How To Measure Your Head for a Horse Riding Helmet

How To Measure Your Head for a Horse Riding Helmet

Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a beginner just entering the world of equestrian sports, a properly fitted helmet is one of the most critical pieces of riding equipment. Correctly fitting your horse riding helmet is essential for your safety and comfort while riding.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of a well-fitted helmet, explain why accurate measurements are crucial, and provide step-by-step instructions on measuring your head to find the perfect helmet size. Whether you’re shopping for a horse riding helmet for the first time or looking to replace a damaged or expired one, follow this guide to choose the right one.

The importance of a horse riding helmet

In all equestrian disciplines and competitions, wearing a properly fitting helmet is not just recommended but mandatory for safety reasons. A helmet protects your head in the case of a fall or an accident. Head trauma is a leading cause of fatality in horseback riding accidents. Wearing a horse riding helmet that fits you properly significantly decreases your chances of a head injury.

Horse-riding helmets are designed and tested for performance and subjected to various tests and specifications. They are tested for impact absorption, chinstrap retention, and penetration by a sharp object. 

A poorly fitted helmet can negatively impact your performance. If the helmet is too tight, it may be uncomfortable and distracting. A helmet that is too loose could obscure your vision if the brim slips in front of your eyes.

How to measure your head for a helmet

Finding the right helmet fit takes some work. It’s important to measure your head for a helmet, though that’s just the starting point. If this is your first equestrian helmet, it’s equally important to try several helmets with different shapes to determine what fits your head shape best and what feels the most comfortable.
Follow these steps to measure your head and get the best riding helmet that fits properly.

1. Measure the width of your head

measuring head for a helmet

Using a soft fabric measuring tape, measure the width of your head, approximately one inch above your eyebrows. Be sure the tape is fitted snugly to your head and goes over the curve of your head just above your ears in the back. 

Note the size in inches and centimeters since manufacturers may use either. Having a friend help you with this process may be best to ensure you get an accurate measurement.

2. Try on a helmet

trying on a riding helmet

Place the helmet you’re considering on your head. Make sure it’s flat and lying horizontally. The helmet should have a snug but comfortable fit and sit within the width of one or two fingers above your brow. 

Style your hair as you would when riding, but your hairstyle should be flat under the helmet. Some helmets have built-in pads to make the fit tighter or looser or an adjustable system to modify the fit automatically. If so, remove the pads or adjust the fit to the largest setting before trying on the helmet. Once you determine the helmet’s fit, you can add these modifications to improve the fit.

3. Evaluate the fit and shape

checking the fit of a riding helmet

A well-fitted riding helmet covers your entire skull with no gaps between it and your head. Even pressure around the whole helmet enables it to absorb the shock of an accident. A helmet that sits low on your eyebrows is too big. If it doesn’t sit right or shows gaps, then it is too small.

As you evaluate the fit, also consider the helmet shape. Helmets come in many shapes and sizes, and not all are suitable for every head. If your head is rounder than the helmet you’re trying, the helmet may rock front-to-back. If the reverse is true and a helmet is rounder than your head, you may find the helmet rocks side-to-side.

A well-fitting helmet should feel comfortable and secure around your entire head. It should not slide freely. A good way to judge the fit of the helmet is to bend over and gently turn your head from side to side; a well fitting helmet should fit snugly on your head without moving.

4. Buckle the chin strap

bucking helmet chin strap for correct fit

Once you find a helmet that fits well, buckle the chin strap and adjust it to fit snugly under your chin. This strap should hold the helmet in place without discomfort. 

Check that the helmet still sits properly on your head after you buckle it. The front brim should be 1 to 2 fingers wide above your eyebrows to avoid obscuring your vision.

Guidelines on sizing a riding helmet

There are many different helmet manufacturers, each with their own standardized sizing, so no universal size chart exists. One size helmet may fit you differently across a variety of brands. Some horse riding helmet manufacturers use hat sizes or standardized sizing as extra small, small, medium, and large. They may offer guidance on sizing based on your head measurement. Once you determine a manufacturer’s fit, you can generally purchase a new helmet with them without trying them on again. However, it’s still a good idea to check the fit.

The shape of the helmets can also vary in design and style. You may even find variances within product lines from the same manufacturer. Compare your head measurement with the size chart for each manufacturer to get a starting point for trying on helmets, and allow that to guide which helmets you try on. Bring your head measurement in both inches and centimeters when you go to make your helmet purchase.

Riding helmet size charts

Here are a few helmet size charts from top brands:

Samshield helmet size chart

SHELL SIZE (inches) SIZE (cms)
Small 6 ½ 52
Small 6 ⅝ 53
Small 6 ¾ 54
Small 6 ⅞ S 55 S
Small 7 S 56 S
Medium 6 ⅞ M 55 M
Medium 7 56
Medium 7 ⅛ 57
Medium 7 ¼ M 58 M
Large 7 ⅛ L 57 L
Large 7 ¼ 58
Large 7 ⅜ 59
Large 7 ½ 60
Large 7 ⅝ 61

Learn more: Samshield Riding Helmet Size, Fit, and Style Guide

Ovation Schooler helmet size chart

SHELL SIZE (inches) SIZE (cm)
XXS/XS 5 ¾ – 6 ¼ 46 – 50
XS/S 6 – 6 ½ 48 – 52
S/M 6 ½ – 7 52 – 56
M/L 7 ⅛ -7 ⅝ 57 – 61
L/XL 7 ¼ – 7 ¾ 58 – 62

KASK helmet size chart

KASK SIZE SIZE (inches) SIZE (cm)
0 6 ⅛ – 6/ ¾ 50 – 54
1 6 ⅞ – 7 55 – 56
2 7 ⅛ – 7 ⅜ 57 – 59
3 7 ½ – 7 ⅞ 60 – 63

Learn more: Kask Equestrian Helmets Size, Fit, and Style Guide

Charles Owen helmet size chart

6 49
6 ⅛  50
6 ¼  51
6 ⅜  52
6 ½  53
6 ⅝  54
6 ¾  55
6 ⅞  56
7 57
7 ⅛  58
7 ¼  59
7 ⅜  60
7 ½  61
7 ⅝  62
7 ¾  63
7 ⅞  64
8 65

Learn more: Charles Owen Helmet Size, Fit, and Style Guide

Tips for Shopping for a Riding Helmet

Safety standards

Use a helmet for horseback riding rather than one for biking or other sports. Look for helmets that meet safety standards specific to equestrian sports, like ASTM/SEI certification in the United States or CE certification in Europe. MIPS horse riding helmets are also known for their superior safety technology. These certifications ensure that the helmet has undergone rigorous testing for impact protection specific to equestrian sports. 


Consider helmets with adequate ventilation to keep your head cool and comfortable, especially during hot weather or strenuous rides. Look for helmets with well-placed vents or breathable materials that don’t compromise the fit and comfort of the helmet.


Opt for helmets with adjustable features, like straps, harnesses, and sizing mechanisms. This allows you to customize the fit for maximum comfort and security.

Style and design

While safety should be your top priority, you can also choose a helmet that reflects your style and preferences. Many helmets come in various colors, finishes, and designs to suit different tastes.

Try before you buy

It’s essential to try on helmets before making a purchase. Visit a reputable tack store like the Farm House, where you can try on various helmets and get expert advice on fit and sizing.


Ensure the helmet feels comfortable to wear for extended periods. Look for features like padded liners, adjustable chin straps, and lightweight materials that enhance your comfort without compromising safety.

Price vs. quality

While opting for the cheapest option is tempting, prioritize quality and safety over price when choosing a helmet. Investing in a high-quality helmet can provide added protection and durability in the long run.

Check out our complete guide on How to Choose and Buy a Riding Helmet.

Finding a well-fitted horse riding helmet is essential for safety and performance. Start by measuring your head, then try helmets on, adjusting the fit to see what works best for your head shape. The right helmet will be comfortable and give you confidence that you’ll be protected in the case of an accident.

Want some professional advice on finding the perfect helmet for you? Stop by or give the Farm House a call at 864-457-3557. We’re always glad to help!

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