Choosing The Right Riding Hat
We know buying a new riding helmet can be a bit overwhelming.
From types of riding, styles and features, safety standards, to measuring and fitting, there’s plenty to consider.
Charles Owen has a choice of more than 30 of the best and safest riding helmets available, all handmade in Great Britain. Our extensive range caters for every rider, no matter the discipline or shape of your head.
This guide takes you through the steps of choosing and buying the best helmet for you.
Types of helmet and riding
The first thing to consider when buying a new helmet is the kind of riding you’ll be doing.
Riding helmets are designed and made for different types and disciplines of horse riding. This is because the activities, risks and culture vary with each.
A racing jockey or cross-country event rider is at higher or different risk of injury than a showjumper or dressage rider.
If you compete, each discipline has its own rules for what helmets can be worn. This includes minimum safety standards and sometimes style and colour.
Many horse riders enjoy different types of riding and therefore have helmets to suit each activity.
Here are the main categories and styles of riding helmet:
General riding, showjumping, dressage, hacking.
Not suitable for racing and cross-country eventing because of the fixed peak.
Racing, eventing, hunting, schooling, hacking.
Helmets covering more of the head, without a fixed peak and meeting the highest safety standards.
Often paired with hat silks which have a soft fabric peak.
Showing, showjumping, hunting, hacking.
Highly traditional and elegant whilst still maintaining the latest safety standards.
Not so much a type of riding, but these hats are specifically designed to appeal to and meet the needs of children and beginners.
Within this category, we have helmets for each discipline.
In the UK kids riding helmets are VAT free.
Riding helmet safety
Once you know the type of helmet you need to choose, it’s time to really check a helmet gives you as much protection as possible.
As much as the look and feel of a helmet are important, safety is the whole reason riding helmets exist.
There are three main international equestrian standards to look for: Kitemark PAS015:2011, Kitemark VG1 01.040 2014-12 and SEI ASTM F1163:2015.
Helmet safety checklist
Here’s a quick list of important safety takeaways:
- Always wear a helmet around horses, including handling
- Buy the safest possible (multiple safety standards)
- Know your head shape and size (more on this below)
- New helmets should be snug, they’ll mould to your head over time
- Get professionally fitted if possible
- Don’t borrow or buy second hand
- A helmet’s maximum lifespan is 5 years
- Replace after any impact
- Cycling and motorcycle helmets are unsuitable and unsafe for horse riding
How much are riding helmets?
The price of riding helmets varies widely, based on where and how they are made, the safety standards met, the quality of materials used and the finish.
You should always aim to buy the best and safest helmet possible to suit your riding. A safer helmet does not always mean it’s expensive.
In fact, our helmet range has been carefully curated to meet any budget, with 90% meeting or exceeding three international safety standards.
Fitting your riding hat
We offer a free fitting service at our store in Essex 7 days a week. We have fully trained staff and a very large range to ensure we find the perfect hat for you.