Growing up in a family of lawyers, there was always talk of lawsuits. From the usual things about taxes to the bizarre twists of liability laws. I grew up with people, corporations and the legal system doing things that a normal person would seem unfathomable.
So, it was a natural step when I started riding (at the ripe age of three) that a helmet should be the proper finish to the habit-of-the-day of a Mickey Mouse bathing suit, jods and paddock boots. My parents continuously remind me that my fashion choices remain to be unusual, even to this day.
While the habit has changed from jods to breeches, from paddocks to tall boots, Mickey Mouse for Ralph Lauren. The helmet, aside from updating, hasn't.
And despite a short run for immortality, I have worn my helmet. It has literally saved my life numerous times, and occasionally allowed me to stand up to naughty pony hi-jinks.
So soon comes the day to don the shadbelly. Over the years the norm has been when you go FEI, you get your top hat and your tails and life goes on.
Frankly, aside from never quite looking right in a top hat, I've never been comfortable with the idea of going without protection. If Dumbo had his magic feather, I have my helmet to save the most valuable, and best part of me. Bones can mend, tendons can be repaired. Brain damage is something I cannot afford to have.
With that thought, I made a personal choice not too long ago and forgo social acceptability, and wear my helmet alongside the shad.
It wasn't a huge leap, some momentous occasion, or even one that deserves to be called courageous or daring, but one that I hope musters some amount of personal thought as to what is covering your most valuable of assets.