Apparel Gear Riding

9 Best Helmets for Eventing to Stay Safe and Stand Out

best helmets for eventing
Written by Horse Rookie

Mind Your Melon on Course

Eventers are notoriously versatile, brave, and driven equestrians. And, given they compete across dressage, show jumping, and cross country, the most important piece of gear they need is a high-quality helmet.

Many eventers even opt for multiple helmets, depending on the phase they’re riding (e.g. separate helmet for dressage). Whether you buy one or several, helmets must be rigorously tested, suitable to showing standards for your discipline, and fit your head very well. 

Rookie Tip: When ordering a helmet online, get a couple different sizes and brands — then return those that don’t work once you try them on at home.

This article provides an overview of what to look for when buying an eventing helmet, as well the best brands to consider.

If you’re stocking up on cross country gear, be sure to head over to our articles about the best eventing stirrups and the best body protectors for eventing!

How to Fit a Horse Riding Helmet

Before we get into our favorite helmets, we need to talk about fitLiking how a helmet looks is far less important than how it performs in an accident. That performance is directly related to having the proper fit for your head.

When fitting a helmet, here are some guidelines:

  • A helmet should fit comfortably, but not too snugly to make your head sore.
  • It should not shift side to side or back and forth when you move around or ride.
  • Put the helmet on and shake your head side to side—if the helmet shifts at all, it is too loose. 
  • Tip your head upside down until the crown of the helmet is pointed at the floor. Fitted correctly, your helmet should remain in place and comfortably snug.

Here’s a quick video tutorial about helmet fitting:

OneK MIPS CSS

One K is one of the few brands that offers helmets with MIPS technology, a cutting-edge design that offers superior security to riders who have had past head trauma or are working with greener or more challenging horses.

onek mips helmet

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) helps protect against rotational motion that is transmitted to the brain from angled impacts to the head. It works by redirecting energies and forces that would otherwise be transmitted to the brain.
  • Comfort padded harness with synthetic suede lining make this helmet as comfortable under your chin as it is on your head.
  • Wide variety of sizes and head shapes available.
  • The two-part construction, with an inner layer that rotates with the head upon impact, makes it one of the safest helmets on the market.
  • The liner is washable, quick-dry, moisture wicking, and anti-microbial.
  • Certified to ASTM standards for safety.

Chief Rookie Aside: Learn more about MIPS technology here.

See the One K MIPS CCS Helmet (Amazon)

Tipperary Sportage 8500

If you’re looking for a helmet that can go from schooling at home to lower-level shows, check out the Sportage 8500. Though not quite as complicated or customizable as some other helmets, it does a solid job of being both reliable and adaptable to any number of head shapes and disciplines.

tipperary sportage helmet

Click to see it at State Line Tack

Key Features:

  • It is truly all-purpose and can be used for any discipline.
  • This helmet keeps you cool in the summer thanks to generous vents (add a helmet liner in the winter).
  • It’s ASTM/SEI certified for safety.
  • Forget about clunky, heavy helmets — this one only weighs 17 ounces.

Chief Rookie Aside: I also ride in a Tipperary Sportage and love it!

See the Tipperary Sportage 8500 (State Line Tack)

OneK Defender

One K helmets are a little pricier than introductory brands like Troxel, but they allow for a much greater variation in fit and style than budget brands.

onek defender

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • One K especially caters to riders who have had past head trauma or are particularly concerned about falls.
  • Certified to ASTM and CE EN standards for safety.
  • The liner is washable, quick-dry, moisture wicking, and anti-microbial.
  • Two center stripe vents help keep you cool on the hottest days.
  • Available in a wide range of head shapes and sizes.
  • Comes in a variety of gorgeous colors like chocolate and navy.

Chief Rookie Aside: Looks aren’t everything, but this helmet design is truly lovely.

See the One K Defender Helmet (Amazon)

Check out our detailed review of the One K Defender Air helmet.

Charles Owen Luna

For everyday schooling or low-budget competitors, try the Charles Owen Luna helmet. The matte black design is especially sleek, regardless of which phase you’re riding, and it’s easy to clean after a long weekend at the horse show.

charles owen helmet

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • 360° ventilation system with additional ventilation on the crown.
  • Slim and low-profile styling with Flexzone peak.
  • Available in black and navy with a washable headband and leather look harness.
  • Meets multiple safety standards (ASTM F1163-15, PAS015:2011, VG1 01-040 2014-12).
  • FSC sustainably sourced and recycled packaging.

See the Charles Owen Luna Helmet (Amazon)

Ovation Deluxe Schooling Helmet

On a tighter budget, but still want quality protection in the event of a fall? Tipperary helmets typically come with interchangeable foam padding which help in fitting a helmet to a small head, as does the adjustable dial in most Ovation helmets.

ovation helmet

Click to see it at State Line Tack

Key Features:

  • This helmet includes an easy-adjust dial to allow for a snugger fit.
  • The Deluxe Schooler is lightweight at under 15 ounces.
  • Exclusive YKK® adjuster clip and buckle is designed to keep off the rider’s face for increased comfort.
  • The visor will safely break away in the event of impact.
  • ASTM F1163-04A/SEI Certified and CE certified to European EN 1384 Standards.

See the Ovation Deluxe Schooling Helmet (State Line Tack)

Charles Owen AYR8 Plus

Charles Owen helmets are commonly seen in dressage arenas, but they can also be a good choice for eventers. If you don’t want to increase your budget for MIPS technology, check out the other options from this brand.

charles owen helmet

Click to see it at State Line Tack

Key Features:

  • Classic design suits all three phases of eventing.
  • 12 front and rear ventilation slots are covered in breathable mesh.
  • Removable and washable headband keeps your helmet looking clean and fresh.
  • Microfibre suede and leather-look coating combines design and practicality.
  • Available in regular and round fit options.
  • ASTM F1163-15, PAS015:2011, VG1 01-040 2014-12.

See the Charles Owen AYR8 Plus Helmet (State Line Tack)

Tipperary Windsor

This Tipperary helmet is suitable for all three phases of eventing competition, and it’s far easier to clean than a microsuede Charles Owen. Plus, it’s got the latest MIPS technology!

tipperary mips helmet

Click to see it at State Line Tack

Key Features:

  • MIPS technology offers superior protection by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies during a fall.
  • Comfort comes standard, as this helmet accommodates a variety of head shapes and hair styles.
  • The matte black finish is easy to clean and mark-resistant.
  • An adjustable 5-point harness includes a removable chin pad.
  • ASTM F1163-15 and SEI Certified for safety.

See the Tipperary Windsor MIPS Helmet (State Line Tack)

Charles Owen Pro II Plus

Though this helmet is on the upper end for budget, the Charles Owen Pro II Plus Helmet is a great choice for eventers. With a traditional skull cap style, but all the latest technology, this choice is perfect for “phase three.”

eventing helmet

Click to see it at SmartPak

Key Features:

  • This helmet is the only triple-standard, precision-fitting cross-country skull cap on the market.
  • The sized liner system allows for an adaptable fit, and it’s replaceable to extend the life of your helmet.
  • Front and rear ventilation offer superior cooling.
  • GRpx® technology harness provides unsurpassed stability.
  • Certified by SEI to ASTM F1163-15, VG1 01.040 2014-12, Kitemarked to PAS015:2011, Kitemarked to VG1 01.040 2014-12.

See the Charles Owen Pro II Plus Helmet (SmartPak)

Tipperary Devon MIPS

Most Tipperary helmets are relatively inexpensive, and they hold up longer and better than the very cheapest brands. They do offer a higher-end helmet with MIPS technology too, though, and it’s called the Devon.

tipperary devon mips helmet

Click to see it at Amazon

Key Features:

  • The outer shell of this helmet provides full coverage, and the interior provides a very comfortable fit secured by the Tipperary Retention System.
  • Equipped with the state-of-the-art MIPS Brain Protection System, the Devon is designed to reduce the risk for the rotational motion that can be transferred to your brain as a result of an angled impact.
  • Enjoy the removable, washable comfort liner featuring quick-dry mesh and eight strategically positioned cooling vents.
  • It’s ASTM/SEI certified for safety.

See the Tipperary Devon (Amazon)

What about eventing helmet covers?

If you don’t want to invest in multiple helmets, you can still make a slash on cross country by adding a colorful helmet cover!

You can find a wide range of options at Amazon, or you can even order a customized cover from Etsy.

custom helmet cover

Click to customize at Etsy

Frequently Asked Questions

What size helmet do I need?

The best way to find out what size helmet you are is measuring the circumference of your head with a measuring tape. Most brands of helmets will be measured by head circumference, or they have a chart designating the inches that correspond to each size.

This step-by-step video shows how it’s done:

What are helmets typically made of?

Riding helmets are usually a layer of impact absorbing foam, covered with a shell of plastic, resin (older helmets), or Kevlar.

Should I buy a used helmet?

Definitely not!

Helmets need to be replaced every time a rider hits their head, or every five years. With a used helmet, there is simply no way to tell what stress it may have incurred. Even if cosmetic damage isn’t visible, it may be structurally unsound.

How should I care for my helmet?

Mostly helmets only need to be kept in a temperature regulated environment and dusted occasionally.

What makes a helmet suitable for year-round wear?

Most helmets are designed for all-weather use, but they can get a little chilly in the winter. Wearing a thin hat or scarf under your helmet can help to keep your ears warm in winter months.

Parting Thoughts

Confidence is key for eventers, and feeling good about your ride begins with feeling safe. We hope this article helps you select the eventing helmet that’s right for you!

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!