Safety is huge when it comes to any sport/hobby, but especially when riding a horse. A popular thing among equestrians is a helmet. Helmets are a great way to keep your head protected while riding. It has saved lives and protected against severe injuries. They are a great item to have, but there are some myths out there about helmets. It is important to find the right helmet to make sure that you are safe and protected while riding. Today we are going to go over some do's and don'ts to help you choose the perfect helmet for you!
Helmet Myths: Just like every thing in life, there are some false facts out there regarding helmets.
1. "Bike helmets are safe for riding horses"
While a bike helmet looks pretty close to a riding helmet, they are very different. Bike helmets are strong, but they are not built to the same design as equestrian helmets. They also don't match the safety standards. Equestrian helmets are tested to protect against riding specific accidents. They offer added protection to certain areas of the body that are in most danger, like the back of the head.
2."All helmets are created equal"
All certified ASTM/SEI helmets go through an approval process. Even the higher priced helmets have to meet these minimum safety standards. The higher priced ones may exceed the same testing standards and they may have more options. This may include more padding, different styles, or different materials, but they do meet the same safety standards. It is best to figure out which is most beneficial to you.
3. "Speed increases the risk of injury"
Speed is a factor, but the risk of injury really depends on how far you are from the ground. If you are traveling 5 mph or 35 mph, a fall from over 2 feet above the ground can cause an injury. Going faster can be scary, but you can get just as hurt at a walk. It all depends on the situation, how far you fall, and how you land. That is why a helmet is so important.
True Helmet Facts: Let's get to know the true facts to keep your head protected!
1. "Helmets need to be replaced"
If you are in a riding accident, regardless if it is serious or not, your helmet should be replaced. Just because the surface looks fine doesn't mean that the fall didn't cause some sort of invisible damage to the helmet. If there is something defected that you can't see, it can result in less protection if an accident happens in the future. Even if a helmet has not been in an accident or fall, you should replace it after 5 years of use.
2. "A used helmet can be a deadly risk"
A used helmet may be a less expensive option, but again with the invisible damage. There could be some sort of defect that can't be seen that could compromise your safety. If there are visible distress marks, definitely do not get that one. A helmet that has been in a fall looses its integrity.
3. "All riding helmets should be ASTM/SEI approved"
A proper ASTM/SEI approved helmet can prevent significant injury or even death. Helmets that are certified with ASTM/SEI have undergone testing to prove the design is safe and will prevent injury.
4. "Head injuries are cumulative"
Hitting your head is never a good thing, especially more than once. Research has shown that injuring your head can be made worse if you have a history of head related injuries. Getting numerous concussions can cause long term damage to your brain.
5. "Fit is everything"
It is super important that your helmet is approved/certified, but it also needs to fit correctly to do its job. A helmet needs to be firm, but comfortable. It should not easily shift back and forth and the chin strap should be snug. A correct strap should sit against the chin, below the ear. A little trick to tell if your helmet fits is put it on your head without buckling it. Then tip your head upside down. If the helmet stays put without being secure, it should be a good fit for you. If you are unsure on fit, never be afraid to ask for help.
Our biggest concern is your SAFETY! Never be afraid to ask us for help and we hope these helmet facts and myths help you in choosing the right one. Horses are our lives, but your noggin is important too!