and smashed on the inside,” said Akers, who won a bronze medal at 2012 World University Equestrian Championships in Aachen Germany.
The helmet was a new Cassco which had never been dropped or involved in a fall.
“If my helmet smashed the way it did, I would hate to imagine what state I would be in if I was not wearing it. The ground was not hard, and I felt that I hardly hit my head at all as the rest of my body was so sore,” Akers said.
“I cannot ever remember getting on a horse without a helmet. It doesn’t matter how bomb-proof the horse is, a simple stumble can happen to any horse and throw you off.
“My fall proves that you shouldn’t only wear a helmet when jumping. Silly falls like mine can happen too easily,” Akers said.
After the fall, she said she “felt pretty strange and it lasted for a couple days – plus I had a very sore body!”
Akers, who earlier in the year won the NZ Open Show hunter title at the Horse of the Year show for the third consecutive year, said her awareness about safety started from her parents “always telling me to wear a helmet”.
“I thank them for it.”
International Helmet Awareness Day is on Saturday, June 22, and it is the third time the popular event has been held.
Riders4Helmets.com has teamed up with leading helmet manufacturers to host the event, with participating retailers all over the world offering discounts on helmets to equestrians on the day.
The riders4helmets campaign was founded in 2010 as a direct result of Olympian Courtney King-Dye’s accident, with the aim of educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing a properly fitting, secured and certified helmet.
King-Dye, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and is still undergoing rehabilitation.
More than 200 retailers in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, USA and New Zealand are registered for the day, and will give discounts to buyers of safety helmets on June 22.
As well as offering an opportunity for equestrians to purchase a helmet at a special one-time discount, Riders4Helmets is also live streaming “Get Educated” webinars via Riders4Helmets.com on June 22, in which equestrians will be able to ask a variety of experts real-time” questions. The confirmed lined of participants is to be announced later in the month.
Visit www.riders4helmets.com/ihad/ to learn more about International Helmet Awareness Day and to search for participating retailers by “Name” or “Geographic Location.”