The Importance of Helmet on Horseback

Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Allison Price

I have ridden a horse and the feeling of not being secured makes me uncomfortable. Riding a horse is dangerous. I’m not going into details on horse-related injury and fatality. They are far from straightforward. Not everybody likes to wear a helmet. But when you consider the safety benefits, it’s a compelling argument.

Reasons Why Some Don’t Wear A Helmet on Horseback

Some horse riders prefer to not wear a helmet. There are a lot of excuses for not wearing a helmet. Most well-trained horses can cause injury only if they are startled or hurt. A helmet will not make you invincible. But it will help you protect the one part of your body that is the hardest to fix – the brain. Avoid using these excuses, use approved riding helmet every time you ride.

Willing to Take the Risk

You might be thinking that it is your head and you are willing to take the risk. We cannot tell when accidents happen. What if your head meets an arena wall, rock, or hard ground? Head injuries can lead to debilitation.

Deduction of Points in the Show Ring

Western riders and other riders who compete might feel they will be penalized. But there is no justification for valuing fashion and tradition over safety. Certified helmets are required headgear for competitive riding events. Especially if the horse and rider must jump or work at high speed.

Knowing Safety Dismounts

Emergency dismounts and stops are useful skills to learn. But they are not guaranteed to be as effective. They do not replace a helmet if you fall. Falls happen so quickly without you knowing you are about to fall off.

Helmets Can Cause Headaches

The solution to this problem in most cases is not to avoid using a helmet but to look for one that fits. For some, the problem might not even be the helmet but dehydration. Riding is a sport. Like any athlete, you have to take care of yourself the right way. Take care of yourself especially when heat and stress take their toll.

You Are an Experienced Rider

Most riders who are injured had an average of 27 years of riding experience. New riders had a relatively small injury. No one is exempted from the possibility of being in an accident.

Helmets Are Expensive

Approved helmets may cost an amount. But this is a small expense compared to an emergency room visit, hospital stay, and long-term care. Use a schooling helmet during training or exercise.

You Prefer to Wear Another Type of Helmet

Riding helmets are specifically designed to withstand a fall from a height or a blow by a hoof. Other helmets are not made to protect the head from these incidents.

How Does A Riding Helmet Protect Your Head?

Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by limiting the impact of a collision on the head. Helmets act as a barrier between the skull and whatever is causing the impact. It disperses the impact force over a wider area to prevent a concentrated impact in one area. At the same time, the helmet absorbs the energy of the impact. Thus, the force that the brain and skull fell is reduced.

Riding helmets are designed as well to reduce the risk of penetration by a sharp object. Its hard outer shell protects the head from sharp objects. Make sure that they fit right and that the chin strap is fastened securely.

Should I Wear A Helmet While Riding a Horse?

A lot of us are guilty of not wearing a helmet when riding outside. There are many cases of people having serious injuries. Some are even killed when they were involved in an accident and were not wearing a helmet.

Other than for safety, we need to wear a helmet for legality. But it depends on your country or area. In the UK (United Kingdom), you are required to wear a helmet until you reach 16 years old. If you are having a lesson, it is a rule to wear one at all times regardless of your age. The same also in Ireland. It is generally required for English riders but not in western if you are over 18 years old. Some states need children under the age of 14 years old to wear a helmet that is fastened securely. They must also follow specific regulations. Adult horse riders must also follow this rule. But there is no legal obligation to do so.

Some people ask if they can make a claim as a result of an injury while out riding and they were not wearing a helmet. There is a high possibility that your compensation will be reduced. Because your injuries could have been reduced but you did not protect yourself from the risk.

Choosing the Right Riding Helmet

For you to get the right helmet, the most important thing is to measure your head. Most track shops and saddlers will do this for you. But it doesn’t hurt to know what helmet size you need beforehand. Use a dressmaker’s tape around the widest part of your head. This will give you a size that you can use to compare against the manufacturer’s size chart. Each manufacturer has their own size chart. There will be some variations between them.

Once you know what helmet size you need, you can then begin to try them on. A correctly fixed helmet should sit snugly. It should cover your entire skull and even have pressure all around. There should be no gaps. The helmet should not ride up or fall down. Helmet’s brim should be around two fingers above the eyebrows.

If you find yourself happy that the helmet fits properly, adjust then the chin strap. It should fit under your chin and hold the helmet in place. If it’s too tight, it will become uncomfortable against your throat right away. You can adjust the harness of some riding helmets so that it fits around your ears.


If you are riding your own horse on your own property, you will probably not be penalized. Every country has its own set of laws about wearing a riding helmet on horses. If you are in a competition, you need a helmet that meets the latest standards. Your health and safety must be the top priority.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!