Do I need to buy a helmet when I am just starting riding lessons? Does the barn provide helmets? Where do I buy a riding helmet? How do I know the riding helmet fits? Which helmet should I buy?
These are questions that you may be wondering. Keep reading to get those answers.
Toward the end of the post, I have included Riding helmet recommendations, some are fabulously fashionable and others are comfy and durable. I also included an inexpensive option for those wanted to save money. That being said here is a quick disclaimer.
DO LESSON BARNS PROVIDE RIDING HELMETS?
If you want to save money and wait on purchasing a helmet this is possible. However you definitely need to wear a safe, properly approved, correctly fitting riding helmet. What you want to do is call up the barn that you are going to lesson at and see if they have different sized helmets available for you to use. Many barns provide helmets for their lesson program.
BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO USE A HELMET FROM THE LESSON BARN KEEP IN MIND:
- Helmet Fit-It may not fit as well as a helmet you bought specifically for yourself, sized to fit your head. A correctly fitting helmet means better protection in the case of a fall.
- Other Riders Wearing That Helmet– Another thing to consider is all the riders before you that have used the barn’s lesson helmets. They are sweating in these helmets, may have dandruff, could have lice, etc.
- Unknown Falls-A safety issue when using the lesson barn helmets is that you don’t know if someone may have fallen with one of the helmets and that can cause the helmet to lose integrity. Helmets should be replaced in the event of a fall to the head or it may not do what it is supposed to do the next time.
TAKING THE PLUNGE AND PURCHASING YOUR OWN HELMET
If you feel you are going to stick with riding for a while I would definitely spend the money and invest in a riding helmet. Also if you decide to ride western. There are many riders that don’t wear helmets. However this is very much discouraged because if you fall and hit your head you could get a bad concussion, brain damage or could be killed.
HOW MUCH DOES A RIDING HELMET COST?
The price of an approved riding helmet has a wide range. It depends on the brand and the quality of the helmet. Some helmets are made for schooling and some are designed for showing. From my experience the price range for a helmet can be $40-$1000. One thousand dollars, I know… yikes. The average rider usually doesn’t spend that kind of dough on a helmet. However you can see there is a huge price range.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY RIDING HELMETS?
You can buy your helmet online or in a physical store commonly known as a tack shop. Small local tack shops do tend to be on the more expensive side. There are pros and cons to buying from either online or from a tack shop.
PROS AND CONS OF PURCHASING A HELMET ONLINE VS TACK SHOP
|ONLINE STORE||LOCAL TACK SHOP|
|More options for brands colors and sizes||No waiting for delivery|
|Less expensive than at tack shops||Can have knowledgeable staff help fit helmet|
|Usually can return item if it doesn’t fit||Can see the quality and details up close in person|
|Can’t try on helmet before buying||Less options for brands colors and sizes|
|Can’t see it up close and personal before buying||More expensive than online|
|Must know the accurate circumference of your head||Have to travel to store|
My suggestion to save money and get a proper fit is to try helmets on at a local tack shop. Find out the brand, product and your size then purchase the same helmet online for a lesser price.
Although tack shops sometimes do have sales which you can take advantage of. And if you want to support your local business that would be a nice thing to do.
- Properly Certified– The helmet has to be ASTM/SEI approved.
- Buy New– Do not buy a used helmet on a horsey Facebook group, Craigslist or any other online classified for the same reasons you wouldn’t want to use the lesson barn’s helmets.
- Proper Fit– Make sure the helmet fits properly. It is best to have someone that is knowledgeable with fitting helmets to help you find the right helmet and fit. If you have some experienced horse person that can go with you can help you fit a helmet… awesome that’s great. If not the staff at the tack shops should know what they are doing and be able to help you out.
I’ve owned these helmets in the past and they have all been good in my book. Keep in mind helmets can be rounder shaped or oval shaped, so make sure you try a helmet on before purchasing.
Troxel Schooling Helmet – CHEAP HELMET
This helmet is definitely in the cheapest helmets category, although Troxel is a reliable brand. This was my first helmet when I started riding years ago. It is not my favorite but it did it’s job. What I didn’t like about this helmet was that it was a styrofoam type of material and it is not the prettiest helmet either. Although it fit my head pretty well, was light weight and is riding certified and approved. The biggest reason I liked it was the cheap price. This helmet comes in black or white.
Tipperary Sportage Helmet- WELL VENTILATED LIGHTWEIGHT HELMET
I have to say this was probably my favorite schooling helmet. It fit me so well and the material was comfortable as well. It was very breathable and from what I remember lightweight. It definitely is a few steps up from the Troxel Schooling Helmet. This helmet has more color options as well. Black, Grey, Brown, Navy, Pink, Light Purple, Blue. The price is about double the cost of the Troxel Schooling Helmet but I would say also double the quality.
Charles Owen GR8 Helmet- QUALITY HELMET MORE TRADITIONAL
This helmet was probably the most expensive helmet I’ve owned. I wore this for showing and schooling. It was very comfortable and a popular helmet. Charles Owens are a sought after brand, of excellent quality. This helmet was my favorite helmet that I’ve used as a show helmet. I believe the quality of this helmet is superb and the materials call for a safer more durable helmet.
HELMETS I HAVEN’T TRIED BUT THEY LOOK FABULOUSLY CHIC
Troxel Fallen Taylor Performance Helmet- MANY COLORFUL OPTIONS HELMET
Despite the name this helmet is for schooling not showing. This helmet comes in a bunch of designs and they look so cool! If you like bright color, awesome patterns and want to stand out this might be the helmet for you. Compared to it’s lesser cousin the Troxel Schooling helmet, it has a few more features. Well did I say the colors are amazing :-). This helmet has a dial fit system located in the back of the helmet which the schooling helmet doesn’t have. So this helmet can offer a better fit. Also this helmet has a lower profile so it doesn’t make your head look as bulky or bulbous. This will definitely be the next helmet I purchase… in love. Update: I got this helmet in the turquoise for Christmas and I love it so far. Pretty airy and lightweight. Plus I love how it looks!
Ovation Z-6 Glitz Helmet- HELMET THAT SPARKLES
Although I have never tried this helmet, I have owned an Ovation helmet which was a good helmet. I like this helmet because it has sparkle. I would like to get this helmet with the pink sparkles. I also love that it has a leather harness, makes it look smart. This helmet uses the dial fit system which offers a more secure and accurate fit.
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Happy Horse Riding!