Ovation Nation

Why A Riding Helmet Is Better Than A Bicycle Helmet For Horseback Riding

June 20, 2018

The ASTM committee members work hard to develop standards that provide protection for specific sports use. The equestrian helmet committee includes equestrian professionals, end users, manufacturers and test lab personnel. The equestrian helmet standard is developed specifically for horse riding events and the testing is specific for hazards that may be encountered during horse riding. Of course, no helmet can protect against every possible hazard that may be encountered.

The main differences are the helmet head coverage and the type of test anvils. Based on the test line in ASTM F1163, equestrian helmets need to provide more head coverage, especially in the back of the head. Bicycle helmets are mainly designed to provide protection during a forward moving event, so there is more protection for the front and side of the head. Equestrian helmets provide the same forward and side protection but also lower protection to the rear of the head for a rear fall, which is likely during a horse riding event. The equestrian helmet standard includes a hazard anvil test, which would simulate a horse’s hoof or a sharp rock. The hazard anvil is very sharp, and is the reason most equestrian helmets have a harder outer shell as opposed to the micro shell on most bicycle helmets. Most bicycle helmets may not survive a horse’s kick, but may break apart.

Dean Moran
Program Manager
Safety Equipment Institute