Sarah is a very active adult amatuer competitor in both the hunters and equitation. Sara’s blog and social media accounts follow along as she navigates the ups and downs of balancing a career, life and barn time that many of us can relate to.
Sarah recently realized her helmet was out of date and she needed a new one. She shows us what criteria she used to determine what she wanted in her new helmet.
Helmets are a no brainer in my book. See what I did there? Equestrian equipment has evolved over the years for the better. With that comes an abundance of options when shopping for, well, everything. It may be overwhelming when shopping for high ticket items like helmets and tall boots. No need, I’ll break down for you how I approach helmet shopping here.
Step 1: Determine what you are looking to use the helmet for.
Each helmet has an intended use. Endurance and trail riding helmets are well-ventilated for comfort and safety of the rider. Yes, staying cool is definitely important when one a multi-mile long ride. Eventing helmets often lack a brim due to increased safety benefits from removal of this more aesthetic feature. While hunter-jumper helmets tend to align with the “formal” look required for showing in most USEF-recognized divisions and classes. Lastly, a schooling helmet. You might be thinking helmets can be pretty expensive, I can’t possibly fathom the idea of having more than one. Let me tell you why I think you should reconsider. For one, even hunter-equitation princesses can have as much fun as they want with their schooling helmets. You heard me, bedazzle your little hearts out. Secondly, in case something happens to one of your helmets you almost always have a back up. That isn’t limited to unintentional dismounts, perhaps you dropped your helmet or you realized that it was past its expiration date. Did you know you’re supposed to replace your helmet every 3-5 years regardless of unintentional dismounts? So whether you decide to have fun with your schooling helmet or want to have a back-up that can double in the show ring it’s always a great idea to have two helmets. They make great presents for holidays and birthdays. Equestrian family members, I hope you’re reading this.
Step 2: Determine your price range.
In the setting of a gift it is still important to be cognizant of the price tag. There’s no doubt that when you are the one who’s footing the bill the cost becomes a bigger impact. With advances in the equestrian industry we now have a much more inclusive range of helmets in nearly all price points. Yes, you no longer have to spend $500+ to have a horse show helmet. Alas, we all know it is very easy to classify any helmet in any price range as a need because it’s protecting the noggin. You’re welcome.
Step 3: Determine what shape head you have.
You may be rolling your eyes right now saying, uh Sarah, my head is round, DUH. Well friends, some of us have a round brain and other more oval shaped melons. Again, the advances in our industry help us out again.
Here’s a quick guide to helmets that fit round heads, oval heads and those who have models with both options
- Round: GPA, Samshield, Kask, KEP, Trauma Void
- Oval: IRH, Ovation
- Both: Charles Owen, OneK
Step 4: Try helmets on.
Helmets are an investment. If you are not comfortable in your helmet you are less likely to use it. Go to Farm House Tack and walk around for at least 5-10 minutes. Make sure the entire time you have the helmet on it is comfortable. Yes, initially the helmet may be a bit snug. However, you do not want a headache after wearing it for 5 minutes. Make sure your helmet fits appropriately with your hair situated how you intend to wear it while riding. Hunters and equitation riders that likely means with it up in your helmet. For riders with longer locks (@ myself) that often means you may have to have more than one helmet for it to fit appropriately with your hair down and also with it up in your helmet.
Step 5: Make the investment!
Treat yourself! We make sure our horses have the best of the best, we should not treat ourselves any differently.
You might be thinking, when was the last time you looked for a new helmet? This past summer. My OG Miss Shield was 6 years old – I know, I know – and it was time to toss her and get a new one. I knew I wanted to replace that helmet with one that I could school and show in. That criteria really helped me narrow my search since I show in the hunters and equitation. The next thing I really wanted to have in my new helmet was MIPS technology. In combination, those put One K and Charles Owen at the top of my list. I really loved the wide brim option on the One K so I went to my friends at Farm House Tack to try on both a medium and large helmet in both the round and long oval options. I had a feeling I was round. Since helmets had made some advances since I purchased my Alcantara Miss Shield a couple years prior, I wanted to try both shapes. Surprise, I’m still a round shell. And just like that I fell in love with the One K MIPS CCS Avance wide brim design. The icing on the cake for me, it fits well with my hair up and down. I really love that it is affordable yet stylish. I think there’s really something to say for that – well done One K.
Tell us about your helmet shopping adventures on Instagram and make sure to stop by Farm House Tack to try my new favorite helmet! Happy Shopping