Best equestrian sport helmet

Sports Apparel

Because horseback riders suffer higher rates of traumatic brain injury than any other sport, a well-fitted equestrian sport helmet is a must.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

 

Which equestrian sport helmet is best?

Horseback riding is a challenging but rewarding activity. From dressage to ranch roping, a day spent in the saddle can be invigorating and fulfilling. Riders know how important it is to have the proper equipment for comfort and safety. A good saddle, a sturdy bridle and proper footwear are just the beginning. Perhaps the most crucial piece of equipment is a proper equestrian sport helmet.

For high safety standards and streamlined good looks, the Charles Owen AYR8 Helmet Plus is a good choice.

What to know before you buy an equestrian sport helmet

Equestrian sport helmets come in a variety of styles, and each rider has their own personal preference as to what looks and feels good while they are undersaddle. However, there are a few things to consider for every type of helmet.

Type of riding

The type of riding you do might affect your helmet choice. People schooling race horses will need a different type of helmet than three-day eventers. 

Additionally, your style of riding might require specific helmets in the show ring as opposed to when you are schooling or just hacking around. Check with your instructor or the discipline’s governing body before purchasing your equestrian sport helmet.

Safety requirements

Your equestrian sport helmet needs to be certified as safe. In the U.S., the “ASTM/SEI” mark means that your helmet meets minimum safety standards. International safety standards are different and might include the following notes: VG1, PAS 015, EN 1384:2017.

Aesthetics

While safety is the most important feature of your equestrian sport helmet, looking good can increase your confidence as you ride. Try a few options to find what suits your style best.

What to look for in a quality equestrian sport helmet

Removable liners

Removable helmet liners keep your helmet feeling fresh and clean in the sweatiest months of the year. This small detail can also provide more comfort and help customize the fit of your equestrian sport helmet, too.

Vents

Even a few well-placed vents can offer a cooling breeze on the warmest days. Look for vents on either side and in the back for optimum cooling.

Visors

Visors provide protection from glare, which can be important for long days spent in the saddle. Look for sturdy visors that can be removed. 

Some helmets offer detachable visors that are bigger for even more protection. You will likely not use these in the show ring, but they are great for hacking about.

Helmet covers

Helmet covers can change the look of your helmet in a snap. This is great if money is tight and your helmet needs to work double duty in the schooling and show ring. Simply add a black velvet helmet cover for the show and be on your way to a ribbon.

Adjustable fit

Some equestrian sport helmets come with an adjustable fit option. Fit might be adjusted using a dial at the back of the helmet, or you might have to add and remove padding.

Some riders prefer a fit that does not need adjusting. In that case, select an equestrian sport helmet that is measured with a specific head size for the best fit right out of the box.

How much you can expect to spend on an equestrian sport helmet

The price of equestrian sport helmets can be shocking. While the most affordable options can be purchased for around $50, riding helmets can cost upwards of $500. 

Equestrian sport helmet FAQ

Can you use a bicycle helmet for horseback riding?

A. Equestrian sport helmets are designed to protect against specific injuries that can occur when riding a horse. This means that other types of helmet will not provide adequate protection. Do not use bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets or skateboarding helmets for horseback riding.

How do you fit an equestrian sport helmet?

A. Proper fit is critical for the best protection. Look for the following in a properly fitted helmet.

  • It should sit just above your eyebrows.
  • It should move slightly when you lift and lower your eyebrows.
  • It should not leave indentations on your forehead when it is removed. 
  • The chin strap should fit comfortably in the crook of your neck  .
  • The chin strap should not pinch, squeeze or slide forward with your mouth open. 

Test the chin strap for proper fit by opening and closing your jaw. If it does not pinch but fits comfortably, the fit is good.

What ARE the best equestrian sport helmetS to buy?

Top equestrian sport helmet 

Charles Owen AYR8 Helmet Plus

Charles Owen AYR8 Helmet Plus

What you need to know: Made in the U.K., this helmet offers unbeatable protection.

What you’ll love: This helmet features a low-profile design for classic styling and good looks. Front and back vents keep you cool, and sizing is based on head size for a better fit.

What you should consider: Even with the vents, this helmet gets pretty warm.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top equestrian sport helmet for the money

IRH 4G Helmet

IRH 4G Helmet

What you need to know: This stylish helmet looks great for both schooling and competition.

What you’ll love: The quick-release snap and removable liners make this helmet comfortable and easy to care for. Riders love the low-profile look and on-trend styling.

What you should consider: The logo is prominent, and some riders did not appreciate that.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Ovation Unisex Extreme

Ovation Unisex Extreme

What you need to know: This lightweight helmet is comfortable for even the most grueling competitions.

What you’ll love: Easily adjust the fit of this light helmet with the dial at the back. The removable Coolmax liner and side vents keep riders comfortable in warm weather. Helmet strap, clip and buckles stay clear of the face for good looks and better peripheral vision.

What you should consider: The visor is removable but flimsy and easily breaks off.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.