Top 10 Best Horse Riding Helmets (2021 Review)

a lady riding a horse and wearing the best horse riding helmet

Looking for the best riding helmet can give you a real headache, right?

Jokes aside, with so many options available, it’s hard to know which one is just right for you.

So, to help you out, we covered everything you need to know about shopping for one below!

Don’t forget to also check our guide on where to buy horse riding helmet!

Now, let’s start with a peek at our top picks, then read on for in-depth reviews.

Best Horse Riding Helmets Top Picks at a Glance

FYI, this post contains affiliate links. We earn a commission if you make a purchase at no extra cost to you.

Check this comparison table for a quick guide. Read the review for further details.

Preview
Editor's Choice
Charles Owen MS1 Pro Skull Cap 7 1/4 Black
Ovation Deluxe Schooler Riding Helmet – ASTM Certified for Equestrian Competition
Top Benefit
One of the safest options
Affordable
Stylish Enough For Competition
All models
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Editor's Choice
Preview
Charles Owen MS1 Pro Skull Cap 7 1/4 Black
Top Benefit
One of the safest options
Stylish Enough For Competition
All models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price
Preview
Ovation Deluxe Schooler Riding Helmet – ASTM Certified for Equestrian Competition
Top Benefit
Affordable
Stylish Enough For Competition
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price

10 Best Horse Riding Helmets Review

Helmet design has evolved in the last ten years, with style becoming one of the most important aspects when deciding which helmet to buy.

You will need to considering serval things, such a fit, price, style, comfort, and purpose.

The information here will help you hone in on the perfect riding hat for you.

Charles Owen Helmets

Charles Owen is one of the leading makers of helmets for over 100-years. Founded in the UK, the company started off making army helmets, as soon transitions to horse racing helmets.

From the start, the main focus of the company is safety, and even today they lead the way in researching rider protection.

Not only that, they like to design stylish riding hats that riders are proud to wear.

In the 1980s, Charles Owen was part of creating the first-ever safety standards for equestrian headgear.

This brought the company the prestigious Royal Warrant awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1984.

Below are some of the most popular and innovative Charles Owen models available.

#1 Charles Owen MYPS

Charles Owen My PS Helmet

The My PS is the latest model from Charles Owen. It is one of the first riding helmets to incorporate MIPS technology.

What is MIPS?

MIPS is short for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. While its use in riding hats is new, it is not a new technology.

MIPS was invented in Sweden in 1996 by neurosurgeon Hans von Holst and a researcher from the Royal Institute of Technology named Peter Halldin.

The purpose of MIPS is to provide an extra layer of brain protection, specifically, rotation motion.

Horse riders are at risk of rotational forces and energy when they fall. This leads to both minor and severe head injuries. 

The MIPS helmets feature a thin, moveable liner. When you fall, this liner allows your head to move up to 15mm, in any direction, within your helmet.

This in turn, reduces rotational brain movement, one of the biggest causes of concussion and brain trauma.

Watch this video to learn more about how MIPS works and why it is a good idea to put into a riding helmet.

Physical Attributes Charles Owen MIPS

The Charles Owen MIPs is a sleek, black helmet made from high-impact ABS plastic.

They feature 10 ventilation slots but this doesn’t take away from its stylish look.

The harness is Soft GRpx® technology harness, which makes it comfortable against your skin.

Available Styles

The My PS comes in several sizes ranging from 6 ⅜ to 7 ⅝.

It comes in a regular fit, round shape, and wide peak versions, making it an option for a variety of head shapes.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Certified with 3 safety standardsNot the most stylish
Great ventilationSmall vents
MIPS technology

With MIPS technology and one of the only riding helmets tested to certify with all three international safety standards, this is one of the safest options on the market today.

The helmet has the following certifications: a CE mark to VG1 01-040 2014-12, SEI certification to ASTM F1163-15, and Kitemarks to VG1 01-040 2014-12 and PAS015:2011.

The ventilation is great for hot weather and rider comfort. The added safety makes it a good option for those that ride young or excitable horses.

Even though this helmet is nice looking and sleek, it isn’t the most stylish option.

While the vents are small, they make this helmet unsuitable for the equitation and hunter ring.

However, it won’t look out of place in the jumper ring and is perfect for riding at home.

How it Compares to Others and Why

Compared to other riding hats, the Charles Owen MIPS is one of the best when it comes to safety.

It is not the most stylish compared with other Charles Owen models, KASK, and Samshield helmets taking the lead here.

As for price, it isn’t the most budget-friendly but falls into the middle to high price range. 

Charles Owen MS1 Pro Skull Cap 7 1/4 Black
  • Regular fit
  • 10 ventilation slots
  • Soft leather harness
  • Washable and replaceable headband
  • MIPS technology

#2 Charles Owen Ayr8® Plus Leather Look

The Ayr8 is the most popular and versatile Charles Owen helmet. It comes in a wide range of looks and is even customizable.

Physical Attributes Ayr8 Plus

The helmet is finished with leather look sides, giving it a simple and elegant look.

The leather is vegan, but when looking at the helmet it’s impossible to tell the difference between it and real leather.

It has a removable padded lining that you take out and wash. The internal lining is also anti-microbial.

Like the MIPS it has a comfortable Soft GRpx® technology harness.

Available Styles

The Ary8 Plus has a large size range starting a 6 ⅜ and going up to 8. It is suitable for both men and women.

You will find the fit in both regular and round versions. As for colors, the sky’s the limit.

Off-the-shelf versions come in all black, brown, navy, black and silver, and navy and silver.

For a personalized look, you have lots of customization options with this riding helmet. You can choose the color for the piping, center mesh, and side panels.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Vents are hidden behind the meshCan be hard to find at times (sells out quickly)
Meets 3 safety standardsSomewhat pricey compared to others.
Vegan materials that look like real leather
Washable antimicrobial headband

The Ary8 benefits from Charles Owen’s dedication to safety. It meets ASTM, PAS015, and VG1 01-040 safety standards.

It has rear and front vents that are cleverly hidden behind the center mesh.

You will fit into any ring wearing this helmet and it is aimed at competitive riders. The full black version is one of the most commonly seen riding hats in the equitation ring.

The helmet is finished with leather look sides, giving it a simple and elegant look.

The leather is vegan, but when looking at the helmet it’s impossible to tell the difference between it and real leather.

It has a removable internal headband that you take out and wash.

The lining is also anti-microbial. Like the MIPS it has a comfortable Soft GRpx® technology harness.

How it Compare to Others and Why

The Ary8 is one of the best-looking equestrian helmets on the market and beats out many of its competitors with its look and custom options.

It is yet to incorporate MIPS technology, but hopefully, Charles Owen will make this an option in the future.

The price sits in the high range, making it more expensive than most of the other options on the market.

Troxel Horse Riding Helmets

Troxel Liberty Duratec Helmet, Black, Medium

Troxel sits side by side with Charles Owen when it comes to pioneering research and safety.

What sets them apart is their range of equestrian headgear falls into a range for budgets, making it accessible to all horse riders.

Their wide range of color styles makes this brand attractive for children riders.

In 1992, Troxel was the first brand to offer an ASTM certified riding helmet.

They offer a wide range of models to suit competition riders, trail riders, and even offer a cowboy brim to make the hat into a western riding helmet.

In fact, they were the first company to develop a helmet specifically for western and trail riders.

This is the Dakota “All Trials” helmet. Finally, they have a reputation for lightweight helmets that keep your head cool.

Let’s take a look at a couple of our favorite Troxel riding hats.

#3 Troxel Intrepid Helmet

Troxel helmet

The Troxel Intrepid riding helmet is one of the brand’s higher range offerings. It corporated Troxel’s latest technology in a stylish, traditional look helmet.

Physical Attributes

The style of this riding hat is similar to the Ary8. It has several air vents hidden by black mesh. The low profile fit gives a flattering look to the rider. It has a removable and washable liner, so you can keep the build-up of dirt and sweat at bay.

Available Styles

This helmet comes in one style. Instead of specific sizes, it comes in extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. To adjust the fit, it has SureFit™ Elite. This contains adjustable straps and padding for comfort but doesn’t have an unsightly dial.

However, you will still need to measure your head to find the correct size. For example, the small is the equivalent to a 6 ⅜ sized helmet

BenefitsDrawbacks
Nice enough for the show ringOnly one type of certification
Budget-friendly compared to othersOnly comes in black
Adjustable fitting for children
ASTM/SEI

The Troxel black is nice enough for the show ring without the price tag a lot of equestrian gear carries.

The adjustable fitting is an option worth considering for children, as it will allow some room for growing.

This feature also suits competitors who like to put their hair up when competing but prefer to tie a ponytail when schooling at home.

It is labeled with the ASTM/SEI certification.

While the helmet meets the standards of ASTM/SEI, it only has one type of certification.

This does not mean the helmet is less safe than those that have multiple certifications but it those extra certs do give more peace of mind.

How it Compare to Others and Why

As far as cost and style this is a good option for riders that want to compete. The helmet is suitable for the hunter, equitation, jumper, and dressage ring.

It looks similar to the Ary8, but in our opinion isn’t quite as good-looking as its competitor.

#4 Troxel Fallon Taylor Purple Geo Performance Helmet

Troxel helmet

One great thing about Troxel’s riding hat line is the wide choice of fun helmets.

These options stray away from traditional black and incorporate some pretty cool designs and bright colors.

You will find various patterns or helmets of one color. Some solid color options include mulberry, indigo, hunter green, ruby red, and purple.

It is hard to choose from these fun options, but we’ll take a look at one of our favorites here – The Fallon Taylor Purple Geo Performance Helmet.

This helmet is inspired by western rider Fallon Taylor, a World Champion Barrel Racer.

Physical Attributes Troxel Fallon Taylor

What can we say this helmet has fun printed all over it. The base is black while the center strip is a dark purple.

The front of the peak is trimmed with this same purple. The sides are an explosion of geometric designs in purple, pink, and turquoise.

Available Styles

This particular helmet comes in just one style.

It has a self-locking buckle and attractive low profile shape. Like all Troxel riding hats, sizes come in XS, S, M, L, and XL. It is ASTM/SEI-certified.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Suitable for all ridersCan’t use in a show ring
Very reasonable pricesVisible air vents
Comes in a myriad of stylish options

The Fallon Taylor model is suitable for all riders, regardless of their experience or discipline.

Both English and western riders can express their wild side in what is normally a sport that sticks to tradition. The price is reasonable.

Competitive English riders will not get away with wearing this helmet in the show ring.

However, as a schooling helmet for home is does its job well.

To adjust the size, the Fallon Taylor has a GPS II™ Dial Fit system with padding, making this an adjustable harness.

Even though the adjustable dial on this model is subtle, some riders may find it unattractive. The air vents are visible. The design is more suited to female riders.

How it Compare to Others and Why

The shape of this helmet is sleek and attractive. It contains large ventilation slots, which will help keep your head cool.

They are bigger than some other brands so for overall comfort this helmet will be towards the top of the list.

This isn’t the cheapest of horse riding helmets available, but it comes in at a very reasonable price when compared to the other options in the market.

Troxel Helmet Brimmer

TROXEL Performance Headgear Troxel Straw Helmet Brimmer

While not a helmet in itself, this accessory is worthy of mention before we move onto another brand.

The brimmer is a beige accessory that is the bottom portion of a cowboy hat made from palm leaf material. The top is trimming with elastic.

You simply slip the brimmer over your regular riding helmet to give it a western look.

The brim is 4 ½ wide and provides excellent sun blocking, great for riding in the heat of the summer.

TROXEL Performance Headgear Troxel Straw Helmet Brimmer
  • Instantly add full shade and sun protection to most Troxel helmet models with the New Helmet Brimmertrade Featuring a full 4 frac12 rdquo wide genuine palm leaf brim with a patent pending helmet attachment system that allows you to securely attach and remove the Helmet Brimmertrade

TuffRider Horse Riding Helmets

TuffRider caters to every type of rider. Their products are budget-friendly but still of good quality.

They offer a range of helmets, here we’ll take a look at a couple of our favorites from the line.

Their affordable helmet range makes them a good option for kids’ helmets.

#5 TuffRider Showtime Plus

tuffrider helmet

Show ring quality, without the show ring price tag. That is what we love about this stylish riding hat.

Physical Attributes

The Showtime Plus is a completely black riding hat with a suede like material. What we find so fun about this hat is the sparkly black center area.

The sparkles add a bit of glamor without being over the top. The ventilation slots are neatly placed and barely noticeable.

You can remove the liner to wash it. It has SEI certification.

Available Styles

This helmet comes in only one style, no might not suit every head shape.

Though we do think it would be fun if they made a few different versions with different colored sparkles!

It ranges in size from 6.75 to 7.5. The harness is black and soft.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Very stylishNot suitable for the show ring
AffordableMore for children than adults

If you want a pretty helmet with a little extra flair, the Showtime Plus is worth looking at. It is an affordable price, costing less than 100 dollars.

While the sparkles are dazzling, they might not be suitable for the show ring. However, young children will probably get away with a sparkly helmet.

How it Compare to Others and Why

We like the look of this helmet, especially for its price. But compared to some other brands, you can tell it is not one of the expensive horse riding helmets you see on the circuit. Still, it is a great option for those who want a nice looking, traditional style at an affordable price.

One K

One K is one of the most popular helmet brands that combines style and safety. They are one of the early adopters of MIPS technology, though it is only available in certain models.

If you have a fall within a certain timeframe, One K offers a return and replace service where they take damaged horse riding helmets and give you a new one at a discounted price.

The brand offers a choice of lines, including skull caps and children’s riding helmets. Skull caps are mainly used by jockeys and eventing riders.

All One K riding hats are subject to the two different safety certifications, and the company proudly states their helmets achieve scores above the minimum.

#6 One K Unisex Defender Protective Riding Helmet

The One K Unisex Defender is for both men and women. It features the latest safety protection, bar MIPS, though other models do have this option.

Physical Attributes

It is made from a smoothly finished polycarbonate material and contains several large slots for excellent ventilation.

They have a quick to engage Fastex buckle and a soft, comfortable harness.

Available Styles

This model comes in three different styles, black, brown matte finish, and matte navy.

It does have an oval head option, and the models not labeled as oval tend to suit round shaped heads.

BenefitsDrawbacks
Keeps your head coolNot appropriate for certain rings
Meets multiple safety standardsVents are very visible
Washable quick-dry liner

The One K is a great looking riding hat with plenty of airflow to keep your head cool.

One of its most appealing features is that it meets the standards of ASTM and CE norms VG01 certifications.

It has a washable, quick-dry liner, so there’s no putting up with sticking a damp, clammy hat on!

The helmet is suitable for all types of riders. However, it is not the right style for the hunter or equitation ring.

The vents are very obvious, which some riders might not like. The One K is a mid to high-priced helmet.

How it Compare to Others and Why

In terms of safety, the One K strives to stay a step ahead of its competitors.

The replacement policy provides a nice peace of mind when you have invested a significant amount of money in equestrian equipment.

As far as style, it is sleek, but if you prefer a smoother finish, other brands might suit you better.

Check: 7 Best Hoof Boots for Barefoot Horses: Reviews & Guide

#7 Ovation Deluxe Schooler

Ovation Equestrian-Helmets Deluxe Schooler

If you’re looking for a popular, affordable riding hat for everyday riding, this is one of my favorite choices from Ovation helmets. This helmet comes in tons of fun colors and has excellent ventilation to help keep your head cool

Physical Attributes

  • Air vents
  • Eight color choices
  • Adjustable dial
  • Removable liner
  • Washable liner
  • Removable, breakaway visor

Sizes

  • XXS/S, equivalent to hat sizes 5 ¾ to 6 ¼
  • XS/S, equivalent to hat sizes 6 to 6 ½
  • S/M, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ½ to 7
  • M/L, equivalent to hat sizes 7 ⅛ to 7 ⅝
BenefitsDrawbacks
Great priceThe visor is reported to pop off too easily by some users
Low profileNot suitable for competitions, especially the bright colors
Approved to ASTM or SEI ASTM standards
Suitable for adults and children
Comfortable

How it Compare to Others and Why

This helmet is not as fancy as some of the others and not really suitable for the show ring. However, it is an excellent schooling hat for casual riding. It is one of the most affordable options on my list.

If you are just starting out and don’t want to spend too much if you are just doing weekly riding lessons, this is one to look at.

Expert Tips

This helmet can run small and doesn’t fit all head shapes, so make sure to correctly measure your head before purchasing.

Ovation Deluxe Schooler Riding Helmet – ASTM Certified for Equestrian Competition
  • Lightweight low-profile helmet from Ovation. Easy-care rubberized finish.
  • Features easy adjust dial for a snug fit, extra strong adjustment teeth for added helmet life.
  • High flow vents to keep you cool, removable washable liner, removable breakaway visors.
  • Exclusive YKK adjuster clip and buckle, positioned to stay off of the rider's face for comfort.
  • Ventilated to allow cooling airflow, this sleek riding helmet is suited to riders of all ages.

#8 IRH IR4G XLT Matte Black Finish & Rose Gold Frame Riding Helmet

I love this helmet. It is sleek, simple, and pretty. It looks very similar to the style of the ever popular Samshield riding hats.

Physical Attributes

  • Matte finish
  • Rose gold trim
  • Moisture-wicking liner
  • Washable liner
  • Ventilation slots
  • Soft harness

Sizes

  • Comes in small, medium, large, and extra-large
  • Small 20 ½ to 21 inches, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ⅝  – 6 ¾
  • Medium 21 ½  – 22 inches, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ⅞  – 7
  • Large 22 ½  – 23 inches, equivalent to hat sizes 7 ⅛  – 7 ¼ 
  • Extra large 23 ½  – 24 inches, equivalent to hat sizes 7 ⅜  – 7 ½ 
BenefitsDrawbacks
Very stylishThe gold trim version is now suitable for the hunter or equitation ring, but there is a full black model
ComfortableExpensive
Hook and loop chin strap closure
Comes with two liners

How it Compare to Others and Why

This is one of the most expensive helmets on my list. It comes in cheaper than the custom Charles Owen but it still doesn’t fall into the budget-friendly category.

Expert Tips

Keep your helmet out of direct sunlight and store it in a dry area with an ambient temperature.

check price

#9 Tipperary Royal Wide Brim Helmet

Tipperary Royal Wide Brim Helmet

Tipperary makes a range of good quality riding helmets with this style being one of my favorites. This model comes in either a matte or gloss finish. Personally, I prefer the matte look, but both a really nice!

Physical Attributes

  • Comfort liner
  • Washable liner
  • Removable liner
  • Comes in black matte or gloss
  • High density ABS shell
  • Nine cooling vents

Sizes and Measurements

  • Extra small, 19 ¼ to 20 ⅛ inches, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ⅛ to 6 ⅜ 
  • Small, 20 ½ to 20 ¼ inches, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ½ to 6 ¾ 
  • Medium, 21 ⅝ to 22 ½ inches, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ⅞ to 6 ⅛ 
  • Large, 22 ⅞ to 22 ⅝ inches, equivalent to hat sizes 7 ¼ to 7 ½ 
BenefitsDrawbacks
LightweightLimited color choice
EPS foam liner helps absorb impact Expensive
Comfortable
Nice looking and low-profile

How it Compare to Others and Why

Tipperary helmets tend to be expensive, like this model. What makes this option stand out from the others is its finishing touches. They are traditional, yet distinguished.

Expert Tips

Riding helmets should be replaced at most, every five years, whether they’ve suffered damage or not. This is because the materials degrade over time and the protection becomes weaker.

Tipperary Royal Wide Brim Helmet S Black Matte
  • Removeable, washable comfort liner
  • Lightweight high density ABS shell for high impact resistance
  • EPS foam liner for impact energy reduction
  • Nine strategically located vents create cooling channels from front to back
  • Adjustable 5-point PU leather harness with patented Duratex buckle

#10 Uvex Riding Helmet SUXXEED Glamour

If you want a high-end, fancy helmet that will set you apart from the rest, check out this beauty. I admit the price is a little shocking, but this is a beautiful helmet. It is finished off with tiny, sparkling, Swarovski crystals!

Physical Attributes

  • Comes in black
  • Swarovski crystals trim
  • Saftey standard: EN 1384:2012+VG1 01.040:2014
  • Faux leather straps
  • Durable hardshell
  • Faux suede sides

Sizes

  • XS/S, equivalent to hat sizes 6 ¾  inches to 6 ⅞  inches
  • S/M, equivalent to hat size 6 ⅞  inches to 7 ¼  inches
  • M/L, equivalent to hat size, 7 ⅛  inches to 7 ⅜  inches
  • L/XL, equivalent to hat size, 7 ½  inches to 7 ⅝  inches
BenefitsDrawbacks
Very pretty and elegantVery expensive
Comfortable and adjustableThe harness is sturdy, but not the most attractive
Unique

How it Compare to Others and Why

This is the most expensive product on my list. I wanted to give you a good option for something high end but that was also unique. If your budget isn’t an issue, you will love this sparkling beauty.

Expert Tips

If you have a fall and hit your head in any way, you need to replace your riding helmet. You might not see any damage, but it is often hidden. The area that you hit, will no longer provide good protection.

FAQs

Before buying a new safety helmet, consider the following questions.

How do you fit a horseback riding helmet?

A girl in english style riding attire

Accurate head size measurements assure a well-fitting helmet. Use this measurement to find the correct helmet size. We’ve covered this in detail in another article here: How To Fit A Riding Helmet

Is a more expensive helmet safer?

Not necessarily. Always buy a reputable riding helmet that meets at least one of the certification standards.

What helmet do I need?

Look for a riding hat that suits your discipline, whether it is show jumping, hunters, dressage, western, or trail riding.

What are the safest helmets?

a men playing english horseback riding game

This is currently impossible to know. While all good brands test and certify their helmets, the exact scores received are not publicly released. Some helmets may just meet the minimum score, while others exceed it, which implies they are safer.

How should you secure the chin strap?

It is important that the chin strap is snug, so it can’t slip over your chin in case of a fall.

However, a study carried out by the Swedish insurance company, Folksam, independently tested 15 different models from well-known helmet manufacturers.

Of these 15, only three scored high enough to receive the title ‘Best In Test’ and ‘Good Choice’.

These three helmets performed 30% better than the other helmets in the study.

Included in these top 3 is the Charles Owen Ary8. The Charles Owen MIPS was not included in the study.

The ‘Best In Test’ title went to the Back on Track EQ3 Lynx, another MIPS helmet.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing a new riding hat isn’t as simple as just picking any old one.

The helmet must suit your purpose, fit well, and suit your budget. Well-fitting, quality helmets will help prevent or reduce head injury.

Make sure you know the answers to those points before shopping. This will save you frustration and time.

Our Winner

Choosing a favorite from this list isn’t easy. Each product has some great features.

However, if we have to choose, we would go with Charles Owen My PS.

The reason for this is that this riding helmet contains all the safety features possible at the moment.

While style-wise, we prefer the Ary8, sometimes it is important to remember that when it comes to preventing brain injuries safety must come first.

equestrian using the best horse riding helmet

For you, which is the best horse riding helmet? Share with us below!

Siun L
Siun L

Siun is an all-around animal lover, with a passion for horses. She grew up in the United States, competing in the hunters, equitation, and jumpers. Now living in Ireland, she competes with her own showjumping horses. She is experienced in the care and training of horses, as well as teaching riding lessons. She loves to combine her love for horses with her work. When not working, Siun will be found at the stables, rain or shine.
Find her on FACEBOOK
Read her latest ARTICLES.
Learn more about HER


SUBSCRIBE OUR NEWSLETTER

Want The Best Care For Your Horse? Subscribe to our EXPERT RIDER Tips