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 My PS Helmet 6 3/4 Black
Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Leather Look Riding Helmet All Black 57cm
One K Unisex Defender Protective Riding Helmet, Black Glossy, Large
TuffRider Show Time Plus Helmet
Top Benefit
One of the safest options
Vegan materials that look like real leather
Plenty of airflow to keep your head cool
Affordable
Stylish Enough For Competition
All models
Some models
Some models
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Editor's Choice
Preview
Charles Owen My PS Helmet 6 3/4 Black
Top Benefit
One of the safest options
Stylish Enough For Competition
All models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price
Preview
Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Leather Look Riding Helmet All Black 57cm
Top Benefit
Vegan materials that look like real leather
Stylish Enough For Competition
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price
Preview
One K Unisex Defender Protective Riding Helmet, Black Glossy, Large
Top Benefit
Plenty of airflow to keep your head cool
Stylish Enough For Competition
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price
Preview
TuffRider Show Time Plus Helmet
Top Benefit
Affordable
Stylish Enough For Competition
Some models
Good For Casual Riding
Check Latest Price

6 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.

Benefits

  • Certified with 3 safety standards
  • Great ventilation
  • 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.

Drawbacks

  • Not the most stylish
  • Small vents

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 My PS Helmet 6 3/4 Black
  • Regular Fit
  • Modern style and a deep fit
  • Incorporates MIPS technology
  • ABS plastic outershell
  • 10 ventilation slots

#2 Charles Owen Ayr8® Plus Leather Look

Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Leather Look Riding Helmet All Black 57cm

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.

Benefits

  • Meets 3 safety standards
  • Vents are hidden behind the mesh
  • 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.

DRAWBACKS

  • Can be hard to find at times (sells out quickly)
  • Somewhat pricey compared to others.

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.

Charles Owen Ayr8 Plus Leather Look Riding Helmet All Black 57cm
  • The Ayr8 Plus adds a removable and washable drape headband to the flagship Ayr8 helmet.
  • This low profile helmet features centrally located front and rear ventilation slots covered in breathable mesh.
  • Fully trimmed leather-look horse riding helmet with centre panel and Charles Owen logo
  • Kitemarked PAS015:2011, kitemarked/CE marked to VG1 01.040 2014-12; SEI certified ASTM F1163. High shock absorbency reduces the chance of head and brain injury. Ideal for a range of riding activities from showjumping and hacking to riding club events
  • Advanced GRpx technology harness keeps helmet securely in place. Centrally placed front and back ventilation holes with mesh keep your head cool when riding

Troxel Horse Riding Helmets

Troxel Liberty Horseback Riding Helmet

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 Liberty Horseback Riding 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

Benefits

  • Nice enough for the show ring
  • Budget-friendly compared to others
  • 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.

Drawbacks

  • Only one type of certification
  • Only comes in black

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.

Troxel Intrepid Horseback Riding Helmet
  • Low profile
  • Matte Duratek finish
  • Mesh covered vents
  • Surfeit Pro Fit system with Flip Fold removable washable headliner with Air-Channel technology
  • Asti/see-certified

#4 Troxel Fallon Taylor Purple Geo Performance Helmet

TROXEL New Fallon Taylor Purple GEO XS Safety Riding Helmet Low Profile Horse

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.

Benefits

  • Suitable for all riders
  • Comes in a myriad of stylish options
  • Very reasonable prices

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.

Drawbacks

  • Can’t use in a show ring
  • Visible air vents

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 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 Helmet Brimmer
  • Full 4 1/2" wide genuine palm leaf brim
  • Patent pending helmet attachment system
  • Refer to Helmet Brimmer Size Chart to select size A or B for the helmet style and size that you have
  • Cannot be used with the following helmets: Sport, Legacy, non-low profile Spirit and all helmet versions prior to 2014
  • Not suggested for use with the ES or Capriole model helmets

TuffRider Horse Riding Helmets

TuffRider caters to every type of rider. Their products are budget-friendly but still 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 Show Time Plus 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.

Benefits

  • Very stylish
  • Affordable

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.

Drawbacks

  • Not suitable for the show ring
  • More for children than adults

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.

TuffRider Show Time Plus Helmet
  • ABS Outer Shell + Black EPS Liner
  • ABS Ventilation Slots
  • Detachable/Washable Liner
  • SEI Certified
  • Color: Black

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

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.

Benefits

  • Keeps your head cool
  • Meets multiple safety standards
  • 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!

Drawbacks

  • Not appropriate for certain rings
  • Vents are very visible

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.

One K Unisex Defender Protective Riding Helmet, Black Glossy, Large
  • Polycarbonate and Advanced ABS Composite outer shell. Injection molded shell design
  • Ventilation mesh on both sides, front, top, and back of the riding helmet for a sporty look and maximum airflow
  • Washable and quick-drying liner, hook & loop adjustment, and Fastex buckle
  • Two side, two front, one back, and two center stripe vents. Injection molded shell design
  • Advanced technology and aesthetically pleasing design.

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

FAQs

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

How do you fit a horseback riding helmet?

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?

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 the 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.

Charles Owen My PS Helmet 6 3/4 Black
  • Regular Fit
  • Modern style and a deep fit
  • Incorporates MIPS technology
  • ABS plastic outershell
  • 10 ventilation slots

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.