Tami’s Ah-Helmet Moment

Tami writes from Bangor, Maine.

ah-helmet-300x235Vote for her by leaving a comment below.

Tami writes:

My Ah-ha moment came when I was getting a 15 yr. old paint mare ready for a demonstration to children. I guess I went through the warm up too fast for her and just before I got on, I saw my helmet and put it on just in case.

Well, “just in case” turned in to “so glad I did that”. She bucked with no indication and I landed hard. Could have been much worse than the bruised back and slight concussion. I didn’t hit my head just jarred it from landing on my butt.  No one was there to help me up so I got up and “moved her feet” as best I could. First time getting bucked off at 50. Never again and I will always wear my helmet. Oh, mare is for sale, cheap!

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Tami's paint mare

Tami’s paint mare

Laure’s Ah-Helmet Moment

Laure emailed from Lexington, Virginia, of  “The Day I Wasn’t a Turkey”

Vote by commenting below.
ah-helmet-300x235Laure writes:

Okay, I’ll admit it, having begun my riding career at 40 (I’m now 52), in India of all places, I have NEVER ridden without a helmet, and Troxel is the brand I wear.  Despite coming to riding late in life, I decided I wanted to learn to jump, so I’d be able to manage the steep, and often challenging, up and down creek-laced terrain here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  Learning to jump in my 40s gave me plenty of opportunities to be thankful for my helmet, but my real “ah-ha” moment came a couple of years ago, after I had become a fairly competent rider.  I was out riding in the mountains with a friend, on her quarter horse, Nelson, who has a bad habit of bucking (hard) when left behind.  Up until this point however, Nelson had never bucked me off.

laure 1We were cantering along a somewhat rocky trail when we flushed a flock of turkeys, causing both horses to leap sideways. We checked our horses, but then my friend cantered on ahead.  Nelson slammed into a buck and I went flying off hard onto the rocky ground.  I lay there a moment dazed, then tried to get up.  I managed to crawl to my hands and knees, but couldn’t get any further.

A few moments later my head cleared.  I was lucky to have only dislocated my jaw—I now understood how a clip on the jaw knocks out boxers.  I was scratched and bruised, but no bones broken, and more importantly, my head had not turned to pulp.  We switched horses, rode 5 miles home (at a leisurely pace) and then I drove myself to the emergency room, but thanks to my helmet, after a couple scans and some ibuprofen I was cleared to go home.


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Amanda’s Ah-Helmet Moment

ah-helmet-300x235To vote for Amanda, leave a comment below. She’s from Lincoln, Nebraska.

Amanda writes:

My Ah-Ha Helmet moment remains crystal clear for me.  (Probably because I was WEARING a helmet)

I was on a beautiful trail ride on my beautiful horse on a beautiful fall morning.  Riding with a friend who ALWAYS wore her helmet caused me wear mine as well.  Lucky for me!

Our horses spooked, bolted and both ran away with us.  My ride didn’t last long, as my horse catapulted me into a lamp post in the park. My friend’s horse carried her far down the trail.

Thanks to my helmet, my head was clear enough to call 911 and get help.  And thank goodness I WAS able to get help on the way immediately. Turns out I had 9 broken ribs, 2 broken vertebrae, my arm was broken in two places, both lungs were

Recovering in hospital

Recovering in hospital

punctured, my intestines, spleen, pancreas and liver were torn.  And most shocking of all, my aorta.  All this damage, yet my brain was completely fine.

Thanks to my helmet-wearing-friend, AND my helmet, I am again riding through that park and enjoying all its beauty.  I shudder to even imagine what kind of mess I would be, had I not be wearing it.

Now, I NEVER ride without it.  Every ride, every time.  Even in the arena.  Because you never know what can happen.  And hopefully, I can influence others in my barn.

Annette’s Ah-Helmet Moment

ah-helmet-300x235To vote for Annette, please leave a comment below.

She rides at Twin L Performance in Phoenix, Arizona.

Annette writes:

I didn’t ride with a helmet as a kid–and was lucky.  When I started riding again as an adult in my late 50’s, I never considered not using a helmet because I have worked with families who had children or other family members suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.  Not good.  Great nieces also always use helmets–their mother had a TBI from a car accident and it changed her life.  I wanted to do whatever I could to protect them.


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Unbranded Newsflash

Ever since the Unbranded team of four Texans and their cavvy of mustangs wrapped up an incredible 3,000-mile journey nearly two years ago, fans have been chomping at the bit to see how the crew’s 500 hours of footage got whittled down to less 11174682_867151063331329_5751020672287218165_o-300x248than two hours of WOW. Watch the trailer here.

Followers got a bit closer today, as Unbranded team announced the acquisition of the film by Gravitas Ventures. Finally, it will be available through Video On Demand format, September 25. You can prepay for it here.

An Unbranded quartet including executive producer Cindy Meehl, producer Dennis Aig, director Phill Baribeau, and mastermind Ben Masters were in Los Angeles today, working out additional details with Gravitas.

Meehl, who produced the award-winning Buck, a documentary about Buck Brannaman, said she hoped fans would work through Tugg, a platform allowing groups to bring requested feature films to their local cinemas.

2She agreed that the public’s demand and response have both been more enthusiastic than what’s usually seen from typical indie film audiences. It’s similar to what she experienced with Buck, when she learned that horse owners and lovers are some of the more fanatic documentary watchers.

“It’s been shown at just two festivals and it’s won both,” she noted.

“Unbranded is breathtaking in both scope of what’s been accomplished by these four young men and in how incredible the settings are throughout. We know audiences of varied backgrounds — from families to animal lovers to just documentary and film fans — are going to enjoy this remarkable adventure,” said Nolan Gallagher, Founder and CEO of Gravitas Ventures, in a statement.

Viewers will also be able to see it digitally, at home. DVDs will be available before Christmas.

NickerNews and BestHorsePractices have more Unbranded coverage than any other media outlet. Check out all the offerings here.

Welcome Ramblers Way and Introducing Trails to Town contest

ramblers way  Trail to TownWe’re thrilled to announce our new partnership with Ramblers Way Farm, the clothing company founded by Maine’s Tom Chappell and featuring wonderful, American-made, wool garments.

Beginning next month, NickerNews & BestHorsePractices will be giving away one lightweight, luxuriously soft top each month. It’s the Trails to Town contest! Read a review of Ramblers Way tops.

Can your daily outfit take you from horseback to the grocery store, or do you need a Cinderella-like transformation before you can be seen in public?

The right clothes for us horsemen and women move seamlessly from one daily activity to the other. Even dinner afterwards!

That’s what Rambler’s Way wear does for us. It feels great, looks great, and you can feel great, knowing it’s American-made by a company with strong sustainability mission.

In August, we will begin giving away your choice of women’s long-sleeve, scoop or jewel neck top. Or, for men, a long-sleeve Henley. All retail for $90. Visit Ramblers Way website.

Jewel neck

Jewel neck

Ramblers Way garments are made with the moisture-wicking, high-quality wool that doesn’t hold odors and keeps its shape. That means you can tackle barn chores, hit the trail, then head straight to town. Read a review of Ramblers Way tops.

Want to win? Show us how badly you need a versatile piece to take you from one walk of life to the next. Send us a photo or write a few words to illustrate your point. Contact us here. Or, to attach a photo, send email to info@nickernews.net. Or, send us a message on the NickerNews and BestHorsePractices facebook pages.

Entries accepted until August 13. All entries will be posted on NickerNews where readers can vote for their favorites until August 21. Winner announced August 28.


Scoop neck, available in multiple colors

Ah-Helmet Moment, Round Three

ah-helmet-300x235We’re nearing the midway point of our fabulous series of giveaways, sponsored by Troxel. Welcome to Round Three of the Ah-Helmet Moment Contest.

Read Amanda’s moment

Read Tami’s moment

Read Annette’s moment

Read Laure’s moment

Vote for your favorite by leaving a comment for their post.

The contest was spurred by the popular response from Dr. Steve Peters’ article on why he’s swapping his cowboy hat for a helmet. Read it here.

This month’s contest is for the Troxel Rebel Fleur De Lis, a new, fashionable addition to the extensive Troxel lineup. NickerNews and BestHorsePractices fans get a sneak peak at this new style as it’s not even on store shelves yet! The snappy helmet will be available next month for the first time. Check it out here.

280f0bd563673b914a5063af4f34ed4d22dc721b_500x560We’ve had entries from all over the country. Take a moment to tell us your Ah-Helmet moment, when you thought, “I need to protect my noggin!”

To toss your hat into the ring for a chance at a Troxel Rebel Fleur De Lis, send in a paragraph or two describing your Ah-Helmet moment (think ah-ha moment!) along with a picture. When and why did you make the conscious decision to wear a helmet every ride (or for most rides)? Contact us here.

For the third round, we’ll accept entries July 22-29. Enter by contacting us with a description of your ah-helmet moment, OR send us a message on our Facebook page. The entries will be posted on NickerNews blog by July 30. A week’s voting via blog comments will run through midnight August 6. The entrant with the most comments will receive a Troxel Rebel Fleur De Lis helmet!

Good luck!


A Feel Good, Feel Better Workshop

When you around Nina Fuller, you can’t help but smile, laugh, think, and share. The renowned photographer from Hollis, Maine, is warm, welcoming, and just a bit wacky. Her home, Lily Brook Farm, in Hollis, Maine, is an extension of Fuller, full of flowers, ninanimals, and good will.

That’s where Fuller and two fellow therapists will host “Horses & Healing,” August 1-2. It’s a retreat-style workshop that will incorporate photography, horses, and therapeutic work. Read more about it here.

Fuller has traveled the world, photographed four U.S. presidents, and written and taken photos for numerous publications, including NickerNews. But she says some of her most rewarding work is working with people and horses.

The workshop would be perfect for any number of participants, she told me.

“It’d be great for therapists interested in working with experiential work and interested in horses. Or, for someone feeling stuck in their life. Or, for someone who’s been in therapy before without ninnfinding success. Or, for someone interested in how therapy works with horses,” said Fuller.

Since receiving her Masters in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Equine-Assisted Mental Health and Photography Therapy from Prescott College, Fuller has witnessed positive shifts in her clients while working with horses as well as photography. Sometimes, what they discover wasn’t at all what they expected. There are breakthroughs and changes of heart. It’s been incredible, she noted, to facilitate these sessions.

“I don’t think there’s anyone out there who doesn’t need something,” Fuller said.

Check out details for the event and register soon!

Game of Thrones map can’t beat reality

g o t The Game of Thrones series opens every televised episode with a fantastical, moving map, detailing the terrain and boundaries of the Seven Kingdoms. In the show, fans watch battles, treacherous river crossings, and rugged mountain travels. Truly invested fans can then refer to the maps to confirm their understanding.

It’s cool escapism. But I tend to think NickerNews and BestHorsePractices readers prefer the real landscape and real escapism of their own backwoods and familiar trail systems.

Since landing in the Oquirrh mountain foothills of Utah, I’ve learned my way around, shed my fear of steep ascents and descents, adapted to the 6,000 foot elevation, and embraced the rocky terrain (with the help of Renegade Hoof Boots).home turf

Thanks to satellite imagery and USGS topographic maps, I’ve detailed local features and trails and given them names to make it easier to chat about them with family, friends, and fellow riders. There is Nap Rock, Tent Ridge, Raven’s Peak, the Meeting Place, the Intervention site, and so on.

Redmond Equine is building a fun, interactive map of their own. It covers the entire globe and has hundreds of pins for Fave Rides. Anyone can add a pin by sending an image of their Fave Ride (photo must be taken with horse’s ears in the foreground!) and providing a location. Check out my Fave Ride here.

Add yours by visiting this page.

Check out this GoPro tour of the Oquirrh foothills.

Happy Trails!

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 4.37.47 PM

Game of Thrones gets horses right

I’ve been sucked into HBO’s Game of Thrones medieval fantasy drama like so many millions of others. It started with an audio book over a long cross-country trip with my son, who helped me learn about the many layers of intrigue, from character development to overarching themes and messages (climate change, feminism, etc).

250px-Dany&TheSilverI give author, George R. R. Martin, proper due for getting horses and horsemanship right. Check out the following Game of Thrones mentions and corresponding articles and posts on NickerNews and BestHorsePractices.

To note in Book 1, A Song of Ice and Fire:

  • Martin writes that tight reins held by frightened riders will result in edgy horses. Read about contact.
  • Mules do better than horses in mountain terrain, notes one of his characters. Read about mules.
  • When contemplating training a horse for an atypical task, his character says, “Better to get a young one, so you don’t have to unlearn it from what it already knows.” Read Brienne-041715about unlearning.
  • After Daenerys has been riding her first horse, Silver, for days on days, Martin writes that the horse knew what she wanted without hearing any cues. Read about softness.
  • The author even weighs in on rider weight, noting that big, heavy-set men need bigger horses. (It should be noted, however, that in the real Middle Ages, all horses were smaller than they are nowadays. The Hound and Brienne of Tarth likely would have struggled to find a suitable horse to ride. Read about rider weight.


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