10 Best Helmets for Western Riding (Comprehensive Review)

Looking for the best western horse riding helmets? Best equestrian helmet?

Save yourself time and frustration and check out this guide to my favorite riding hats.

05/15/2024 03:18 pm GMT

I’ve included something for everyone and all budgets.

So, let’s get started!

Check: Best Horse Riding Helmet Brands

Western Riding Helmet Top Picks at a Glance

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Don’t have time? Here is a quick comparison of our favorites!

10 Best Western Horseback Riding Helmets (Reviews)

When it comes to western horseback riding helmets there is less choice than if you ride English. I’ve found that Troxel rules the roost when it comes to riding hat for western riders. 

After research, I’ve put together my favorite western style riding helmets. You’ll see a few different Troxel helmets in my guide. That’s because they have such a wide choice and great prices.

However, even though there is less choice, what is available is much more fun with colors and patterns widely available. Let’s take a look!

#1 Troxel Dakota Horseback Riding Helmet (WINNER)

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05/25/2024 07:14 pm GMT

Of all the Troxel helmets that suit western riders, the Dakota has to be my favorite. It has a great sleek profile and four different color options. The helmet is lightweight and has excellent ventilation.

You can use this western riding helmet for all kinds of activities whether it’s trail riding, training at home, barrel racing, or reining. The back has a nice padded piece that adds comfort and a bit more protection.

All four options have a faux leather strip that wraps around the front just above the visor and is trimmed with silver buttons.

This model also has an extended visor which really helps block out the sun, making this a particularly good choice for trail riders.

You’ll find that his model comes in five different sizes and is unisex.

Your four choices are black with a colorful print of horses in the wilderness, dark brown with black speckles, tan with a pretty plant pattern, and brown with a paisley-like print.

This riding hat is very popular making it a best-selling western helmet. Even kids love its style “This is a very nice and adjustable helmet. Exactly what I was looking for for my eight year old daughter. She loves it.”

Physical Attributes

  • Extended visor
  • Large front ventilation slots
  • Black harness
  • Decorative features


  • Extra small – 19 ⅝ – 20 ⅜ inches
  • Small – 20 ¾ – 22 inches
  • Medium – 22 – 22 ¾ inches
  • Large – 22 ¾ – 23 ⅛ inches
  • Extra large – 23 ⅛ – 24 ⅜ inches

Benefits & Drawbacks of Troxel Dakota Horseback Riding Helmet

Very lightweightLiner isn’t removable
Keeps your head coolSizes not small enough for younger children
Reasonable price
Good sun protection

How it Compares to Others and Why

Troxel claim this is the lightest western horse riding helmet available. The patterns are fun but not over the top like some colors you’ll find with other options.

Expert Tips

A riding helmet must fit correctly to provide the best possible protection for your head. It is a good idea to get one fitted or if you’re ordering online, measure your head to ensure you get the correct size.

Check: Toddler Size Horse Riding Helmet

#2 RESISTOL RideSafe Western Hat Helmet

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05/15/2024 03:18 pm GMT

Of all the western horse riding helmets in my guide, this is the most unique.

Wearing a cowboy hat is standard western riding attire. And while cowboy hats are great for providing sun protection, that’s where their protection ends.

The Resistol RideSafe is a safety riding helmet that looks like a cowboy hat. You can keep with western style while protecting your head with this riding hat. It comes in black felt and cream straw options.

Physical Attributes

  • Felt or straw
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Crown protection


  • Extra, extra small helmet size 6 ⅜ to 6 1/2
  • Extra small helmet size 6 ½ to 6 ⅝ 
  • Small helmet size 6 ¾ to 6 ⅞
  • Medium helmet size 7 to 7 ⅛ 
  • Large helmet size 7 ¼ to 7 ⅜

Benefits & Drawbacks of RESISTOL RideSafe Western Hat Helmet

ASTM F1163-15 CertifiedNot as protective as a full riding hat
Western styleExpensive
Made in the USA

How it Compares to Others and Why

Compared to others this is the only western style riding helmet that has the traditional cowboy look. It is the most expensive option in this guide.

Expert Tips

This is a great helmet for trail riding.

Susan Friedland, a popular equestrian influencer, tried the Resistol RideSafe, and had this to say: “this is definitely a helmet that will come in handy on trail whether on my own horse or when I adventure on trails like riding to the Hollywood sign or beyond.” [1]

Check: Best Helmet Cameras for Horse Riders

#3 Troxel Western Riding Helmet Cheyenne

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I love the style of Troxel’s Cheyenne helmet. It is finished in a weathered looking leather and polished off with stitched pattern on the sides.

These are quality helmets.

Grateful user, Emma had this to say “I am so thankful for Troxel helmets! Last year I was riding my barrel horse down the chute and realized she was going too fast to make the turn. I asked her to slow, she dodged just slightly to the right and I came off her left side. I came off at full gallop. I landed butt first with my back and head following. My head hit pretty hard, and I’m not sure how bad it would have been had I not been wearing my helmet!” [2]

Physical Attributes

  • Brown Leather covering
  • Mesh covered ventilation slots
  • Black low profile visor
  • Self-locking buckle


  • Small hat size up to 7
  • Medium hat size 7 to 7 ¼ 
  • Large hat size 7 ¼ to 7 ⅜
  • Extra large hat size 7 ⅜ to 7 ¾ 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Troxel Western Riding Helmet Cheyenne

LightweightNo sizes small enough for children
Good ventilationExpensive
StylishStyle is aimed at only women

How it Compares to Others and Why

The Cheyanne is one of the few helmets designed specifically for western riders. It isn’t the cheapest here but is stylish.

In addition to this model, there is also a Cheyenne Southwest that you might like.

Expert Tips

All riding helmets should be replaced every five years regardless of if you have a fall or not. This is because the materials it is made from degrades over time and lose their protective qualities.

READ MORE: Mens vs Womens Horse Riding Helmets

#4 Ovation Unisex Sync Riding Helmet

Ovation is one of the most popular riding helmet brands. Most of their models are more suited to the English rider but this one is a great choice if you want a western look.

Physical Attributes

  • Air flow vents
  • Coolmax liner
  • Breakaway visor
  • Rubberized finish
  • Reflective white piping
  • Brown and black


  • Small/medium hat size 6 ½ to 7
  • Medium/large hat size 7 ⅛ to 7 ⅝ 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Ovation Unisex Sync Riding Helmet

Certified to ASTM & CE standardsSimple and not blingy
Low profileLimited size options
Removable washable liner

How it Compares to Others and Why

If you want a riding hat that has western style but isn’t brightly colored and decorated with loads of patterns this is an excellent option. It is the most subtle equestrian helmet in my guide.

Expert Tips

If you have a fall and hit your head in any way replace your helmet straight away. Even if it looks like it has no marks, it is likely that there is hidden damage.

#5 Tipperary Sportage Hybrid Helmet

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05/15/2024 03:18 pm GMT

For those whose biggest priority is a riding hat the keeps their head cool this is the best option. It is sleek and comes in a wide range of sizes.

Physical Attributes

  • Large brim
  • Contoured shell
  • Multiple air vents
  • Magnetic hook clip
  • ASTM F1165-15/SEI & CE certified


  • Extra small helmet size 6 ¼ to 6 ⅜
  • Small helmet size 6 ½ to 6 ⅝
  • Medium helmet size 6 ¾ to 6 ⅞
  • Large helmet size 7 to 7 ⅛
  • Extra large helmet size 7 ¼ to 7 ⅝

Benefits & Drawbacks of Tipperary Sportage Hybrid Helmet

Two safety certificationsA little expensive
Large amount of airflowNot the prettiest option
Removable helmet liner

How it Compares to Others and Why

Of all the options in my guide, this helmet provides the most ventilation to help keep your head cool, especially in hot weather.

Expert Tips

If your head tends to get sweaty when riding, it is a good idea to replace the liner once in a while.

#6 IRH Equi-Lite Helmet

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05/14/2024 01:25 am GMT

For those looking for a budget-friendly option, this model from International Riding Helmets is the best western riding helmet. It is simple and not flashy but it has good air vents and is affordable.

Physical Attributes

  • Front cooling vent slots
  • Comes in black
  • Dial-Fit-System
  • 3-point harness
  • Comes in black or lavender


  • Small
  • Medium hat size 6 ⅞ to 7

Benefits & Drawbacks of IRH Equi-Lite Helmet

3 safety certifications [3]Plain looking
Great priceHelmet liner is not removable

How it Compares to Others and Why

This is one of the most economical options I’ve included in this guide. It is also adjustable so it fits a wide range of head sizes.

Expert Tips

If you are a beginner or casual rider, I recommend this helmet as it isn’t too expensive.

#7 Troxel Fallon Taylor Horseback Riding Helmet

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05/25/2024 07:18 pm GMT

If you love color, you will love this line by Troxel designed in conjunction with one of the most famous western riders, Fallon Taylor.

Physical Attributes

  • Wide variety of shell design options and color choices
  • Mesh covered vents
  • Gloss or matte helmet  finish
  • Removable headliner
  • ASTM/SEI-certified


  • Extra small hat size 6 ¼ to 6 ½
  • Small hat size 6 ½ to 6 ⅞
  • Medium hat size 7 to 7 ⅜
  • Large hat size 7 ⅜ to 7 ¾

Benefits & Drawbacks of Troxel Fallon Taylor Horseback Riding Helmet

Fun colors and patterns Stylish profileThe designs won’t appeal to men
DialFit systemSome people won’t like the fitting dial
Washable liner

How it Compares to Others and Why

For those who want lots of color and love patterns, this is the best helmet for western riding. It isn’t the most expensive riding hat in my guide, but it might not suit if you have a tight budget.

Expert Tips

Fallon Taylor isn’t just a famous face connected to a riding helmet. She is a strong advocate for always wearing a helmet.

See her reasons for recommending you wear a helmet in this video.

#8 TuffRider Starter Carbon Fiber Grill Horse Riding Helmet

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05/22/2024 12:09 pm GMT

I am a big fan of TuffRider products. They are high quality without a massive price tag. If you want a traditional looking riding helmet check this one out!

Physical Attributes

  • Carbon fiber ventilation grills
  • Coolmax liner
  • Detachable peak
  • adjustable dial for fit


  • Small hat size 6 ⅛ – 6 ½
  • Medium hat size 6 ⅝ – 7 ⅛
  • Large hat size 7 ¼ – 7 ½

Benefits & Drawbacks of TuffRider Starter Carbon Fiber Grill Horse Riding Helmet

Reasonable priceNo fun color options
Comfortable helmet
Washable liner
Adjustable fit

How it Compares to Others and Why

Compared to some of the others, this helmet is not only suitable for adults but also children. It a good price but not the cheapest here.

Expert Tips

Even though it is popular to put your hair up into your helmet, it is actually better to tie it back into a ponytail. This ensures it fits better.

check price

#9 Troxel Sierra Horseback Riding Helmet

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05/25/2024 07:30 pm GMT

This is one of the most stylish western horse helmets that I’ve included in this guide. It isn’t flashy but has a classy leather finish that I really like.  

Physical Attributes

  • Comes in black, brown, denim, or tan
  • Mesh air grills
  • Self-locking buckle
  • SureFit
  • Nylon harness
  • Leather finish


  • Extra small hat size 6 ¼ to 6 ½ 
  • Small hat size 6 ⅝ to 7
  • Medium hat size 7 to 7 ¼ 
  • Large hat size 7 ¼ to 7 ⅜ 
  • Extra-large hat size 7 ⅜ to 7 ¾ 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Troxel Sierra Horseback Riding Helmet

Great lookingA little expensive
Scratch resistant
Adjustable fit

How it Compares to Others and Why

With the nylon and leather finish to the shell of this helmet, it is more durable than some other options. It won’t scratch easily and you don’t have to worry about a pattern fading.

Expert Tips

For the best fit when choosing this or any Troxel helmet, use the brand’s own sizing chart.

#10 Ovation Deluxe Schooler

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05/28/2024 04:39 pm GMT

While some of the helmets for riding that I’ve included in my favorites on this list, this is the only one that is specifically designed to fit children.

Physical Attributes

  • Five bright color options – fuchsia, purple, blue, teal, red
  • Rubberized finish
  • Dial to adjust the fit
  • Padded chin strap


  • Extra extra small/extra small helmet size 5 ¾ to 6 ¼ 
  • Extra small/small helmet size 6 to 6 ½ 
  • Small/medium helmet size 6 ½ to 7
  • Medium/large 7 ⅛ to 7 ⅝ 

Benefits & Drawbacks of Ovation Deluxe Schooler

ASTM certifiedThe harness sits on children’s ears sometimes depending on their size
Low profile
Well ventilated

How it Compares to Others and Why

This is the only kids specific western riding helmet in my guide. It has extra small sizes to protect the heads of little riders.

Expert Tips

Kids will probably find a black or plain brown riding helmet pretty boring. If choosing a riding hat for young riders consider something in a bright color or that has patterns on the shell.

It will be a much more popular choice!

How to Choose the Helmets for Western Style Riding?

When choosing helmets for western styles riding look for color, fit, safety standards, and take a measurement of your head.

Traditionally western style riding did not include wearing a helmet. Thankfully, more and more riders are taking their safety more seriously. Remember, a head injury is much more serious than another type of horse riding injury.

So how do you choose the helmets for western style riding? 

Look for Color

Unlike English riding, western equestrians don’t have to stick to traditional boring black or navy. If you’re going to choose a helmet for western riding look for something fun that is a bright color or one that is printed with patterns. You will fit in better with this style.

Riding Helmet Fit

For a riding helmet to offer the most protection, it must fit correctly.

It should not be too loose.

You want the helmet to fit snuggly without being too tight that is uncomfortable. When you secure the chin strap make sure it is tight enough that you can’t easily pull it out over your chin.

Measure Your Head

Use a riding helmet size and fitting guide to measure your head.

Once you have your measurements compare them to each brand’s size guide. Each brand will be slightly different. Another good idea is to try the helmet on under the guidance of a horse riding gear expert.

Unsure how to measure your head and how to fit a helmet? Take a look at the really helpful video.

Riding Helmet Saftey Standards

Always buy a riding helmet that is certified to at least one recognized safety standard.

The more standards the better as each carries out different types of tests to measure safety quality in relation to equestrian sports.

Even though helmets are still not used by many western riders, one prominent instructor, Barbara Fox is trying to change attitudes.

She says “Be Daring In A Way That Counts. At the 2012 Olympics Dressage rider, Charlotte Dujardin won the Gold Medal in dressage and set an Olympic Dressage record with her score. And she was the only rider wearing a helmet.”

Also Check: Tipperary Vs Ovation Helmet: What’s The Best?

Western Riding Helmet FAQs

There are hundreds of different riding helmet models which can make things confusing.

To help you out I’ve tackled some of the questions I come across most often.

Do Western riders wear helmets?

Yes, some western riders wear helmets.
Unfortunately, many western riders do not wear helmets as it is the riding style. However, it is becoming more common.
My tip is don’t fall into this style and always wear a helmet. You only have one head!

Is it safe to ride a horse without a helmet?

pretty lady riding a horse and wearing a helmet

It is never safe to ride a horse without a helmet. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy the horse is. It is still a living creature with a mind of its own and anything can happen.
A BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2018 study states “Head injuries have been found to be one of the most frequently occurring injuries and is the leading cause of death in horse-related injury events”. [4]

Can you wear a bike helmet for horse riding?

You cannot wear a bike helmet for horse riding.
While they may seem similar they are not. They are designed to take the impact of different types of falls. You do not fall off a bike in the same way you do a horse. A bike helmet will not give you adequate protection for equestrian sports.

How long is a horse riding helmet good for?

lady wearing a horse riding a helmet touching her horse

A horse riding helmet is good for three to five years. The max is five years, so long as it has never been dropped or in a riding fall. The lifespan is shorter if you wear the helmet every day for multiple rides.


I know that riding hats can get hot and uncomfortable but the risk of head injury is too high to ignore. While I respect everyone’s choice, I feel all horseback riders should wear a helmet, regardless of their riding discipline. 

I hope you have found the perfect protective headgear in my guide! I’ve included options with a range of colors suitable for all western equestrian activities. 

Final Recommendation

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05/25/2024 07:14 pm GMT


  • 1. Resistol RideSafe Helmet Review [Internet]. Saddle Seeks Horse. 2017 [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from: https://saddleseekshorse.com/resistol-ridesafe-helmet/
  • 2. I Came Off At Full Gallop [Internet]. Default. [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from: https://www.troxelhelmets.com/blogs/testimonials/testimonials/2019/04/30/I-Came-Off-At-Full-Gallop
  • 3. Standard Specification for Protective Headgear Used in Horse Sports and Horseback Riding [Internet]. www.astm.org. [cited 2021 Dec 17]. Available from: https://www.astm.org/Standards/F1163.htm
  • 4. Meredith L, Ekman R, Thomson R. Horse-related incidents and factors for predicting injuries to the head. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. 2018;4:e000398.
lady western riding

What are your favorite Western horse riding helmets? Please let us know in the comments 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.
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