I save a lot of my creative thinking sessions for when I do the dishes, shower, go for a trail ride, or ride my bike. I've heard that flowing water fosters unfocused thought that lets the brain open up and daydream a bit, and in my experience exercise and scenery do the same.

A couple of weekends ago I rode 15 miles out to one of our local orchards on my annual autumnal quest for an apple slushie. I passed young Thoroughbreds in War Horse Place’s pastures, which are now framed by bright yellow and orange leaves, and said hello to a couple of riding horses in the oak-canopied fields at Antebellum Farm.

I pass these young Thoroughbreds at War Horse Place regularly on my bike. 

Photo: Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com

As I got closer to my destination, pale blue skies turned murky dark. Then the pouring rain came. (Good thing I had flashing lights on my bike!)

Between the shower, the scenery, and the exercise, I guess a good brain storm was inevitable.

After passing through the storm, drying off, riding by the polo training center, and navigating the traffic in the orchard's vicinity, my thoughts turned to safety.

Helmets, both cycling and riding for their respective sports, have saved many of my friends’ and colleagues’ lives, and I’m sure they’ve helped me avoid a concussion or two over the years. Right now one of my friends is recovering from a fall from a horse, and she’s pretty beat up even though she was wearing a helmet. And we’ve all heard the stories of those donning helmets whose endings were not as happy.

As I sipped my slushie at my destination, amidst children and mums (both the human and floral variety), hayrides and pony rides, I gazed at my bike where it leaned against a crate of gourds. My thought process went a bit like this:

Hmm. Head-sized gourds. Pumpkin heads.

You see where this is going.

Somebody should put a helmet on one of those and encourage people to "protect their gourds."

These pumpkins will be promoting helmet safety this Halloween.

Pumpkin Faces & Photo: Stephanie L. Church/TheHorse.com

When I got home, I did some Googling to determine that #protectyourgourd wasn’t common, if in use at all. And while I did see a clever photo from a helmet company showing some jack-o-lanterns wearing helmets, I think these pumpkins--I'll call them Harvey and Sylvia--are new kids on the block, though, who join that jack-o-lantern with a mission of improving safety awareness for equestrians and cyclists alike, whether they're circling in an arena, galloping across a field, scaling a mountain path, or maneuvering a country road.

I hope they remind folks to be careful not only during harvest time but also every other part of the year. 

Can you share a time when a helmet been a lifesaver for you?