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Your Turn: Don’t Forget Your Helmet!

A study suggests an alarming number of youth don’t wear riding helmets.

Pixabay/CC

We all know that a helmet is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment when it comes to horse riding. But a study has found that a high number of children are not wearing protective headgear while taking part in horse riding and equestrian activities. In the study, of the children assessed, less than 20% were found to be wearing a riding helmet.

Wearing a helmet is an important aspect of safety when taking part in horse riding and isn’t something which should be forgotten about. A riding helmet can help to protect your head against trauma if you are involved in a fall or an incident with your horse. The study has found that young horse riders are more at risk of a head injury if an accident occurs and they aren’t wearing a helmet. This same study also found that of a number of children admitted to hospital for riding related incidents, less than 20% were wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.

This alarming statistic highlights the lack of utilization of one of the most important pieces of equipment for a rider and showcases a low level of awareness for the implications of not wearing a helmet.

So what could be causing this lack of use of helmets among young equestrians? Some of the reasons riders have cited for not wearing a helmet are that the helmet is uncomfortable, the helmet gives them headaches or helmets are expensive to buy. If you have a properly fitting helmet, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable or cause headaches and with many different types available on the market for riders, there is plenty of choice if a particular kind doesn’t fit you as you would like. The expense of a helmet should also not affect the use of a riding hat and investing in a properly-fitting helmet means investing in your safety too.

When choosing a well-fitting helmet, there are a number of things to consider to help you choose the right type. Below are a few pointers to help you choose the right kind of helmet.

  • Measure around the circumference of your head to find your preferred size. Using a soft tape measure, place it around your head at its widest point, slightly above your eyebrows, to find your size.
  • If you have long hair, make sure it is tied back and flat so as not to get in the way of your helmet when trying it on.
  • Your helmet should not pinch or slip and shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. You may want to wear the helmet for a few minutes to get a feel for your new headwear. If you start to feel uncomfortable or the helmet gives you a headache, then you have got the wrong size.
  • The helmet should sit straight on your head and the brim at the front should be just above your eyebrows, around two fingers width above your eyebrows.
  • The chin strap should also feel comfortable and you should be able to adjust this if it feels too tight.
  • The fit of the helmet will vary dependent on brand, so it may be worth trying out a few different brands before you settle on a manufacturer.
  • Try a few different styles before you settle on a helmet. Everyone’s head is shaped differently and the fit of a certain style will differ depending on the shape and size of the wearers head.
  • Know when to replace your riding hat. A helmet can incur wear and tear so make sure you replace it once every five years. It may need replacing sooner if your helmet has been damaged during an accident or fall.

With these points in mind, it’s important to remember that choosing a riding hat isn’t something to do lightly and that one should always be worn whilst riding. These hints should help you and your child find the perfect fit of helmet and eliminate any discomfort you may experience with your riding hat.

We hope that the importance of wearing a helmet is increased among young riders and awareness of the risks is raised to help decrease the risk of injury occurred in equestrian related incidents.

Referenced study:

Helmet under-utilization by children during equestrian events is associated with increased traumatic brain injury

Awais Khalil is the managing director of Tackville, a tack shop, retailing a range of equestrian equipment and horse riding clothing. As a keen equestrian, Awais likes to keep up to date with all things within the industry and the latest news when it comes to horse riding and issues surrounding related topics.

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