What Are The Best Horse Riding Helmets?

Buying Guide for Horse Riding Helmets

Are you wearing a helmet when you hop on your horse? Has your child recently taken up riding? After reading this article you will find the best horse riding helmets for your needs.

Whether you are a beginner equestrian or a seasoned rider, having the right helmet for your style of riding is a must!

When you are in the ring or working with your favorite horse, the proper riding helmet protects you against injury.

Aside from your personal preference, there is no reason to leave the helmet at home. So, how do you know you are buying the right helmet?

What to Look for in a Horseback Riding Helmet

The United States Equestrian Federal (USEF) found a correlation between riders that took jumping classes and head injuries.

In fact, in 2011 the USEF passed new safety helmet rules for eventing and dressage riders because of their commitment to protect both human and equine athletes.  USEF President said, “If the technology is available to reduce head injuries, the time to use it is now.”

Riding helmets are different than those for other sports because they withstand a fall from a height. Helmets you have laying around the garage, like a bicycle helmet, is not made to protect your skull from a high drop.

The features to look for in a riding helmet is the product quality, durability of the helmet, the comfort level of the product, and the style or appearance of it. The selection of your helmet depends on your riding style, what you are doing out in the field, and what your style happens to be.

  • Sizing for a Helmet: One of the most significant reasons adults don’t like to wear helmets is the reported headaches caused by this piece of equipment. It should be snug on your head but not uncomfortable. Your helmet should not wobble when on the head, does not move when you are upside down, and the brim needs to be at least one inch above your eyebrows. Keep it secure on your head.
  • Riding discipline. For most functional riders, look at the primary reason you ride and select your helmet for that use. Troxel makes excellent trail riding helmets while Charles Owen is known for showing.
  • Colors or design. Black is traditional, with velveteen being the show helmet look, but if you are a recreational rider, there are fun helmets out with patterns like feathers, flowers, and plaids on them.

Riding requires the right fitting shoes, clothing, and saddles. Don’t overlook your helmet when getting on the horse. Don’t know where to start? Visit a store and try on different helmets to see what type you naturally prefer.

2 Types of Riding Helmets

As a general rule, horseback riding helmets fall into two categories: schooling and trail riding helmets, or show helmets.

School and trail helmets are more lightweight and ventilated for long-term use. They are the kind of helmet you can throw around, drop in the mud, and wear when you are learning.

Unlike show helmets, they aren’t made with traditional materials but easy to clean vinyl. You can spray off a trail helmet and dry it in two seconds with a towel.

This helmet type is more affordable than show options.

Show helmets come in standard colors like blacks and browns. While some shows require velveteen looks, a helmet cover can achieve that look. Try a traditional helmet with a rubberized finish you can cover for shows.

Bicycle Helmets versus Riding Helmets: How do they Differ?

Horseback riding helmets are different than others in appearance and function. Both Western and English styles but cover moves of the back of the rider’s head and provides protection for this specific area because of high falls.

In comparison, a bicycle helmet relies on comfort foam which offers minimal protection and liner material at the top of the head. A mass-produced bicycle helmet comes with less exact sizing than a riding helmet. It is common for a riding helmet in a few sizes with sizing pads available for a snug fit on the head.

During testing, a bicycle helmet gets exposed to flat surfaces to mimic falling on the ground or against something.

Equestrian helmet testing involves exposure to a large, sharp anvil on the helmet to simulate a horse’s hoof. Finally, if you are riding a horse and expect insurance coverage from a manufacturer’s claim, you need a helmet designed specifically for horseback riding to make a claim.  

Wear a Riding Helmet Every Time You Ride for Safety

Before every game, a football player pulls on his helmet. In fact, even when practicing a football player wears a helmet.

You are getting on a large animal with a mind of its own, so why not put on a helmet as well?

Even when it is just for a quick ride to exercise your horse, a helmet is just about your safety.

According to the United States Eventing Association (USEA), there has been a 40 percent decrease in rider injuries between 2007 and 2011 thanks to the attention to safety during eventing. This proves that wearing helmets, even in shows, decreased injuries.

Getting used to this new feature could save your life. You just never know if your horse will step on a wasp’s nest, feel upset and throw you, or even give you an accidental taste of the hard ground. The benefits of wearing an approved riding helmet include:

  • Decreasing the amount of risk you take when on a horse
  • Even if you are trained in dismounts, unexpected problems happen
  • Helmets are not proven to cause headaches
  • No matter your years of experience, injuries still occur
  • Fit your head specifically

The Best Horseback Riding Helmets

Pull on your riding helmet to protect your head with a fabric lining, foam padding, a fiberglass outer shell, a polystyrene liner, and a strap to hold it all in place. The elements combine to protect your head and keep you safe from serious injury. Whether you are looking for an adult helmet for yourself or a child horseback riding helmet, it is important to select the appropriate sized helmet.

Best Helmet for Learning: Troxel Spirit Schooling Helmet

Troxel Spirit Schooling Helmet

If you’ve spent any time riding horses, you’ve probably seen Troxel helmets around the barn. The Troxel Spirit Schooling Helmet is a lightweight schooling helmet designed for multi-discipline use. This helmet is available in fuschia, mint, mint with a horse design, periwinkle, and other abstract designs for growing kids that want to show off a bit of personality.

This affordable youth riding helmet is about function, versatility, and venting. You can hose it off when it is dirty; some helmets come with an adjustable dial fit for growing kids and children, and mesh-covered vents for breathability. They’ve sold more than one million of the schooling helmet!


  • Troxel’s sizing system allows you to adjust the helmet’s circumference as your child grows.
  • Available in cute colors for adults and children wanting to show a bit of flair.
  • This product is easy to clean in case you fall or drop the helmet.
  • Ventilation keeps you fresh in warm climates, unlike bulky, traditional helmets which stifle your head.


  • This helmet does not suit adults as much as children. The brand specializes in products for growing heads!

Best Helmet for Showing: The Charles Owen Wellington Professional Helmet 

The Charles Owen Wellington Professional Helmet

Do you show with your horse? The subtle but stylish Charles Owen Wellington Professional Helmet meets show requirements but also uses innovations. For example, the helmet has a suede harness on the back of your head for maximum comfort and ventilation holes that cool but don’t break standards.

You might find yourself wearing this helmet for learning and showing.


  • Riders can wear this helmet for at least six years
  • Suitable for hunter and jumper riding
  • Fits safely and well with a hairnet for thick, long hair


  • Heavy for some users
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    Easy harness adjustment requires the assistance of another person

Best Helmet for Adults in Hot Weather: Ovation Extreme Helmet

Ovation Extreme Helmet

Do you live in a hot climate? Stay cool and still protect your head with the Ovation Extreme Helmet. It comes with a range of innovative features to cool off including a washable liner, Coolmax fabric that is moisture-wicking and breathable, and multiple high-flow vents for air flow.


  • Stainless steel air vent stops bacterial growth
  • Removable liner can be washed easily
  • Adjustable dial fits your head with different hairstyle changes


  • Rubberized finish does not suit all preferences
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    Only available in traditional colors

Best Helmet for Style: Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet

Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet

Want to wear a cowboy hat? You can start with the Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet. It makes an excellent option for kids that want to visit a dude ranch, ride the trails, and learn about riding. This helmet also protects the brain of the toughest cowboy.

Made with 7X fur felt and a brim-shaped like your favorite cowboy hat, the Resistol RideSafe Western Hat Helmet is stylish. It makes a great option for kids that want to visit a dude ranch, ride the trails, and learn about riding. Protect your head with this option for kids and adults. Be sure to follow the fit instructions when buying this helmet.


  • Brim can be shaped
  • 7x Fur Felt
  • Comfort Dial ASTM/SEI approved


  • Limited Colors Available

Stay Safe with the Perfect Horseback Riding Helmet

No matter your reason for riding, a helmet should be on your head for your safety. Even the most experienced riders suffer injuries because of surprises or accidents. Just add it to your outfit, like you would a nice pair of boots. 

In a statistical analysis conducted by Ball, Ball, and Kirkpatrick on Canadian adults suffering from horse-related trauma, it was found that the average injured rider had 27 years of experience. Any one of our recommended horseback riding helmets protects the rider and meets all federal safety standards.