I traveled this past weekend to watch my grandsons and niece participate in a gaming day. They are 6 and 7 years of age, and the premise is to leadline them through a barrel course, poles, and stake race. Gaming is the province of the cowboy and cowgirl up wing of the horse world. It is a western riding at its finest, no guts no glory, kind of atmosphere. Helmets are not a common sight. Maybe it is because I came to riding later in life...maybe it is because I am not naturally athletic, maybe it is because I have been riding for 8 years and I have had 2 bad accidents in those 8 years, probably it is because of all of the above that I believe in wearing a helmet each and every time I ride. If I believe that for me imagine how much more adamantly I would believe that for a child.
On this particular day a lot of mistakes were made and the biggest one was that I yielded to the opinions of others not wanting to sound like the anal and overprotective grandmother that I am. There apparently was no helmet available and no one was worried about that except for me. My daughter and I had a conversation about it before the playday began...I was overruled. Moms, Dads, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. No one said a word. Even the officials running the game day had nothing to say until afterwards. Afterwards they came out in favor of helmets. After the game day was to late in my opinion. It is also my opinion that they should make helmets madantory for at least the peewee's.
My grandsons made it through the game day unscathed but my niece did not and neither did another little girl who looked to be no older than 10 years old. My niece came off her horse while doing poles and thankfully she landed flat on her face in the dirt. I shudder to think how badly she might have been injured if she had landed on her head. The other little girl came off during the stake race, and she too landed in such a way as to avoid serious injury. Twice in one day disaster was averted.
Now, I am not criticizing gaming. It's an exciting sport and there is potential for serious injury crossing the street, playing baseball, swimming, riding any other horse discipline etc. I just think it would be nice if we all took the precautions available to us that might mitigate the seriousness of any accidents that do happen, at least where the children are concerned, and I promise myself and everyone else that when I am around I will never just be silent again.