The Most Popular Helmet Brands by Discipline
Choosing a riding helmet is a challenge. With dozens of brands to choose from, how do you narrow down your search? We break down a few of the top brands based on their price points and disciplines. Turns out, there’s something for everyone (even you, Western riders).
The best helmet brands are those that rigorously test their products and meet current safety standards. Some brands, like Charles Owen, excel at making dressage helmets while other brands, like GPA and Tipperary, will please jumpers and eventers. Kask is a solid choice for hunters and endurance riders, while Resistol Ridesafe makes the perfect helmet for Western disciplines.
Many of the top-rated brands are expensive, but some (including Tipperary) offer budget-friendly options.
Riding Helmet Basics
In order to choose the best helmet, you need to focus on two important things: safety and size.
Always choose a brand that meets ASTM/SEI certifications.
When it comes to size, measure your head and compare your number to the available size chart for the best fit. Many brands include extra padding or adjustable dials to make getting the perfect fit even easier.
History of Riding Helmets
Riding helmets started out in the late 1700s as top hats, which were more about fashion than safety. The top hat transitioned to a bowler in 1849.
Helmets, in general, experienced some serious innovations in the early 1900s (led by leading equestrian helmet maker Charles Owen).
The death of a jockey in 1956 led to the first helmet mandate and in the 1980s, the Pony Club adopted official helmet standards.
What started as plastic and velvet has evolved into so much more. Here are some common materials:
- Nylon webbing
- Hard plastic
- Rubberized plastic
The correct way to size a helmet is by measuring the circumference of your head.
Some brands include extra padding and/or dials to ensure the best fit.
What’s in a Brand?
Some things to consider when deciding on a brand include product testing, trust, helmet styles, fit based on your face shape and head size, and price points.
Best Riding Helmet Brands
|Category||Brand||Price Point||You’ll Love Them If:|
|Dressage||Charles Owen||$$-$$$||Triple safety-rated, multiple designs and styles|
|Hunters, Endurance||Kask||$$-$$$||Multiple safety ratings, elegant designs|
|Jumping, Racing||GPA||$-$$$||Designs tailored for multiple disciplines|
|Eventing, Schooling||Tipperary||$-$$||Multiple designs in a range of affordable prices|
|Western||Resistol||$||Classic Western look with ASTM certified safety|
Best Riding Helmet Brands
- Country of Origin: Britain
- Where Manufactured: UK
- Approximate Price Points: $225-$800
- Disciplines Where the Brand Excels: Dressage, Showjumping, Eventing
- They meet three different safety standards
- Range of prices
- Different styles for different disciplines
- Varying levels of ventilation
- Quality-looking finishes
- These are some of the pricey helmets available, so best suited for serious riders or professionals
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Where Manufactured: Italy
- Approximate Price Points: $500-$800
- Disciplines Where the Brand Excels
- Multiple safety standards
- Top of the line ventilation systems
- Soft chinstraps
- Breathable materials
- These helmets will do a number on your wallet, especially if you do modifications (adding Swarovski crystals can bring the price to $1,300!)
- Country of Origin: France
- Where Manufactured: France
- Approximate Price Points: $400-$1100
- Disciplines Where the Brand Excels: Jumping, Racing
- Large visors
- Washable linings
- Multiple safety ratings
- Classy, elegant designs
- Excellent ventilation
- These helmets may be expensive, but you can find options customized for every riding discipline
- Country of Origin: Canada
- Where Manufactured: Multiple locations
- Approximate Price Points: $100-$430
- Disciplines Where the Brand Excels: Eventing, Schooling
- Some options feature MIPS technology
- Designs for multiple disciplines
- Elegant finishes
- Top-quality ventilation systems
- Foam padding
- Not necessarily suitable for dressage (style-wise)
- Country of Origin: USA
- Where Manufactured: Texas
- Approximate Price Points:$300
- Disciplines Where the Brand Excels: Western events
- Felt and straw options
- ABS material shell
- EPS foam
- Adjustable dial for best fit
- Classic Western look
- Looks a little bulky
- Convincing most Western riders to wear a helmet is difficult (I guess you could say they’re hard-headed 😉 )
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best equestrian helmet brand?
There really is no one-best brand because it’s more about fit and preference. As long as the helmet meets safety standards and sits securely on your head, choose the one you like best.
Q: What is the safest horse riding helmet brand?
Any brand that’s ASTM rated is safe, but I tend to lean towards Charles Owen. They have three international safety standards met (ASTM, PAS, and VG) and many of their helmets include MIPS technology, which adds a layer of protection.
ASTM/SEI is also a popular certification combination. You’ll see this on most of the leading helmets in the market.
Q: How much does a good horse riding helmet cost?
A good helmet will cost anywhere from $100 to $800, depending on the brand and style.
There are cheaper options in the $50-$75 range, but these don’t last as long. There are also more expensive options, if you’re able to make a larger investment.
Q: What helmets do dressage riders wear?
Dressage riders tend to favor Charles Owen helmets. One K also offers some great options.
Q: Are Kask equestrian helmets safe?
Yes! Like other top-of-the-line brands, Kask helmets are considered to be quite safe. They meet multiple safety standards, including ASTM, VG, and SEI.
There’s no wrong way to go with equestrian helmets as long as the company meets safety standards. More often than not, your final choice will come down to budget and style, so don’t be afraid to take some time to scope out the available options.
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