No matter whether you’re trail riding or show jumping, wearing a helmet is absolutely critical to ensure your safety while on your horse.
But your helmet won’t help much if it doesn’t fit properly.
Here’s how to make sure yours does.
Before You Buy the Helmet
Before you purchase a helmet, you should measure the circumference of your head in inches and centimeters with a flexible tape measure. If you’re buying a helmet from Horze, each helmet will have a Size Chart that you can use to find out which size you should buy.
Something else to make absolutely sure of is that the helmet passes safety standards. The most widely recognized equestrian helmet safety certification is the ASTM/SEI certification, which puts helmets through a thorough testing procedure to make sure that they will truly protect a rider in the event of a fall or other serious injury. Look for a label or other indication that the helmet you are looking at has ASTM/SEI certification.
You may want to look into some extra features or benefits for your helmet in order to improve your experience. For example, many modern helmets offer some form of ventilation to allow for airflow and keep you cool while you ride. Another feature you may want to look for is removable inner linings. This can make it easier to wash the interior of your helmet if it gets dirty or sweaty. And some helmets may come with multiple sizes for the liners, to help you get the perfect fit.
Checking the Fit After You Receive the Helmet
Once you receive your helmet, you should check to make sure it fits you properly before you go riding with it. For this, you can follow this simple checklist:
- First, put the helmet on without adjusting anything. Just see if it feels good: the helmet should fit snugly but comfortably on your head. If it’s a little too tight or too loose and you have a different-sized liner, switch it out to see if the second one fits better before returning it.
- If the helmet feels good after the initial check, adjust the chin strap so that it rests on your chin, allowing you to slip a finger or two between it and your neck. You don’t want it to be so tight that it constricts your breathing, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it could fall off.
- Next, try moving your head back and forth. If it slides excessively up and down your forehead, it’s too loose. It shouldn’t be painfully tight, but the helmet should sit in place when you shake your head. This ensures that it will keep your head safe, and not slip out of place.
- The helmet should sit horizontally and level, not tilted up or down. There should be a gap of one or two finger-widths between where the helmet meets your forehead and your eyebrows.
With a properly-fitting, certified equestrian helmet, you have much greater chances of avoiding serious injury if you ever fall off your horse or experience something similar. The helmet should be comfortable, easy-to-use and above all, safe. If it checks all those boxes, you can ride safe and happy!
What’s your favorite helmet? Why? Let us know in the comments below!