Riding Helmets

Courtesy of America’s Horse Daily

The facts and myths surrounding horseback riding helmets can help you to make safer riding decisions.

Question: Are bicycle helmets as safe as riding helmets? I saw a news program that said they are safer than riding helmets. Is that true?

For the answer to this question, we consulted the instructors of the Certified Horsemanship Association.

Answer:It is critical that your helmet is SEI/ASTM certifiedfor equestrian sports. The Safety Equipment Institute certifies all kinds of safety equipment for different purposes. They use detailed studies about the types of head injuries common to the sport for which they are certifying the product and the specific types of impacts sustained. They certify equipment for safety in relationship to the specific activities and injuries common to that sport.

As you may have noticed, a bicycle helmet looks quite different than an equestrian helmet, as they are designed to protect from different types of impacts. An equestrian helmet provides protection much lower on the back of the head, which is more commonly needed in horse-related head injuries (basal skull fractures). Also, riding helmets are made to sustain harder impacts, such as a kicking hoof, which may explain why riding helmets can cost more than bicycle helmets.