Which helmet is right for you depends on what you ride. In principle, you can use a modern helmet for any riding discipline, but certain helmets have become more common for the individual disciplines. The only thing you should not do is use an old helmet without a three-point attachment. Such a helmet offers no protection because it slips immediately in a fall or is completely loose.
A modern helmet, also called a classic riding helmet, is suitable for leisure, dressage and show jumping riders. For military or competition riding, which is nowadays also called eventing, there are special, particularly robust helmets that also protect the neck. Western riders usually prefer brown helmets with a rough surface and possibly with decorations. At show jumping and military competitions, wearing a helmet is compulsory, the same is true for dressage up to elementary level.
Only a helmet that fits properly will protect the rider's head. Therefore, you should make the effort to find a helmet that is the right size for you. However, this is almost impossible without trying on the helmet. The decisive factor for the right size of helmet is your head circumference. Many manufacturers and online shops indicate the size of the helmet in either the usual hat sizes (e.g. 55) or as S, M, L etc..
However, most helmets can be adjusted slightly in size. In any case, the helmet should fit so that your ears are exactly in the side triangles where the chin strap is attached. When you shake your head, the helmet should stay in place even if the chin strap is open. On the other hand, it should not be so tight that it is uncomfortable.
There are various reasons for replacing a helmet. With children, a new helmet is usually necessary because the child has grown and the circumference of their head has increased.
The following applies to helmets for both children and adults: After a fall from a horse, the helmet should be replaced.
Even if you don't see any damage to the helmet, the material may have developed small, fine cracks - perhaps invisible under the lining. In the event of another fall, the helmet will break in these places, instead of protecting the rider's head. This can lead to additional injuries. Even without falls or with an unchanged head circumference, a riding helmet should be replaced every 10 years at most, but preferably after five. Every material wears out over time. This is especially true for helmets, which are exposed to different temperatures and weather conditions.
The child's head circumference determines the necessary helmet size. Many models are adjustable, for example by means of a small adjustment dial at the back. This is of course particularly useful for a children's riding helmet, as children are still growing. It's important for the child to try on the helmet before wearing it on a ride. The helmet should not wobble or fall off the child's head when he or she shakes it, even when the chin strap is open. On the other hand, the helmet must not be so tight as to be uncomfortable. If your child finds the helmet uncomfortable then he or she would avoid wearing it whenever possible. You should therefore make sure there is adequare padding provided by the helmet, so that it's comfortable to wear.
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