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Use Your Head - Wear a Helmet

This Saturday is International Helmet Awareness Day. While helmets have always been considered important for safety, many stables have made them a compulsory requirement recently.

The importance of wearing a protective hard hat at all times was tragically illustrated last year when Olympic Team member Courtney King-Dye took an unexpected tumble while exercising a horse.

“As far as I know,” said one of her long-time students, “it was the first time she had ever fallen off. But sometimes once is enough.”

She suffered a head injury so serious that she spent weeks in a coma and was hospitalized for months. Currently she is making a slow but hopeful recovery. King-Dye trained in Westchester for a number of years under the tutelage of Lendon Gray.

Here’s a “heads-up”: In recognition of Helmet Awareness Day, local tack shops are offering special discounts on helmets. Carol Chiusano, manager of the Beval Saddlery on Route 121 in North Salem said, “We are having a one-day sale of 20% off all helmets, including the GPAs, which are hardly ever discounted.” The discount applies to web orders as well, but only for Awareness Day.

Beval’s usual helmet prices range from $39.95 for the Troxel to $596 for the Speed Air Revolution helmet. All of their helmets are approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

“It’s unusual for some of these helmets to be on sale,” Chiusano said, “but all of the helmet manufacturers are participating in this event.”

Horse Tales , the tack shop in the Union Hall building off Keeler Lane, carries only three brands of helmets: the Aegis and the Las for children and the Samshield for adults. The children’s helmets range in price from $47 to $60 and are size-adjustable. The adult helmets start at $495. For information about Awareness Day discounts, call the owner, Robin Scovotti, at 914-485-1338.

Jessica Upham, manager-trainer at North Salem’s Summit Farm said, “It’s really important to wear a helmet. You look at Courtney and other famous riders and you see that no matter what level and what age, accidents always happen. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.”

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