Why wear ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets
Published 05-31-2011 10:41 AM | Fernanda Camargo
This blog was written by Essie Rogers, the Director of Education and Welfare of the Kentucky Horse Council.
Do you ever wonder why it's important to ride in an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet rather than a sleek unapproved helmet?
Not so many years ago we all wore unapproved helmets for riding as that is all that was available. Fortunately technology has advanced and safety standards improved so that now we recognize an unapproved helmet offers little to no protection from falls. In fact those unapproved helmets now bear a warning "this is an item of apparel only".
ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets have been tested and certified to protect human heads against injury in the event that a rider falls from horseback. The helmets have also been developed to withstand crushing in the event that a horse falls on top of the rider. The thickness of the helmet and the materials used are designed to absorb energy and reduce the impact to the brain thus protecting against head injuries.
A crushed helmet is not a sign of helmet failure but rather an indicator that the helmet has worked as designed to take the impact and save the riders head.
Often, in an effort to save money, individuals will utilize bike and other helmets for riding. While these helmets may appear similar to approved riding helmets, they have limitations as they were designed specifically for falls from bikes not horses. A bike helmet is not designed to take the impact from a horses hoof or body, nor is it designed for the type of falls that horse back riders experience. Thus a bike helmet simply does not offer the same protection as an ASTM/SEI certified riding helmet.
Riding helmets should be replaced after every fall that involves head impact. Some companies offer discounted or free replacement after falls involving head impact.
Approved helmets can be purchased locally from a variety of tack stores, online, and from catalogue stores. There are several styles of approved riding helmets on the market and purchase price starts at around $30.