- Equestrian Facility
- Horse Health/Welfare
An injured brain does not heal like a broken bone. Even seemingly insignificant head injuries can have serious long-term effects.
While there is no concussion-proof helmet, an equestrian helmet can help protect riders from serious brain or head injury. Learn what to look for, and what to avoid when picking out a helmet for yourself, your child or teen.
Riding Helmet Safety. University of Connecticut webpage
Don't be Hard-headed! Wear a helmet Equine Guelph infosheet
Equestrian helmets are designed to protect a rider’s head in two ways. First they reduce penetration by sharp objects (the protective shell), and second absorb some of the force, giving the head a “cushion” thus increasing stopping distance (the foam padding). All models of ASTM/SEI approved equestrian helmets are tested in a lab to ensure that they are up to regulated safety standards. You can find the SEI certification symbol on each approved helmet.
Helmets intended for equestrian activities come in many sizes and although generally use the same protective foam, are built differently than other sporting helmets. They cover more area of a rider’s head and are designed for specifications of riding a horse, taking into account possible terrain, speeds and objects to which a rider could be subjected. They are built to skid rather than stick over rough terrain and to absorb impacts created by sharp objects such as a horse hoof or sharp rock. They are also designed to be secured properly to a rider’s head and be light enough to not interfere with a rider’s balance. Other sporting helmets such as a bicycle helmet or motorcycle helmet either don’t provide adequate head coverage, or they are too heavy and bulky to be used for riding.
Helmet Safety for Mental Health
After a landmark study investigating mental health in concussed riders, riding helmet manufacturer Charles Owen reveals staggering findings.
Charles Owen has long been a name synonymous with safety and research in the equestrian industry. In 2021, the riding helmet manufacturer investigated mental health in riders for the first time in its history. The landmark study, conducted by University of Brighton MSc student, Charlotte Ricca, involved over a thousand riders.
“We were amazed by the amount of riders willing to participate, as the study required them to share quite sensitive information about their mental health,” Ricca said. “Their willingness to share has enabled us to uncover a serious issue facing the equestrian industry today.” Read the entire article here
Concussions can occur while participating in any sport or recreational activity. Since the circumstances under which a concussion can be sustained are so varied, it’s important for all coaches, parents, and riders to be aware of the signs, symptoms, and what to do if a concussion occurs. MHC is committed to increasing education, awareness, and have established protocols to assist you in gaining the knowledge and skills required for the safety of equestrian athletes. Let's all work together to ensure a safe sport environment.
Concussion awareness and the implementation of appropriate concussion protocols are key elements in ensuring safety in equestrian sport. Sport Manitoba offers an overview of how concussions occur, the symptoms and signs to watch for. To visit their site, click here.
Equestrian Canada (EC) was one of the first national sport bodies in Canada to implement official, sport-specific guidelines on return to sport protocols for athlete concussions. To see the complete guidelines, click here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a concussion as:
A type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
In all suspected cases of concussion, the person should stop the activity right away. Continuing increases their risk of more severe, longer-lasting concussion symptoms, as well as increases their risk of other injury.
Anyone with a suspected concussion should be checked out by a medical doctor.
If any red flag symptoms are present, call an ambulance right away. These may be signs of a more serious injury.
The following pdf documents provide good information and templates for your use.