horse riding

The 9 Best Event Racing Helmets to Stay Safe and Outstanding

The 9 Best Event Racing Helmets to Stay Safe and Outstanding

Mind your watermelon on the track

Riders are known for their versatility, courage, and equestrian leadership. And since they compete via dressage, show jumping and cross country, the most important piece of gear they need is a quality helmet.

Many protestors even choose multiple helmets, depending on the stage they are riding on (such as a separate helmet for dressage). Whether you buy one or several helmets, they should be rigorously tested, appropriate to show your standards of discipline, and fit your head well.

Beginner’s tip: When ordering a helmet online, get two different sizes and brands – then bring back the ones that don’t work once you try them at home.

This article provides an overview of what to look for when buying an occasional helmet, as well as the best brands to consider.

If you’re stocking up on cross-country gear, be sure to head over to our articles on the best event commuters and the best event body protectors!

How to fit a riding helmet

Before we put on our favorite helmets, we need to talk about fit . How liking a helmet looks is much less important than how it performs in an accident. This performance is directly related to getting the right fit for your head.

Here are some guidelines when installing a helmet:

  • The helmet should fit snugly, but not too snugly so as not to hurt your head.
  • It should not shift from side to side or back and forth when moving or riding.
  • Put on the helmet and rock your head side to side – if the helmet ever changes, it’s too loose.
  • Tilt your head upside down so that the crown of the helmet is pointing toward the ground. Your helmet should stay in place and fit snugly when properly installed.

OneK MIPS CSS

One K is one of the few brands to offer helmets with MIPS technology, an advanced design that provides superior safety for riders who have experienced head trauma in the past or work with greener or more challenging horses.

Features clues:

  • Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) helps protect against rotational motion transmitted to the brain from angular impacts to the head. It works by redirecting energies and forces that would otherwise have been transmitted to the brain.
  • Comfortable padded strap with faux suede lining makes this helmet as comfortable under your chin as it is on your head.
  • A variety of head sizes and shapes are available.
  • The two-part construction, with an inner layer that rotates with the head upon impact, makes it one of the safest helmets on the market.
  • The lining is washable, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and anti-microbial.
  • ASTM safety certified.

Chief Rookie Aside: Learn more about MIPS technology here.

See the One K MIPS CCS Helmet (Amazon)

Tipperary Sportage 8500

If you’re looking for a helmet that can go from homeschooling to lower-level offerings, check out the Sportage 8500. Although it’s not as sophisticated or customizable as some of the other helmets, it does a solid job of being reliable and adaptable for any number of Head shapes and specialties.

Features clues:

  • It is truly all-purpose and can be used for any discipline.
  • This helmet keeps you cool in the summer thanks to the generous vents (add a helmet liner in the winter).
  • They are ASTM/SEI certified for safety.
  • Forget heavy, heavy helmets – these helmets weigh just 17 ounces.

Rookie boss aside: I also ride a Tipperary Sportage and love it!

See Tipperary Sportage 8500 (State Line Tack)

OneK Defender

One K helmets are a bit more expensive than introductory brands like Troxel, but they allow for much more variety in fit and style than budget brands.

Features clues:

  • The One K specifically caters to riders who have experienced a previous head trauma or are particularly worried about falling.
  • Certified to ASTM and CE EN standards for safety.
  • The lining is washable, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and anti-microbial.
  • The two center vents help keep you cool on hot days.
  • Available in a wide range of head shapes and sizes.
  • It comes in a variety of cool colors such as chocolate and dark blue.

Rookie boss aside: looks aren’t everything, but this helmet design is really nice.

See the One K Defender helmet (Amazon)

Check out our detailed review of the One K Defender Air helmet.

Charles Owen Luna

For everyday instruction or competitors on a budget, try the Charles Owen Luna helmet. The matte black design is particularly stylish, no matter what stage you’re riding on, and it’s easy to clean up after a long weekend at the horse show.

Features clues:

  • 360 degree ventilation system with additional ventilation on the crown.
  • Slim, low profile design with Flexzone peak.
  • Available in black and navy with a washable headband and leather-look strap.
  • Meets multiple safety standards (ASTM F1163-15, PAS015:2011, VG1 01-040 2014-12).
  • FSC packaging is sustainably sourced and recycled.

See Charles Owen’s Luna Helmet (Amazon)

Deluxe School Helmet from Ovation

On a tighter budget, but still want quality protection in the event of a fall? Tipperary helmets usually come with an interchangeable foam insert that helps fit the helmet onto a small head, as does the adjustable disc on most Ovation helmets.

Features clues:

  • This helmet includes an easy-to-adjust dial to allow for a custom fit.
  • The Deluxe Schooler is lightweight at less than 15 ounces.
  • The exclusive YKK® buckle and adjustment buckle is designed to keep the rider off their face for added comfort.
  • The mask will detach safely in the event of a collision.
  • ASTM F1163-04A / SEI certified and CE certified according to European EN 1384 standards.

See the Ovation Deluxe Schooling Helmet (State Line Tack)

Charles Owen AYR8 Plus

Charles Owen helmets are most commonly seen in dressage arenas, but they can also be a good choice for event wearers. If you do not want to increase your budget for MIPS technology, see other options from this brand.

Features clues:

  • The classic design fits all three phases of events.
  • 12 front and rear vents covered with breathable mesh.
  • Removable and washable headband keeps your helmet clean and new.
  • Microfiber suede and leather coating combine design with practicality.
  • Available in regular and round fit options.
  • ASTM F1163-15 ، PAS015: 2011 ، VG1 01-040 2014-12.

See the Charles Owen AYR8 Plus (State Line Tack) helmet

Tipperary Windsor

This Tipperary helmet is suitable for all three phases of event competition, and is much easier to clean than a Charles Owen microsuede. Plus it contains the latest MIPS technology!

Features clues:

  • MIPS technology provides superior protection by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies during drops.
  • Comfort comes standard, as this helmet accommodates a variety of head shapes and hair styles.
  • The matte black color is easy to clean and resistant to marks.
  • 5-point adjustable strap includes a removable chin pad.
  • ASTM F1163-15 and SEI Safety Certification.

Watch the Tipperary Windsor MIPS Helmet (State Line Tack)

Charles Owen Pro II Plus

Although this helmet is at the upper end of the budget, the Charles Owen Pro II Plus Helmet is a great choice for event owners. With a traditional skull cap style, but with the latest technology, this option is ideal for a “third stage”.

Features clues:

  • This helmet is the only standard 3-piece, precision-fitted skull cap across the country on the market.
  • The custom fit liner system allows for a snug fit, and is interchangeable to extend the life of your helmet.
  • Front and rear ventilation provide superior cooling.
  • Harnessing GRpx® technology provides unprecedented stability.
  • SEI Approved to ASTM F1163-15, VG1 01.040 2014-12, Kitemarked to PAS015:2011, Kitemarked to VG1 01.040 2014-12.

See the Charles Owen Pro II Plus helmet (SmartPak)

Tipperary Devon MIPS

Most Tipperary helmets are relatively inexpensive, and last longer and better than helmets of the very cheapest brands. They offer a high-end MIPS helmet as well, though, and it’s called a Devon.

Features clues:

  • The outer shell of this helmet provides complete coverage, and the inner provides a very comfortable fit that is secured by the Tipperary Retention System.
  • Devon is equipped with the latest MIPS brain protection system, designed to reduce the risk of rotational motion that can be transmitted to your brain as a result of the angle effect.
  • Enjoy a comfortable, removable, washable liner that features a quick-drying mesh and eight strategically placed cooling vents.
  • They are ASTM/SEI certified for safety.

See Tipperary Devon (Amazon)

How about a helmet covers event?

If you don’t want to invest in multiple helmets, you can still make a cross-country stride by adding a colorful helmet cover!

You can find a wide range of options on Amazon, or you can even order a custom cover from Etsy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size helmet do I need?

The best way to find out what size helmet you’re wearing is to measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure. Most brands of helmets will be measured by head circumference, or they have a chart that identifies the inches that correspond to each size.

This step-by-step video shows how to do this:

What are helmets usually made of?

Riding helmets usually have a layer of shock-absorbing foam, covered with a shell of plastic, resin (old helmets) or Kevlar.

Should I buy a used helmet?

of course not!

Helmets must be replaced every time a rider hits their head, or every five years. With the helmet being used, there is no way of knowing what stress might be causing it. Even if the cosmetic damage is not visible, it may be structurally unsound.

How should I care for my helmet?

Mostly, helmets only need to be kept in a temperature regulated environment and are sometimes disposed of.

What makes a helmet suitable for year-round wear?

Most helmets are designed for all-weather use, but they can feel a little chilly in the winter. Wearing a hat or thin scarf under the helmet can help keep your ears warm in the winter months.

parting thoughts

Confidence is key to events, and feeling good about your journey starts with feeling safe. We hope this article will help you choose the right event helmet for you!

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