New Year, New Gear!
How to choose and buy a new helmet
Searching for your new riding helmet can be a bit overwhelming. From types of riding, styles, features, and safety standards, to measuring and fitting, there’s plenty to consider. We’ve put together this guide to help you find the best options for your type and style of riding. Whether you are a happy hacker or a five-star eventer, buying your riding equipment is one of the most important decisions you will make. If you get it right, it could save your life.
Safety Standards & Helmets
All riding helmets are designed with different disciplines in mind - each one may have different risks and rules. For example, a jockey, or cross-country event rider is at higher/different risk than a dressage or leisure rider. As well as this, if you compete, each discipline may have its own rules for what helmets can be worn. This includes safety standards, style, and sometimes even colour.
As much as the look and feel of a helmet are important, safety is the whole reason riding helmets exist. Remember, just because a helmet is on the market, doesn't mean it's giving the rider the best level of protection. This is why it's of utmost importance to check the safety standards of, not only where you're competing or riding, but on the helmet you're looking to buy.
There are three main international equestrian standards to look for: Kitemark PAS015:2011, Kitemark VG1 01.040 2014-12, and SEI ASTM F1163:2015. See below for the trademarks of each:
There are still different levels of safety standards that test for different types of accidents. For instance, a helmet only certified to ASTM has not been tested for a horse’s hoof landing on your head. 90% of Charles Owen helmets meet all three, and their 4 Star Skull Helmet carries the 4th, SNELL E2016, for extreme situations. Read more here.
Damage and Replacing
It's recommended to replace your riding helmet, once you've had a fall, even if the damage is not visible to your eye. If you have a major fall, you'll usually notice obvious cracks on the helmet's shell, however, in most situations, the real damage is invisible on the outside. Any time your helmet is impacted, the layer of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is compressed. It will not offer the same level of protection if it is struck again, even if there is no visual damage to the outside of the helmet.
The maximum useful lifespan of a riding helmet is five years, from the date of first wear, depending on the frequency of use. Due to the natural wear and tear on the materials, even if you haven’t been in an accident with your helmet, it’s important to replace it after it expires past this time. If your helmet suffers any kind of impact, no matter how small, its protective qualities will be compromised. You should replace your helmet before riding again.
Our top picks if you're looking for a new helmet to wear for Dressage:
From left to right; Halo Black/Rose gold, Luna Esme edition Midnight Navy, Luna Black Matt Wide peak, and Ayr8 Leather Look Navy.
The Halo is the premium option here - starting from around £370. Featuring a luxury leather look harness, a premium metallic buckle, and lexzone peak with luxury underside padding. The stand-out characteristic has to be the exclusive brushed metallic ring. Available in matt or gloss shell.
If you like the look of the Halo but have a smaller budget, the Luna range is perfect for you. The differences are; Luna is available in colour match rings only (gloss or matt rings) with matt shell only, luxury harness only featured on the Halo and the adjustable lace-up at the back of the Luna. Starting at £229.
Both feature unique 360° ventilation systems hidden underneath the ring, with 6 additional airflow channels in the crown of the helmet and a removable, washable liner that always ensures a cool ride. And both certified to three international safety standards, including PAS:015
The Ayr8 is the perfect helmet for more of a traditional look. Featuring advanced technology keeping the helmet securely in place, as well as high shock absorbency which reduced the chance of head or brain injury. Centrally placed front and back ventilation keep your head cool when riding. Kitemarked PAS015:2011, kitemarked/CE marked to VG1 01.040 2014-12; SEI certified ASTM F1163. Watch the below videos to see more:
Our top picks for your new eventing helmet:
From left to right; 4 Star, Pro II Plus, Esme JS1, Esme MS1 and Harlow MS1.
The 4-star, as we mentioned before, is named famously due to holding all 4 safety standards - optimal protection! Starting at £192. The top option for any serious eventer.
The groundbreaking Pro II Plus is the only triple-standard, precision-fitting cross-country skull cap with a removable cup headband. With exceptional standard of ventilation to keep your head cool when competing. From £162.
The Esme collection - JS1 and MS1. Both are great options for lower budgets, but also if you like the different colours. Lightweight and cool with supreme ventilation, the Esme JS1 Pro features an impact-resistant ABS outer shell and is certified to an impressive three international safety standards, including PAS 015:2011. The Esme MS1 Pro combines triple standard protection (including PAS 015) with MIPS technology and a lightweight strengthened ABS outershell. JS1 is available from under £100, and the MS1 starting at £155.
The Harlow MS1 Pro combines innovation and safety with additional MIPS technology and superior style. The Harlow MS1 Pro combines triple standard protection, including PAS 015, with a lightweight strengthened ABS outer shell. From £155.
Our top picks for your show jumping rounds:
SP8 has a specially designed peak that's not only flattering but also shades the face, so no matter how bright the sun is, you always have clear vision. The SP8 will also help you keep a cool head thanks to its 10 (that’s right TEN!) ventilation slots which increase airflow. From £300.
More wide peak options in styles Halo and Luna. Great for every day riding but also for clear vision when show jumping.
For Hacking and Everyday Riding
Any of the above options are perfectly suited for any rider, for hacking or schooling. However, we've picked our top 4 options, from entry to mid-price range points, for leisure riding:
Ensure you always measure and fit your helmet correctly to enable optimal safety. Checkout the below for more information about the testing of safety standard and fitting!