Just over 100 years ago, horseback riding was one of the most dangerous activities a person could do. A fall from a galloping horse was similar to a fall from a building or tall tree. Horses also have accidents with riders on them. A horse falling could crush or even kill a rider not able to get away from the falling 1000-pound body in time. Fortunately, horseback riding accidents have lowered since horse riding helmets or hard hats came on the market.
The Importance of the ASTM/SEI Label
In the United States, free enterprise means that many hard hats sold as horse riding helmets are not sturdy enough to protect the head from a blow or a fall. Ones that are carry a label inside of the hat. It reads simply “ASTM” or “ASTM/SEI.” What do these funny letters mean? ASTM stands for the American Safety Testing Institute and SEI stands for Safety Equipment Institute. In the 1980s, these two organizations started testing horse riding helmets to see how they would stand up to impacts. Those that pass get the label. These are the only hats safe enough for even galloping on horseback.
There are only seven approved manufacturers of ASTM/SEI labelled hard hats are currently available in the United States. They are:
- Australian Holdings
- Charles Owens & Company, Ltd.
- Del Mar Helmet Company, Inc.
- Equine Science Marketing, Ltd.
- International Helmets, also known as International Riding Helmets.
- Lexington Safety Products, Inc.
Main Horse Riding Helmet Suppliers
Here are a few equestrian apparel suppliers that sell these approved horse riding helmets.
Troxel specializes in horse riding helmets and helmets for no other industry. They ship all around the world for all riding disciplines, including hard hats that can be worn under cowboy hats. Many of their hard hats can be purchased for under $100, although the Cheyenne helmet for Western riders is $169.99.
State Line Tack
The little mail-order tack shop from Pennsylvania that could is one of the nation’s most popular dealers of International Riding Helmets from International Helmets. Hard hats average $125 to $250. They also ship internationally.
Rainbow’s End Tack Shop
This online mail-order company sells new and used horse riding helmets from Charles Owens & Company, Ltd. and International Riding Helmets. They also sell colorful and stylish machine-washable covers for horse riding helmets. Hard hats cost in a range from $50 to $150.
The online mail-order company from Maryland features a wide range of products for English and Western riders and offers free shipping on all orders over $150. They supply a range of horse riding helmets made by Troxel, International Riding Helmets, Charles Owens & Company, Ltd. and Del Mar Helmet Company. Hard hats range in price from $30 to $330.
The top of the line equestrian tack and apparel appeal to horse lovers around the world. Dover Saddlery features a wide variety of horse riding helmets, including International Riding Helmets, Charles Owen and Troxel hard hats. Prices range from $50 to $1050.
This mail-order company specializes in equipment for jockeys and only jockeys. Horse riding helmets sold include those that are manufactured and tested in other parts of the world such as Australia and the United Kingdom. Prices range from $65 to $1100.
Maintenance Tips for Horse Riding Helmets
Help your new hard hat help you to protect your head by following these simple tips:
- Keep your new helmet away from extremely hot and humid environments, such as in attics. Extreme heat can warp the hard shell of a helmet and make it not only not fit any more but unable to fully protect your head in the case of a fall or blow.
- Replace your hard hat after every severe fall or blow such as getting kicked in the head by a horse. The hard hat may still look and feel solid but the blow will have weakened its structure. Better to be safe than sorry.
- To keep a horse riding helmet clean and scratch-free, store it in a helmet bag.
- The lining of a helmet will get sweaty or wet eventually. Let the interior air-dry before storing it. NEVER place a wet helmet in a clothes dryer or use a hair-dryer on it. This will warp the hard core.
- Never spray a horse riding helmet with insect repellent or fly-spray because the chemicals in the repellant can discolor or damage the exterior. Velveteen-covered hats are especially prone to this.
- When taking a hard hat off for a few minutes, such as between show classes, place it upside down on a flat surface. This helps keep the brim from breaking.
- Check your helmet before and after every ride for any cracks, wobbling or dents which means the helmet is damaged. It’s best to buy two horse riding helmets so you always have a spare.
- Hard hats with a velvet or velveteen cover should never be washed with detergents. Let the hat air dry and then remove dirt with a stiff brush.
Helmets for horse riding are extremely important foryour safety. No matter what type of equine sport you may engage in, it’s paramount that you have a sturdy helmet you can rely on in case anything goes South. Take caution over carelessness and order yourself one today!
Images from depositphotos.com.