A helmet is only as safe as it fits. A good helmet fit is essential when riding. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your new helmet is effective in the event of a fall.
Step-By-Step to a Great Fit
1. To properly size your helmet, measure the circumference of your head by placing a measuring tape around your head and roughly one inch above the eyebrow. Different helmet manufacturers have different sizing, so consult the size chart for the particular helmet that you are purchasing. Also consider how you will wear your hair in your helmet. If you are planning on wearing your hair up inside the helmet, allow room for this when choosing a size.
2. When you receive the helmet, place it on your head without fastening the harness. If applicable, adjust the dial on the back of the helmet.
3. Make sure the brim is resting no more than one inch above your eyebrows. Gently try to move the brim up and down. If your eyebrows move, your helmet fits correctly from front to back.
4. Next, shake your head side to side, to the left and to the right. The helmet should remain in place.
If either of these tests result in movement, you will want to drop down a size. If the helmet seems to be “perched” on top of your head, you will want to consider moving up a size.
Replacing Your Damaged Helmet
If you fall and your helmet takes an impact, contact the manufacturer to have it inspected. The material inside is designed to absorb impact – once this has happened, the effectiveness of the helmet is compromised. Many helmet manufacturers will replace a helmet that has suffered an impact for less than retail if within several years from the original purchase date.
Helmet Safety Certifications (ASTM and SEI)
On most equestrian helmets, excluding hunt caps that are designed as traditional apparel rather than for safety, you will see ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials) and SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) certifications. Most equestrian competitions require that helmets be approved by these associations to be show legal. Many equestrian helmet vendors, like Troxel or GPA, only manufacture helmets that meet these criteria. Always confirm these certifications, both to ensure that the helmet has undergone testing for safety and that the helmet is show legal.
Finding the Right Helmet for You
Equestrian helmets come in many different styles to suit many different applications. A helmet you will be trail riding in will look much different than one you would show in. Most people can use one helmet for both. Helmets suitable for show, however, tend to be more expensive. English hunt seat riders prefer “skunk” style helmets, such as GPA’s like this one, or velvet covered helmets like this one from IRH. Many trail riders prefer helmets like this one from Troxel because of increased ventilation for summer rides. Asking your trainer is a great first step when deciding which helmet style is right for you. Your local tack shop may also be able to help.
We hope this information has been helpful to you! Be sure to check out sstack.com for our wide selection of riding helmets, tack and apparel.