Riding-Helmet Selection Tips
The most important part of your riding ensemble is your riding helmet, which helps to protect your head in the event of a fall. Here’s how to select the right helmet and how to fit it for optimal function.
Start with Selection
Start with selecting the helmet that’s right for your needs. Here are helmetselection tips, for function and aesthetics. Look for the ASTM/SEI label. Helmets that are ASTM-approved and SEI-certified have been manufactured to meet certain safety standards tailored for the horseback rider. Find a helmet you’ll wear. Some helmets feature a rugged look, while others have a sleek, aerodynamic design. If you like the way your helmet looks, you’ll be more likely to wear it on every ride. Choose the material. Some helmets feature a shiny plastic finish, while others have leather or felt covers. The material you choose is a matter of aesthetics. Pick the one that best suits your riding style. Leather covers typically have a Western look, while plastic is sportier. English riders often choose helmets with felt covers. Choose the venting. Passive venting allows warm air to escape from inside the helmet, even when you’re stationary. Active venting requires movement to push air through the helmet. A helmet usually has passive venting if there are holes cut in the top. Most helmets with active venting have holes in the sides and in the back. Select a color. Get a color that you like, keeping in mind that lighter colors can be cooler than dark colors in hot weather. If you often ride alone, consider a brighter color so you’ll be visible, in case of a mishap.
Focus on Fit
Get the right fit by following these guidelines. Measure your head. Measure your head with a cloth measuring tape to determine your hat size. Then look on the helmet packaging to see which size you need, based on your measurements. Do your hair. Before you try on helmets for fit, wear your hair the way you will when you’re riding. Your hairstyle will affect how the helmet sits on your head. Find the right shape. Look for a helmet whose basic design fits your particular head shape. This helmet will be more likely to stay put on your head in the event of a fall. Make sure the helmet feels snug without too much pressure. Shake your head. Give your head a shake while you’re wearing the helmet. You don’t want it to move. Walk around. Walk around the store while wearing the helmet to see whether it’s comfortable as you move.
A rugged, leather-covered helmet with a sun visor offers both function and aesthetics. Shown is a Troxel helmet designed for trail riding.
HEIDI MELOCCO PHOTO Adjust the strap so it’s snug, yet comfortable, under your chin.