How To Choose and Buy a Riding Helmet

How To Choose and Buy a Riding Helmet

Wearing a helmet is one of the most important safety precautions an equestrian can take to reduce the chances of significant injury. Horse riding helmets are specifically designed to protect a rider’s head in the case of an accident. But finding a helmet that fits correctly can be a challenge, as there’s no set standard for English riding helmet sizing, and every person’s head is shaped a little differently. If you’re looking for a good equestrian helmet that’s comfortable and protective, this guide will help you choose the right one.

How To Choose the Right Equestrian Helmet

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a horse riding helmet. To make it easier for you, we’re boiling them down to the top five considerations for choosing the right equestrian helmet:

Choose a helmet specifically for horseback riding

This important point can’t be overstated. You can’t wear just any helmet and have confidence that it will protect you from a fall off of your horse. Horseback riding helmets are equipped with very specific safety features specially designed for the sport (and the height riders fall from), so make sure the helmet you choose is made specifically for equestrians.

Helmet features

Depending on the helmet you buy, there are many different features available for enhanced safety and comfort, including materials used on the interior and exterior, air vents, and other features. Read up on the different options offered by the helmets you’re considering to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Shape and fit

Every helmet brand has its own sizing and offers specific shape(s) in its product lineup. Some helmets are more oval, some are more round, and some brands offer both. When buying a helmet, you’ll want to be sure you get one that matches your own head shape. Since a poorly fitted helmet can negatively impact your performance, it’s important to get this right. If the helmet is too tight, it may be distracting and uncomfortable. If it’s too loose, it can slip over your eyes and obscure your vision. Many helmets offer a certain level of size adjustment with the padding inside the helmet, but ultimately, you need to be sure your helmet is fitted properly. This article walks you through how to measure your head for a helmet and how to ensure it’s properly fitted.

PRO TIP: If you feel like you put on a helmet and get a strong pressure or pain on the sides of your head, then you're likely a round head. If you put on a helmet and can put your fingers up into the helmet just above your ears, you are likely an oval fit (most common).

We see a lot of riders who use a trendy helmet,  because they like the look, but when they take the helmet off, you can see bright red pressure marks on their forehead.

This is usually a sign that, while the helmet fits snug it is too tight across your forehead and you may actually need a different shape helmet.

Style and design

You’ll find a wide assortment of equestrian helmet designs. Some are matte, some are shiny, and others have a little bit of bling. No matter what type of riding you’re doing, you can certainly find a helmet that expresses your own unique style!

Cost

Of course, depending on your budget, the helmet price may be a significant point of consideration. Helmet costs can vary widely, and you’ll find great helmets at a variety of price points. Generally, you do get what you pay for — additional comfort and safety features will come with additional cost. But there are affordable, good options. Check out our recommendations for the safest riding helmets with the lower-priced One K MIPS CCS Helmet, which is an excellent, safe helmet.

As long as you ensure the helmet you choose meets safety standards (and all of the helmets we offer at the Farm House do!), your decision will come down to your riding discipline, your personal style, your budget, and what fits your head best.

If you’re looking for a longer list of recommended helmets, check out our post on the best horse riding helmets based on customer feedback and our own team’s experience.

Types of Horse Riding Helmets

There are a number of different types of equestrian riding helmets. Some have a fixed peak, providing an elegant finish on the front of the helmet and protection from the sun. These peaked riding helmets are often used for jumpers, hunters, and dressage. You’ll also see velvet riding helmets used for hunters and jumpers. These are elegant and traditional equestrian helmets. For eventing and schooling, jockey skulls are often used. These helmets cover more of the head and don’t have a fixed peak. You’ll want to keep your riding discipline in mind when selecting your helmet.

Equestrian Helmet Safety

Equestrian helmets are designed with safety features specifically for horse riding, so you can’t use a helmet that’s made for another sport. There are a number of different organizations that certify helmets for horse riding, and there are also different materials and technologies that improve comfort and safety. You’ll find some helmets that add extra vents for better air circulation and cooling, options for helmet materials with different shapes and weights, and alternatives for materials inside the helmet to fit it to your head.

Learn more about horse riding helmet safety certifications.

A popular safety feature available in some helmets is MIPS. MIPS is a multi-directional impact protection system designed by a neurosurgeon to protect the brain from angled impacts to the head by causing rotational motion. It’s currently not required by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), however, it is something to consider for added protection. We’re keeping a close eye on this newer technology to see if it does become a safety standard in the near future. For more information, check out this post about the top MIPS horse riding helmets that we are excited to offer here at the Farm House. 

Learn More About Equestrian Helmets

Equestrian helmets are so important that we’ve written a number of posts about them. In addition to the ones we’ve linked to in this article, we’ve also written about several of our top equestrian helmet brands, including: Samshield helmetsOneK helmets, and KASK helmets. These brands are customer and staff favorites here at the shop and worth checking out — the helmets they offer are incredibly comfortable and have key safety features to provide the necessary head protection when you ride.

Browse our full selection of horse riding helmets by Samshield, KASK, One K, Ovation, Charles Owen, and more. And if you have questions, give us a call at 864-457-3557. The Farm House team is made up of experienced English riders who have a thorough understanding of helmet safety, sizing, and the products we carry.

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