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Tot to Trot: 5 Best Riding Helmets for Toddlers

Best-Toddler-Riding-Helmet
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Written by Annabelle A.

The stakes are high when choosing child riding helmets, so do your homework up front.

It used to be nearly impossible to find a horseback riding helmet for children under the age of eight. A generation ago it wasn’t uncommon to see toddlers riding horses in a bicycle helmet — or wearing no helmet at all.

Thanks to more brands entering the market (e.g. Tipperary Sportage Toddler Helmet), now you can choose a child’s helmet specifically designed with tiny equestrians in mind.

Top 5 Toddler Horse Riding Helmets

Helmet Pros Cons
Troxel Legacy (Amazon)
  • Popular Design
  • Great for Oval Heads
  • Bulky
  • Narrow Fit
Ovation Deluxe (Amazon)
  • Comes in XXS
  • Low Profile
  •  Long Chin Strap
Tipperary Sportage (State Line Tack)
  • Full Coverage
  • Reflective Strip
  • Can Sit Too Low on Some
Troxel Spirit (Amazon)
  • FlexVisor
  • FlipFold Headliner
  • Heavy/Bulky
  • Scratches Easily
Equi-Lite for Kids (Amazon)
  • Affordable
  • Dial-Fit System
  • Lower Quality Materials

A Few Notes: Investing in a well-fitting, equestrian-specific helmet is one of the best things you can do for your child.

While the options are limited for the pre-school crowd, you still have several options for quality riding gear. Smaller sizes of helmets adjust easily, which means you won’t be replacing them constantly as your child grows and will get your money’s worth.

Many parents use the same helmet for children of different ages without issue, simply by adjusting a quick fit dial (if the helmet has one) before each use.

Troxel Legacy

Troxel is a well known name in the riding world and their Legacy helmet for toddlers is a popular choice for young riders.

It comes in a variety of colors and designs (including a cartoon unicorn that toddlers love!) and is easily adjustable.

Click to see it on Amazon

PROS:

  • ASTM/SEI-certified
  • Cute designs and colors
  • Removable and washable liner
  • Adjustable sizing with a dial

CONS:

  • Narrow fit is not a great option for rounder heads
  • Can appear bulky on smaller heads

See customer reviews on Amazon

Ovation Deluxe Toddler Schooler Helmet

Another popular name in the riding world, Ovation makes what may be the smallest helmet currently on the market.

With a classic look, this lightweight helmet comes in a solid black and a couple of fun colors.

Ovation-Toddler-Riding-Helmet

Click to see it on Amazon

PROS:

  • ASTM/SEI-certified
  • Available in XXS
  • Low profile
  • Removable and washable liner
  • Adjustable sizing with a dial

CONS:

  • Chin strap runs long and needs adjusting
  • Straps are only adjustable on one side

See customer reviews on Amazon

Learn more about how to protect yourself and the ones you love in our article about the Best Horseback Riding Safety Equipment.

Tipperary Sportage Toddler Helmet

A popular helmet for older riders, the Tipperary Sportage Toddler comes in a classic black and a bright pink kids will love.

This helmet is often praised for being comfortable with padding inside and along the chin strap.

tipperary-toddler-helmet

Click to see it on State Line Tack

PROS:

  • ASTM/SEI-certified
  • Lightweight
  • Extended coverage with drop back
  • Reflective strip for increased visibility

CONS:

  • It may sit too low on the forehead for some kids
  • Sizing can be inconsistent, so trying before buying is ideal

See customer reviews on State Line Tack

Troxel Spirit

Another option from Troxel, the Legacy comes in a variety of colors and designs, including everything from plain black to a graphic design with a roaring T-Rex.

With a new FlipFold removable headliner and FlexVisor, the redesigned Spirit has some unique features you may not find on other helmets.

Click to see it on Amazon

PROS:

  • ASTM/SEI-certified
  • Easy to adjust
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Flip-fold removable headliner

CONS:

  • Smaller ventilation holes than other models
  • Heavier and bulkier than some options
  • Scratches easily

See customer reviews on Amazon

Trying to beat the heat? Check out our 8 Best Horse Riding Helmets for Hot Weather.

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Equi-Lite for Kids

An entry level option at a an affordable price, the Equi-Lite kids helmet is functional, but may not be as long lasting as some of the more high-end counterparts.

Click to see it on Amazon

PROS:

  • ASTM F1163-15, SEI certified, CE Certified to European EN 1384 Standard
  • Three-point easy-on, easy-off harness
  • Adjustable with Dial-Fit System
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • Visor can break more easily
  • Inconsistent outer sheen

See customer reviews on Amazon

Toddler Horse Riding Gear

While a helmet should be your first priority, you may also want to pick up some other apparel and gear for lessons and/or showing.

There are plenty of cute options to choose from in a variety of styles and colors available on Amazon and State Line Tack.

Click to see toddler riding boots on Amazon

Toddler Horse Riding Boots:

Toddler Riding Pants:

toddler-horse-riding-shirt

Click to see this show shirt on State Line Tack

Toddler Riding Show Clothes:

Other Toddler Riding Essentials:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should toddlers be riding?

There is no specific age where it is considered “standard” to start riding, but many barns have policies that require children to be 5-7 years old prior to beginning lessons.

Always remember that horses are large and sometimes unpredictable animals and, like any sport, horseback riding does come with risks.

It’s up to the parents and instructor to determine if a child is ready, but there are many things to consider, including:

  • The child’s ability to follow instructions
  • The temperament of the horse
  • Whether the child has the strength and coordination to properly ride
  • If the child is large enough to fit the appropriate equipment
  • Most importantly, if the child wants to ride and enjoys it!

For the youngest riders, extra safety precautions can be taken, including having extra adults available during the lesson, never taking the horse off of a lead rope, and not going faster than a walk.

Q: What size riding helmet do I need for my toddler?

Measure an inch above your child’s eyebrows and use the manufacturer’s guidelines as a starting point.

A properly fitting helmet should not move when shaking your head up and down or back and forth and should be tight enough that it tugs on the skin when pulled on.

If you’re not sure about whether a helmet fits properly, ask your instructor to check it out.

Q: Can you ride a horse with a baby?

Riding with an infant is NOT recommended due to the risk of injury.

If you’re interested in learning more about riding while pregnant, however, read our article about horse riding while pregnant.

Q: How long do riding helmets last?

Read our article about how often to replace horseback riding helmets.

Q: Can you wear a bike helmet for horse riding?

NO!

A quick glance at a riding helmet and a bike helmet makes it obvious that the two are not entirely comparable. However, the differences are far more than aesthetic.

Helmets are carefully designed to offer wearers the best possible protection against the types of impacts most common to that activity.

Always use a helmet designed specifically for equestrian riders.

Q: How do you fit a horse riding helmet properly?

Children are especially sensitive to pressure points in their helmets, and you’ll want to find an option that sits securely on the head without being uncomfortable.

While all of the options we’ve listed are adjustable and should last you a few years, a rounder head will often prefer different helmets than more oval heads.

You’ll also want to check the helmet’s fit before each ride, since toddlers grow in spurts!

Be sure to replace your horse riding helmet if you notice any signs of wear that could compromise safety or after a hard fall.

Helmets are not designed to be used again after a major impact.

Care for Your Horse-Crazy Kiddo

Buying your first toddler helmet and learning the safety precautions needed for riding may seem like a daunting task. 

But, it’s an essential step in setting you and your child up for a safe, successful experience that will hopefully lead to a life-long equestrian passion!

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, trot on over to:

 

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About the author

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Annabelle A.

My parents owned a boarding facility and ran a lesson program throughout my childhood, so I was quite literally raised in a barn! As an adult, I've owned and shown two horses and now love watching my own children learn to ride. I also loved watching my sisters show on their college equestrian teams.