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Which riding helmet ensures the highest level of safety?

Embarking on the enchanting journey of horseback riding reveals a magical synergy—a distinctive sport harmonised with your cherished four-legged companion. While this equestrian activity radiates beauty and wonder, it is not without its inherent risks. Among the potential dangers lies the chance of a rider taking a fall—a shared experience among equestrians. In these unexpected moments, gratitude for a well-fitted helmet becomes paramount, for in horseback riding, safety takes precedence. When snugly and securely positioned, a riding helmet transforms into a steadfast guardian for your head. But can you decide whether a helmet fits optimally or not? Within the corridors of this blog, we embark on a detailed exploration, guiding you on the art of making the best choice when selecting a riding helmet.

Wearing a helmet is mandatory in almost all countries, and for good reason. Every year, tens of thousands of riders end up in the emergency room due to falls from their horses, often resulting in head and brain injuries. Wearing a good helmet is crucial to protect your head when you mount your horse.

Which type of helmet is considered the safest?

With many brands offering helmets, the question arises— which one ensures the utmost safety? Is the priciest helmet truly safer than its more affordable counterparts? The key factors to consider when purchasing a helmet are its certification and the fit.
Every helmet available in stores must adhere to specific certifications. In Europe, the CE certification is the benchmark. Lack of this certification implies non-compliance with European standards for safety, consumer protection, environment, and health.

Guidelines have been established for riding helmets in Europe, distinguished by certifications such as:
  • CE EN 1348
  • CE EN 14572
  • CE VG1 01.040 2014-12
A CE certification helmet implies a hard shell and a sturdy, closed chin strap. The EN 1348 and EN 14572 certifications cater specifically to the nuances of horse riding.

CE EN 1348: This certification is developed for helmets that are well-suited for riders engaged in recreational riding.

CE EN 14572:
For riders at a high/international level, it's advisable to choose a helmet with the CE EN 14572 certification, which offers a high level of protection for equestrian sports, especially for events like high-level eventing.

CE VG1 01.040 2014-12:
This VG1 certification is a new standard, requiring all new helmets to undergo more rigorous tests. These tests include stricter criteria for shock absorption, stability, resistance, and strength (straps/closures). Older helmets with the other two certifications can still be sold and used during training and competitions. Still, the new helmets are tested with stricter guidelines to continually enhance and ensure helmet safety.

To address your immediate question of whether you need to buy a new helmet due to this new certification: no, it's unnecessary unless your helmet has absorbed an impact from a fall.

Does this mean older helmets are less safe?

No, many models with the CE EN 1348 certification have also passed the test, but this doesn't apply to all helmets with an older certification. When purchasing a helmet with the latest VG1 certification, you have more assurance that your helmet meets the strictest safety standards. Additionally, helmets with the VG1 certification generally haven't become more expensive.
Explore our selection of helmets from renowned brands such as KEP, BR, Harry’s Horse, Imperial Riding, and more!

How to ensure a helmet fits perfectly?

When buying a helmet, it's essential to determine if it fits well because a comfortable helmet alone is insufficient. Below are some tips to check if your helmet fits according to the guidelines:
  • The helmet should sit straight on your head, fitting the shell snugly.
  • The helmet should sit approximately two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
  • When shaking your head (both horizontally and vertically), the helmet should stay securely in place without shifting.
  • Walk around the store, observe, and feel how the helmet remains in place. It should stay stable.
  • Another helpful tip to confirm a well-fitting helmet: hang your head upside down with the chin strap loose. Does the helmet stay securely on your head? Then, the fit is right.
Wearing a helmet should not cause headaches. If you experience discomfort, your helmet is too tight.

What size riding helmet do I need?

Measure to know! Measure the circumference of your head, about 2.5 centimetres above your eyebrows. The number of centimetres is your helmet size. Sizes typically range from 48 to 61, with children's sizes from 48 to 52 and adult sizes beyond 52. So, if you measure a circumference of 58, that's your helmet size, 58.

Fit Preferences: Exploring the landscape of helmet models

Helmet models vary, and the fit may differ by brand. Just like with clothing, sizes can deviate, so always stick to your actual helmet size. Never opt for a size smaller or larger if it doesn't feel right. Experiment with different brands, as a larger shell size may make the helmet loosener, while a smaller shell size can result in issues like headaches. Choose your actual size and find the brand that feels most comfortable for you.

What is the lifespan of a helmet?

The average lifespan of a helmet is around 5 years, contingent upon proper maintenance. It's recommended to store your helmet dry and cool, preferably in a helmet bag. Always store your helmet in one fixed place where it cannot fall from a height. If your helmet takes a tumble, it may compromise its safety. This damage may not always be visible on the outside, as it could occur on the inside, where the safety features are located.

Thus, damage can occur even if your helmet falls from a shelf. These are often mild damages that don't pose a significant threat, but if you experience a hard fall from your horse, we recommend replacing your helmet immediately. A hard fall can cause genuine (invisible) damage, rendering the helmet incapable of providing safety.

The MIPS System reduces the risk of brain injury

MIPS, or 'Multi-directional Impact Protection System,' specifically offers enhanced brain protection. Research has shown that our brains are connected to the skull with a fluid layer. During a fall, our brains move slightly and are protected by this fluid layer. However, there's still a risk of sustaining brain injuries during a fall. The MIPS system reduces the risk of brain injury thanks to the additional thin layer integrated into the helmet. If you want to learn more about this system, read our other blog on the MIPS system.

There you have it! Now you're well-versed in all the ins and outs of choosing a new riding helmet. Will we see you in one of our stores, or would you like to explore the entire helmet assortment online? Discover the complete range of riding helmets here!

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