This week I would like to start an ongoing series of “things I wish people had told me”. These are things I have either come across and wish I had come across sooner or are things I have come to realize that many people may not be aware of. I hope this series brings some useful, simple, and helpful additions to your everyday riding life!
The first installment in this series is round helmets. As I was replacing my skullcap this year gearing up for some bigger events, I realized many people don’t realize there are different helmet shapes. Side note: you should replace your helmet every 3 years or sooner even if you have not had a major fall as the padding loses its effectiveness with wear. I purchased my first skullcap in 2018, three years into my evening career, because I didn’t fit in the classic Charles Owen helmet – which is an oval shape. The round shape addition to the skullcap was a new addition at the time otherwise I would have gotten one sooner for safety reasons. Second side note: it is much safer to ride Cross-Country in a brimless helmet as a brim can cause intensified trauma to the front of the head were you to hit it on the brim. But back to the main point: how do you know if you need a round helmet?
Your helmet should be snug, there is no question about it. If you’re able to shake your head and your helmet moves - size down. A helmet cannot do its job if your head can already rattle around inside without the additional trauma of impact. That being said, your helmet does not need to squeeze the sides of your head! It can uniformly feel snug around your whole head without feeling like you are in a vice grip. Many times, when getting a helmet fitted, people will not recommend a round helmet. It was by sheer luck that I had someone fit me who told me about the shape difference (spoiler - it was because they too had a round head). Granted, there are certain brands that naturally come in a round shape – I rode and still ride in a One K helmet because of the helmet’s standard round shape. However, when it came to specifically finding a safe Cross-Country helmet finding a standard round helmet was difficult.
I know having a round head shape might not constitute a huge percentage of the readership or the general population. But, I hope I can at least help a few of you on your equestrian journey to find an easier path toward comfort, safety, and success. I would love to hear from you, is this something you didn’t know? Did this article open your eyes to a proverbial equestrian secret?
Also, is there anything you “wish someone had told you” perhaps sooner in your career? Please comment below! Think of this series as an ongoing engaging conversation amongst riders of all ages, sizes, creeds, genders, etc.
Until next week!