How to fit and measure for a riding helmet

Whether you ride horses, or work with them, it’s important to have a well-fitting riding helmet. It needs to have a snug fit to be able to protect you during an accident, reducing the risk of head or brain injury in the event of a fall or impact. For a helmet to have this fit, it’s important for you to know how to measure for a riding helmet.  

How should a riding hat fit? 

A new helmet should have a snug fit when first worn. This will break in as it’s worn, moulding itself to the shape of your head. It should not feel uncomfortable to the point it’s giving you headaches, but equally, it shouldn’t be able to move from side to side or front to back. 

You should also check your helmet doesn’t slip down, causing the brim to obscure your vision. 

How to measure for a riding helmet 

For a horse-riding helmet to fit correctly, you’ll need to get accurate head measurement. Be sure to have a soft fabric measuring tape, preferably with centimetres on, so it’ll remain flush to your head as you measure. 

Steps to measure for a horse riding hat 

1.     First, if you have long hair, to measure your head you’ll need to style and tie your hair in the way you’d wear it when riding. Be certain to choose a hairstyle you’ll regularly wear, as hairstyles can alter a head measurement and even the shape of your head. It’s best to remove any clips or grips. If you wear glasses, be sure to keep these on for both measurement and fitting. 

2.     Next, take the soft fabric measuring tape, and place it 3/4 inches above your eyebrow. You should skim it over the ear line before taking it around the bump at the back of your head. 

3.     Take your head measurement down in centimetres, before repeating step two a few more times. This is so you’re assured they’re accurate. 

4.     If in doubt, ask a family member or friend to help. Measurements need to be exact, so you’re fitted with the safest and most comfortable fitting riding hat. 

5.     Once you have your head measurements, it’s now time to begin trying on. It can also be worth checking out a helmet sizing chart for a rough helmet size but be aware these can differ amongst brands. 

Riding helmet size chart   

You can use the size chart below to gauge an idea of what riding helmet size you are. It is worth keeping in mind that this sizing chart is by the brand Charles Owen, and sizing can differ amongst brands.  

49  6  0 
50  6 1/8  000 1/2 
51  6 1/4  0 
52  6 3/8  00 1/2 
53  6 1/2  0 
54  6 5/8  0 1/2 
55  6 3/4  1 
56  6 7/8  1 1/2 
57  7  2 
58  7 1/8  2 1/2 
59  7 1/4  3 
60  7 3/8  3 1/2 
61  7 1/2  4 
62  7 5/8  4 1/2 
63  7 3/4  5 
64  7 7/8  5 1/2 
65  8  6 


Why you need a certified riding helmet 

While it may be cheaper to go with a supermarket bought riding helmet or using one from a different sport you already have, don’t. These helmets won’t be able to provide the best protection during a horse-riding accident. Certified equestrian helmets are rigorously tested and designed to provide protection during horse-related injuries. Once tested, they gain a certification. The greater certifications a hat has, the wider range of accident-based scenarios it can protect you against. 

It’s also worth checking any disciplines you may be entering. Some disciplines, such as show jumping and polo, have riding hat specifications you’ll need to abide to enter.  

Why it’s important to try on helmets 

Everyone is different, and while the optimal goal is to have a snug-fitting helmet to protect you, some fit different than others. Even with checking a riding helmet size chart, trying on a helmet will allow you to check comfort and be assured the helmet fits. Especially when things such as head shape, hair styling and helmet placement all play a part. 

How your head shape can affect a riding hat 

Even with the correct measurements, fit can differ due to the shape of your head. While most people have oval shaped heads, some do have a rounder shape. Some brands particularly suit certain head shapes, such as those with an oval shaped head tend to find Charles Owen helmets fits well, with Kep riding hats offering a more variable fit amongst oval and round heads.   

Because of this, you may need to try on several before finding a suitable helmet. Those with rounder-shaped heads especially may find they need to try multiple riding hats on, across various brands. 

Correct helmet placing 

Safety is a top priority for a helmet, so trying on a riding helmet allows you to test it is flush with your head shape, doesn’t sit too far up or down on your forehead and fits snugly. You shouldn’t be able to place the helmet on with ease, and it shouldn’t rock easily sideways. It should offer a firm pressure around your entire head when worn, with the visor being parallel to the floor. 

Styling your hair for riding helmet 

If you’re someone with long hair, it is recommended to wear it in a low bun or ponytail, as otherwise it can change your head shape. It can also prevent riding hats from sitting at the base of your neck, stopping it from protecting you. If possible, do not change hair styles once you’ve measured and been fitted with your new helmet, as hair can alter helmet size. 

Top tips for a horse riding hats 

Even with the right size, and a snug feel, a helmet may still not fit as well as it should. Here’s our top tips to consider when trying on your riding helmet.  

How to check for a proper helmet fit 

To test your helmet, run your fingertips around the edge of the riding hat, ensuring it fits evenly around your entire head. It should feel snug, but with no pressure points.  

The front brim should also sit 1 to 2 fingers’ width above your eyebrows to ensure it doesn’t block your vision. 

Ensure the placing of the chin strap 

Once you’ve found the helmet that fits, you’ll need to be sure the chin strap fits and sits well when buckled. Adjust the chin strap so it sits tight under your chin, with it able to hold the helmet in place without discomfort. You should only be able to fit about one finger under your chin.  

Tip your head forward 

To test the helmet doesn’t slip forward, move your head forward and backwards, as riding hats shouldn’t shift once on or with the chin strap tightened. If it does, it may be too loose. A good tip is if you wiggle the helmet and it makes your eyebrows move, it fits well. 

Measuring a riding helmet for children 

Measuring a children’s riding helmet is the same as it is for an adult. However, while it may be tempting to purchase a slightly larger helmet for a child, this is not advised. Same as adults, the helmet must fit snugly on the child’s head for every ride. Otherwise, it won’t protect them as adequately if an accident was to occur. 

When should I be wearing a riding helmet? 

You should wear a horse riding helmet whether riding, handling, or working with a horse. While Rule 49 of the Highway Code only requires children to wear helmets when riding on the road, helmets are there to keep you safe. Whether that is to protect your head during a fall or in case a horse strikes out while being handled. 

Wearing a helmet isn’t a reflection of ability or skill, but instead, there to protect and limit serious head injuries. 

It’s also worth keeping in mind that some livery yards and stables require you to wear a riding helmet. 

What to do when you’ve dropped your riding hat 

It’s important to replace your helmet even if it has been dropped. While many believe it’s the outer shell that protects your head, it’s the layers in the inner shell which do. This inner shell is made from high-grade ‘bubbly’ polystyrene which will burst, diffusing the impact over the rest of the helmet during an accident. 

Because of this, even a small impact such as dropping in the yard can cause these bubbles to burst, meaning it won’t be able to do its job correctly during a genuine accident. 

How to store your riding helmet 

As this inner polystyrene is so sensitive, when you’re not wearing your riding helmet, it is best to store in a specialist helmet carrying bag. This will also help protect it from sun damage and marks while protecting the helmet’s inner polystyrene from rolling around your car. If a specialist helmet bag isn’t possible, store your riding helmet in a cool and dry place. 

When should I replace my riding hat? 

It is advised to replace your helmet every three years, but a riding hat truly degrade after five years and are no longer deemed safe. This is because the padding compresses with wear, and factors such as sunlight, cause the protective construction to break down over time.  

Whether you’re replacing a helmet or purchasing your first, having a riding hat which fits and feels comfortable is a must. If you’re wondering what helmets are out there, here are some of the best riding helmets, all of which can be found on the Edgemere website.   

Horse riding helmets for adults 

Charles Owen AyrBrush Reflection Riding Hat with Crystals 

Offering style with gloss and matt finishes is the Charles Owen AyrBrush. This riding hat features front and rear ventilation. It has a leather-look flexible peak, helping to shield eyes and protect from the sun, with a washable removable headband. 

Charles Owen AyrBrush Reflection Riding Hat With Crystals-29699

Kep Cromo Smart Polish Riding Hat 

One of the most popular Italian KepRiding hats is the Kep Cromo Smart Polish. It has a control system allowing hot air to be released through the rear channels and cool air through the front channels on the grill. It also has an adjustable five-point chin strap and comes in either black or blue. 

Kep Cromo Smart Polish Riding Hat

Charles Owen SP8 PLUS Sparkly Leather Look Riding Hat 

Perfect for any summer competition is the Charles Owen SP8 Sparkly leather-look helmet. The increased peak helps protect you from the sun, providing extra cover to help you see, while the sparkly centre adds an extra feminine touch. 

Charles Owen SP8 PLUS Sparkly Leather Look Riding Hat-23787

 Uvex Suxxeed Delight Riding Hat 

If you’re after a stylish, super-lightweight helmet, then the Uvex Suxxeed Delight Riding helmet is for you. This helmet provides lots of ventilation and has the use of Impact resistant polycarbonate shell which keeps this helmet lightweight and stable. 

Uvex Suxxeed Delight Riding Hat-35398

Horse riding helmets for children 

Charles Owen YR8 Hat 

Fully trimmed in microfibre suede and meeting two safety standards, the Charles Owen YR8 Hat is both safe and stylish. Having an easy to fasten four-point harness and four discrete ventilations ensure comfort even in warm weather. This stylish children’s riding helmet also comes with its own Charles Owen Carry Box. 

Charles Owen YR8 Hat -0

 Uvex Onyxx Kids Riding Helmet 

For a lightweight children’s riding helmet that is available in five colours, don’t look further than the Uvex Onyxx. It comes with the IAS helmet fit system, allowing an advanced adjusted fit, making it perfect for growing children.  

Princess Violet Matt

Unsure about measuring yourself for a riding helmet? 

A riding helmet is one of the most important items an equestrian will need, so finding a helmet which fits and is comfortable is essential. If you’re nervous about measuring yourself, we offer a professional riding helmet fitting, where we can offer product suggestions that we think will suit you best. We can also make sure your helmet fits well, providing tips on storage and cleaning. 

If you want to book for a professional riding helmet fitting with Edgemere, get in touch with us here. 

Or, if you’d prefer to speak to someone, call 01948 820720 to book a fitting today.  

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Posted by: Edgemere
Posted on: 24/06/2022

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