When it comes to protecting your noggin, I don’t suggest finding the cheapest way out. While many helmets are extremely expensive and overpriced, there are still several options available that are great quality and reasonably priced. I have gone through a few different helmets over the years, and I’ve found that the helmet you buy has a lot to do with what your equestrian goals are as well. Different helmet options fit certain aspirations better than others. I will take you through my recommendations for everyone from new equestrians and casual pleasure riders to those active in the show ring.
This is a great starter helmet. When I got back into riding after a several year break, this was the first helmet that I got. Priced at $60, the Ovation is an affordable option that is still stylish and ASTM certified. I really like the sleek look of these helmets, as some cheaper helmets have the tendency to look clunky. They also have great ventilation for rides in the summer heat. I would recommend the Ovation to anyone just starting out lessons or the casual rider who is not looking to seriously show. However, you can pull a velvet cover over it to attend smaller local shows.
The Charles Owen JR8
Let me start off by saying that I love the look of Charles Owen helmets. They look classic and frame your face so well. The JR8 is a similar match to the popular GR8, with the only major difference being the style of strapping. The JR8 is priced at $150-$200 (depending on sales running) which is about half the price of the GR8. The JR8 is a great show helmet. It provides a professional look with the suede exterior. It doubles as a schooling helmet for Fall-Spring. The only downside to this helmet is the ventilation is lacking. I would not suggest riding in this helmet during summer months. When I had this helmet, I used it for shows and schooling until it got too hot at the end of spring. Then I would use my Ovation during the summer. I would recommend the JR8 to someone looking to move up a level in their equestrian gear, wanting a quality show helmet, or anyone who lives in an area with mild summers.
The One K Defender
I love this helmet! I think because it reminds me of the Samshield, but not of their price! The Defender doubles as a schooling and showing helmet. It has great ventilation and a removable, washable liner. It comes in a few different styles to choose from, including a gorgeous rose gold stripe. The One K Defender retails for $240-260 depending on the style. I would recommend this helmet only to those that are committed to riding and will be in the show ring consistently, mainly because the price is a big step up from the Ovation and JR8. Still, this is a great price for such a quality, stylish helmet.
The GPA Little Lady
Ahh now, this is the helmet I have now and I am so happy with that purchase. The sleek look and slightly larger visor are what caught my eye with this one. It’s low profile, ventilated, and has a removable washable liner. This is the little sister of the GPA First Lady. The only major difference between the two is the amount of ventilation. I have never had an issue with my head getting too hot in the Little Lady, even in the dead heat of summer. Retailing at $390, it is about half the price of the First Lady. The Little Lady is definitely for dedicated equestrians that are looking for something long term. It can be worn for schooling and showing. I would 10 out of 10 recommend this helmet! I expect it to last me many years.
-Hannah + Z