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How to measure and fit a riding helmet

A properly fitted helmet is essential to riding safely.

Before buying a helmet, check which international equestrian safety standards it meets. A helmet that meets multiple standards is guaranteed to offer protection in a wider range of accident scenarios.

How to put a riding helmet on

When putting a helmet on, we are looking to get ‘the lock’. This is a sensation of the helmet latching and gripping onto the back of your head, which means it is on properly, secure and safe.

  1. Hair should ideally be worn in a low pony tail (if applicable)

  2. Place your forehead into the front of the helmet

  3. Using a rolling motion, push backwards to feel the helmet lock into the base of the skull (listen for a suction sound)

  4. Run a finger around the rim of the helmet to check for gaps or loose points. If there is any movement or gaps you may need to try a different size or a Round Fit

  5. Always adjust the chin strap first, then tie the back laces with a knot and bow (if applicable).

How should a riding helmet fit?

A new helmet will break in as you wear it and mould to the shape of your head. It should fit like a new pair of boots: snug, with a firm and even pressure all the way around.

Things to check for:

  1. A snug fit with even, firm pressure around the entire head

  2. No specific pressure points or gaps

  3. Helmet locks onto the back of the skull

  4. Helmet sits level on the head, covering the forehead leaving about an inch above the eyebrows

  5. With the harness unfastened, the helmet should not rock forwards nor backwards

  6. The chinstrap should sit just under the chin and gently touch the bottom of the ear lobe, avoiding the throat

  7. You should be able to put a finger between the strap and your chin

  8. The harness laces at the back of the helmet should be secured tightly

  9. Wear the helmet for 5 minutes to give time for it to mould to your head and reveal any pressure points.

Head shapes

Most people have an oval shaped head but some have a rounder shape. The shape of your head can effect how a helmet fits and its comfort.

Horse riding safety

Determining head shape – bird’s eye view

Buying and fitting a child’s helmet

You can follow the same steps as above when measuring or fitting your child with a riding helmet, however there are a few extra important considerations.

Don’t be tempted into buying your child a helmet that’s a size too big so that it lasts longer. As with adults, a kid’s riding helmet must fit snug on their head for every ride otherwise it is simply not safe.

Children often wear riding helmets too loose which compromises the safety of the product. If possible, we recommend children are professionally fitted. At the very least parents should follow the steps above every time their child goes riding.

In particular, check the helmet is sitting level on your child’s head, not falling back or too far forward. Their forehead should be covered, about one inch above the eyebrows. Also ensure the harness is done up properly, but not too tight. You should be able to get a finger between their chin and the strap.

It’s a good idea to let your child choose the helmet they like best, as they are more likely to wear it properly, but always check it has the latest safety standards.

Most of our riding hats do come in small sizing but we also have a kids range specifically designed and engineered for them.

In the UK, kids riding helmets (55cm and below) are VAT free.

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