Discover the perfect blend of safety and style with our in-depth exploration of the best horseback riding helmets. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just stepping into the equestrian world, finding the right helmet is paramount for a secure and enjoyable riding experience. In this blog, we navigate the intricate landscape of helmet choices, examining crucial factors such as safety standards, helmet types, and must-have features. Join us as we spotlight leading brands in the market, offer valuable maintenance insights, and answer common questions, empowering you to make an informed decision when selecting the ideal helmet for your riding adventures. Saddle up for a journey through the intricacies of horseback riding helmets, ensuring your safety and comfort in every stride.
Our Top Picks
- Best Traditional: Troxel Spirit
- Best Western: Resistol Ride Safe
- Best Show: Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus
- Best Cross Country: Tipperary Sportage
- Best Endurance: IRH Equi-Pro SV
- Best Kids: Troxel Spirit
- Best Men’s: Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus
The Troxel Spirit Horseback Riding Helmet stands as the unrivaled choice for traditional equestrian headgear, offering a superior riding experience. Redesigned to provide a deeper, full-coverage fit, it ensures unparalleled comfort and security. The new low-profile design and advanced DialFit™ technology create a personalized and comfortable fit for various head shapes, making it the top choice for riders. The Spirit boasts a stylish appearance with fun, fashionable graphics and colors, allowing riders to express their sense of style. Key features such as the maximum airflow vent placement, FlexVisor™, and ASTM/SEI certification further enhance its appeal. Additionally, the FlipFold™ removable washable headliner with Air-Channel™ technology adds convenience and hygiene to this exceptional riding helmet.
- Deeper, full-coverage fit
- Low-profile design for style
- DialFit™ for personalized comfort
- Some riders find it heavy
- Stylish graphics and colors
- Maximum airflow for ventilation
- FlipFold™ headliner for hygiene
- ASTM/SEI certification for safety
The Resistol Ride Safe Straw Helmet redefines Western horseback riding gear by seamlessly blending the iconic cowboy hat style with cutting-edge protective headwear. Crafted by the esteemed team at Resistol, with over 80 years of heritage, this helmet represents the perfect fusion of tradition and safety. Featuring an improved fit with a new rear strap, the adjustable nylon and plastic snap buckle ensure a secure and comfortable feel. The straw material and natural color provide the classic cowboy hat appearance, allowing riders to shape it as they would their favorite hat. This innovative helmet meets the heightened demand for rider safety in today's fast-paced equestrian activities. The Resistol Ride Safe redefines Western riding gear, offering industry-leading protective technology without compromising the timeless look and feel of a cowboy hat.
- Iconic cowboy hat appearance
- Improved fit with rear strap
- Adjustable nylon and snap buckle
- May feel heavy for some riders
- Innovative fusion of style and safety
- Straw material for authenticity
- Meets high demand for rider safety
- Shapeable like a traditional cowboy hat
The Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Helmet stands as the pinnacle of excellence in show horseback riding gear, surpassing expectations with its innovative features. This low-profile helmet, an evolution of the popular Ayr8, introduces a removable and washable headband for enhanced hygiene and convenience. Centrally located front and rear ventilation slots, covered in breathable mesh, ensure optimal airflow. The microfiber suede side panels contribute to its elegant appearance, while the vegan leather-look GRpx® harness, utilizing patented technology, provides superior fit and security. The heat-reflective paint option for the center panel adds a touch of sophistication. With the option of regular and round fit, and various color choices for center and side panels, this helmet allows for a personalized and stylish look. The Ayr8 Plus meets multiple safety standards, including Kitemark, CE, and ASTM certifications, making it a reliable and fashionable choice for discerning riders.
- Removable, washable headband for hygiene
- Front and rear ventilation for airflow
- Elegant low-profile design
- Meets Kitemark, CE, and ASTM standards
- Higher price compared to competitors
- Microfiber suede side panels
- Heat-reflective paint option available
- Vegan leather-look GRpx® harness
- Anti-microbial lining reduces odors
The Tipperary Sportage Equestrian Horse Riding Helmet exemplifies excellence for cross-country riders, seamlessly combining advanced features, superior comfort, and enhanced protection. Crafted with a lightweight contoured drop back shell featuring a sleek carbon fiber design, this helmet ensures top-notch impact resistance through its high-density ABS construction. The EPS foam liner efficiently disperses energy upon impact, prioritizing rider safety. Customized fit is guaranteed with adjustable foam interior pads, accompanied by additional padding for personalized comfort. Featuring 11 mesh-covered vents, the Sportage facilitates optimal airflow for a cool and enjoyable riding experience. The reinforced four-point harness, rubberized low-profile visor, and rear reflective strip not only contribute to safety but also add a touch of style. Certified to ASTM F1163-15 and SEI standards, this precision-crafted helmet is designed for easy maintenance, making it the ultimate choice for cross-country enthusiasts seeking a perfect blend of safety, comfort, and performance.
- Lightweight with excellent ventilation
- Superior impact resistance with ABS
- Adjustable foam interior for a perfect fit
- Reinforced four-point harness for security
- Some riders may prefer a longer visor
- Sleek, low-profile design with a carbon fiber shell
- ASTM F1163-15 | SEI Certified
- Removable inner padding for cleaning
- 11 mesh-covered vents for airflow
The IRH Equi-Pro SV Riding Helmet excels in meeting the needs of endurance riders by offering advanced features and style at an affordable price. Its modern design and easy-to-clean matte finish provide both aesthetic appeal and practicality. The helmet's dial-fit harness system ensures riders achieve a custom fit effortlessly, while the removable Cool-On liner enhances comfort by efficiently managing moisture. Exclusive IRH Elite front ventilation technology promotes airflow, contributing to a cooling effect during rides. The incorporation of a wide brim provides additional sun protection, making this helmet suitable for various riding scenarios. The DFS dial enables instant customization, and the helmet's ASTM F1163-15/SEI certification underscores its commitment to safety. The IRH Equi-Pro SV proves to be a versatile and cost-effective choice for riders seeking a reliable helmet that combines style, comfort, and performance.
- Sleek design with easy-to-clean finish
- Dial-fit for instant custom fit
- Elite front ventilation for cooling
- Some riders may prefer more ventilation
- Removable, washable Cool-On liner
- Sun brim for added sun protection
- Versatile for show, schooling, trails
The Troxel Spirit Horseback Riding Helmet caters to the unique needs of young riders without compromising on safety or style. Featuring a low-profile design and full coverage, it prioritizes optimal comfort and security. The strategically placed maximum airflow vents ensure breathability during rides, while the FlexVisor and DialFit System allow for a customized fit. With an extensive size range, including XS for young riders, and a FlipFold removable headliner equipped with Air-Channel technology, the helmet ensures long-term comfort and hygiene. This ASTM/SEI-certified helmet not only meets stringent safety standards but also adds a touch of style with fun graphics and colors. The Troxel Spirit stands out as a versatile and reliable choice for young equestrians, blending safety, comfort, and aesthetic appeal seamlessly.
- Low profile, optimal comfort
- Full coverage for enhanced security
- Maximum airflow ensures breathability
- Limited design graphics on Amazon
- FlexVisor and DialFit for customization
- Extensive size range, including XS
- ASTM/SEI-certified for high safety standards
The Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Horseback Riding Helmet proves its excellence through practical design and advanced features. With a removable and washable headband, this low-profile helmet prioritizes hygiene and convenience. The 12 strategically placed ventilation slots, covered in breathable mesh, optimize airflow during rides. The microfibre suede side panels and vegan leather-look GRpx® harness not only enhance style but also contribute to a secure fit. The GRpx® technology harness, with self-adjusting cups, ensures unparalleled stability, and the optional heat-reflective center panel adds a touch of innovation. With an anti-microbial lining to reduce odors and adherence to multiple safety standards, including PAS015:2011 and ASTM F1163, the Ayr8 Plus excels in providing both comfort and protection for male riders.
- Elegant low-profile design for style
- Front and rear ventilation for airflow
- Soft GRpx® technology harness ensures stability
- Slightly higher price point
- Custom options may have extended delivery
- Anti-microbial lining reduces unwanted odors
- Washable removable headband for convenience
- Meets multiple safety standards for assurance
Types of Horseback Riding Helmets
|Best Use Case
|Traditional Riding Helmet
|General riding disciplines such as dressage and trail riding
Ventilation for airflow
Impact-resistant outer shell
|Widely accepted and versatile Timeless aesthetic
|May lack some advanced safety features found in specialized helmets
|Troxel Spirit Horseback Riding Helmet
|Western Riding Helmet
|Western-style riding, including Western pleasure and barrel racing
|Wide brim for sun protection
Comfortable padding Durable construction
|Blends seamlessly with Western attire
Provides sun shade
|Limited ventilation compared to some English helmets
|Resistol Ride Safe Straw Helmet
|Show jumping, eventing, and dressage competitions
|Sleek, low-profile design
Often includes a harness for a secure fit
May have a velvet or suede finish
|Enhances a polished, professional look in competitions
|Less ventilation due to the low-profile design
|Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Helmet
|Cross-country riding and eventing with challenging terrains
|Enhanced impact protection
Increased ventilation for airflow
Secure fit with a retention system
|Offers superior protection for high-risk activities
|Can be bulkier compared to traditional helmets
|Tipperary Sportage Equestrian Horse Riding Helmet
|Endurance Riding Helmet
|Long-distance and endurance riding
|Lightweight construction for extended wear
Ventilation for temperature regulation
Often includes a sun visor
|Comfortable for long periods in the saddle
|May lack some of the protective features of high-impact helmets
|IRH Equi-Pro SV Horse Riding Helmet
Key Features to Consider when Buying a Horseback Riding Helmet
When buying a horseback riding helmet, it’s crucial to consider several key features to ensure the helmet provides optimal safety, comfort, and functionality. Here are the key features to look for:
- Safety Standards and Certification: Look for helmets that meet or exceed recognized safety standards such as ASTM F1163 (for equestrian helmets). Certification from organizations like SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) adds an extra layer of assurance regarding the helmet’s safety.
- Fit and Size: Proper fit is paramount for effective protection. Choose a helmet that fits snugly without being too tight or too loose. Helmets typically come in various sizes, and sizing charts provided by manufacturers can guide you in finding the right fit.
- Adjustability: Helmets with adjustable features, such as straps and harness systems, allow for a customized fit. An adjustable helmet ensures that it stays securely in place during different riding activities.
- Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is essential for rider comfort, especially during warm weather. Look for helmets with well-designed ventilation systems to promote airflow and keep the head cool.
- Outer Shell Material: The outer shell of the helmet should be made from impact-resistant materials such as polycarbonate or fiberglass. These materials provide durability and protection against impact.
- Inner Liner: The inner liner, often made of foam, should provide shock absorption and impact dispersion. Helmets with multi-density foam liners are designed to offer enhanced protection.
- Retention System: A secure and adjustable retention system (strap or harness) keeps the helmet in place during a fall. Quick-release systems are convenient for easy removal.
- Weight: A lightweight helmet is generally more comfortable for extended wear. Look for helmets that balance weight with protective features.
- Visor or Brim: Depending on your riding preferences, a helmet with a built-in visor or brim can offer protection against the sun and other elements. This is especially important for disciplines like trail riding or endurance riding.
- Style and Aesthetics: While safety is the top priority, finding a helmet that suits your personal style and preferences can enhance your overall riding experience. Helmets come in various styles and colors to cater to different tastes.
- Durability and Maintenance: Consider the overall durability of the helmet, and check if the components, such as the chin strap and buckles, are of high quality. Additionally, ensure that the helmet is easy to clean and maintain.
- Replacement Recommendations: Helmets should be replaced after a significant impact or every few years, even if there is no visible damage. Some helmets come with recommendations for the maximum lifespan, so be sure to follow those guidelines.
By carefully considering these features, riders can make informed decisions when selecting a horseback riding helmet that prioritizes safety, comfort, and style.
Top Brands for Horseback Riding Helmets
|Why Choose This Brand
|Well-known for reliable and affordable helmets with diverse style options.
|Renowned for high-quality helmets, often chosen for their safety innovations.
|Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus
|Recognized for crafting Western-style helmets with a focus on comfort.
|Resistol Ride Safe Straw Helmet
|Specialized in safety helmets with a focus on equestrian sports.
|IRH (International Riding Helmets)
|Known for combining style with advanced safety features.
|IRH Equi-Pro SV
Maintenance and Care Tips
Proper maintenance and care of your horseback riding helmet are crucial for ensuring its longevity and effectiveness. Here are some essential tips to help you keep your helmet in top condition:
- Inspect Regularly: Before every ride, visually inspect your helmet for any signs of damage, cracks, or unusual wear. Pay attention to the outer shell, inner liner, and straps.
- Clean According to Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your helmet. In most cases, a mild soap or helmet cleaner and a soft cloth are suitable for cleaning the outer shell. The inner liner can be wiped with a damp cloth.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals, solvents, or abrasive cleaners, as they may damage the materials and compromise the helmet’s integrity. Stick to mild and helmet-safe cleaning solutions.
- Keep it Dry: After cleaning, allow the helmet to air dry thoroughly before storing it. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or heat, as this can degrade the materials over time.
- Store Properly: Store your helmet in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight, a hot car, or areas with extreme temperatures. Proper storage helps maintain the helmet’s structural integrity.
- Handle with Care: Handle your helmet with care to prevent unnecessary stress on the materials. Avoid dropping it or subjecting it to impacts unrelated to riding activities.
- Replace When Necessary: Helmets are designed to absorb the impact of a single fall. If your helmet has been involved in a significant impact or if you notice any visible damage, it is crucial to replace it. Even if there is no apparent damage, consider replacing your helmet every five years or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Secure Straps Properly: Ensure that the chinstrap and harness are secure and properly adjusted before each ride. A well-fitted helmet provides optimal protection.
- Avoid Decorative Additions: Refrain from attaching stickers, decorations, or any modifications that are not approved by the helmet manufacturer. These additions may compromise the helmet’s safety features.
- Follow Usage Guidelines: Adhere to the usage guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Some helmets are designed for specific disciplines or activities, so ensure your helmet is suitable for your intended use.
- Replace Sweat-Absorbing Pads: If your helmet has removable sweat-absorbing pads, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacement or cleaning. Clean pads contribute to a more comfortable and hygienic riding experience.
By incorporating these maintenance and care tips into your routine, you can extend the life of your horseback riding helmet and ensure it provides reliable protection when you need it most.
Benefits of Horseback Riding Helmets
Wearing horseback riding helmets offers numerous benefits, primarily focused on rider safety. Here are some key advantages of using helmets while engaging in equestrian activities:
- Head Injury Prevention: The primary purpose of a riding helmet is to protect the rider’s head from injury. In the event of a fall or impact, the helmet absorbs and disperses the force, reducing the risk of severe head injuries.
- Reduced Severity of Injuries: Helmets can significantly reduce the severity of injuries in the event of an accident. By providing a protective barrier, they minimize the impact on the skull and brain, potentially preventing life-altering injuries.
- Protection from Objects and Overhead Hazards: Helmets also shield riders from low-hanging branches, overhanging structures, or other potential hazards encountered while riding. This prevents head injuries caused by collisions with objects in the environment.
- Enhanced Visibility and Recognition: Brightly colored helmets make riders more visible to others, increasing their recognition and reducing the likelihood of accidents. Increased visibility is particularly crucial during group rides or when riding in areas with varying levels of visibility.
- Compliance with Safety Standards: Quality riding helmets adhere to stringent safety standards established by organizations such as ASTM International. This compliance ensures that the helmets meet specific criteria for impact resistance and protection, providing riders with a reliable safety measure.
- Confidence and Comfort: Wearing a well-fitted helmet can boost a rider’s confidence, knowing that they have taken steps to protect themselves. Additionally, modern helmets are designed with comfort in mind, featuring ventilation systems and adjustable straps for a personalized fit.
- Cultural and Organizational Requirements: In many equestrian disciplines, wearing helmets is not only encouraged but required for participation. Organized events, riding schools, and competitions often mandate the use of certified helmets to ensure the safety of all participants.
- Educational and Awareness Impact: Promoting the use of helmets fosters a culture of safety within the equestrian community. Educational initiatives and awareness campaigns contribute to a collective understanding of the importance of wearing helmets, especially among younger riders.
- Prevention of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Helmets play a crucial role in preventing traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can have severe and long-lasting consequences. The design of riding helmets specifically addresses the vulnerability of the head to impacts.
- Establishing Good Habits: Encouraging riders, especially beginners and young riders, to wear helmets establishes a habit of prioritizing safety. This habit can carry over into various aspects of horsemanship and contribute to a safety-conscious mindset.
- Insurance Requirement: Some equestrian facilities and organizations require riders to wear helmets as a condition of insurance coverage. Adhering to these requirements not only ensures the rider’s safety but also maintains the facility’s compliance with safety standards.
In conclusion, the benefits of wearing horseback riding helmets extend beyond individual safety to encompass broader aspects of rider education, awareness, and the overall safety culture within the equestrian community.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How often should I replace my horseback riding helmet? It is recommended to replace your riding helmet every five years, even if it hasn’t been involved in a fall. If the helmet has experienced a significant impact or shows signs of damage, it should be replaced immediately.
- Can I clean my helmet with regular household cleaners? It is best to use mild soap or a helmet cleaner specifically designed for the purpose. Avoid using harsh chemicals, solvents, or abrasive cleaners, as they may damage the materials and compromise the helmet’s integrity.
- How should I store my riding helmet when not in use? Store your helmet in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or leaving it in a hot car. Proper storage helps maintain the structural integrity of the helmet.
- Can I customize my riding helmet with stickers or decorations? It is not recommended to attach stickers, decorations, or make any modifications to your helmet that are not approved by the manufacturer. These additions may compromise the helmet’s safety features.
- How do I know if my helmet fits correctly? Your helmet should fit snugly but comfortably. It should sit level on your head, cover your forehead, and not shift when you shake your head. Follow the sizing guidelines provided by the manufacturer and adjust the straps for a secure fit.
- Can I use my riding helmet for other activities, such as biking or skateboarding? Riding helmets are specifically designed for equestrian activities and may not provide adequate protection for other sports. It is recommended to use helmets designed for each specific activity to ensure proper safety features.
- What safety standards should I look for when purchasing a riding helmet? Look for helmets that meet or exceed recognized safety standards, such as ASTM F1163 for equestrian helmets. Certification from organizations like SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) adds an extra layer of assurance regarding the helmet’s safety.
- How do I clean the inner liner of my helmet? The inner liner can be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge. Some helmets have removable and washable liners; if so, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning or replacement.
- Can I still use my helmet after a minor fall? If your helmet has been involved in any fall or impact, it is advisable to replace it, even if there is no visible damage. Helmets are designed to absorb the impact of a single fall, and their effectiveness may be compromised after an incident.
- Are there helmets specifically designed for different riding disciplines? Yes, there are helmets designed for specific riding disciplines, such as dressage, show jumping, Western riding, and cross-country. Choose a helmet that suits your preferred riding discipline to ensure optimal protection and comfort.
Meet Eric McGough, a seasoned adventurer and military veteran who traded his tech career for a life of outdoor exploration and freedom. He plans to travel the world, discover new adventures, and share information about great destinations, gear, and more on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.