Helmets and hair styles

Charles Owen Wellington
Given how much a helmet can cost, many equestrians keep their hair styles helmet friendly.

I understand why horse people get locked into their hairstyles. After all, once you’ve spent $300+ on a helmet you think long and hard about making a change that will alter the fit so much that you need a replacement.

Of course you can buy less expensive helmets. In fact, as long as a helmet is ASTM certified, there is no measurable safety difference between the $50 helmet and the $400 one. Except for fit.

The last time I bought a new helmet to hunt in (about a year and a half ago) I tried on EVERY helmet in the tack store (traditional velvet for the hunt field, please) and found to my dismay that the only helmet that was comfortable was the Charles Owen Wellington, for a mere $320. If you’re out hunting, fit is a very important factor. I’ve worn a few helmets that were uncomfortable and while you can stand them for a round of jumps or even a cross country trip, it won’t work if you’re out for 90 minutes.

Having never spent that much on a helmet before, I left the store in a state of shock. That tactic paid off as I found the exact helmet I wanted a few weeks later in the clearance section for a mere $225. I take very good care of it and hope that I don’t have a fall that will mean I have to replace it.

But then of course, there is my hair. I’ve been growing it out for the past few months. The issue of fit hadn’t crossed my mind until this morning when I was en route to the first hunt of cubbing season. I bought my helmet to fit my head — my hair was short enough to be contained in a hair net. Now, that wasn’t going to work.

I french braided my hair as close to my head as possible and breathed a sigh of relief when the helmet did go on. It was a bit snug but not enough to cause a headache or to leave a groove across my forehead (yes, that’s happened to me before).

After the first cast, I didn’t give it a second thought. I was too busy watching the hounds on a glorious (and hot) fall day. Freedom and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I guess that means I can keep my longer hair! How about you? How much do you factor helmet fit into your hair styles?

5 thoughts on “Helmets and hair styles

  1. I have long, not-quite-waist-length hair; it is thick enough that putting it inside the helmet is a non-option even if I wanted to. However, this means that I do compromise a bit and have an adjustable dial on my Troxel helmet.

    When my hair is down or back in a ponytail, it fits; when my hair is French-braided in a single braid in back, I can loosen the helmet a few notches and it still fits. I’d love to be able to do two French braids, but that (or even a headband!) causes pressure points on the side of my head rather quickly.

    I’m not a huge fan of using the dials to adjust how well it fits one’s head, but to fit my hair on any given day (within reason)? I’m okay with that.

    1. I like the adjustable helmets. Well, at least I like my bike helmet which has an adjustable dial as I can accommodate different hair styles more easily. Sadly, I don’t believe that Troxel makes a traditional Velvet helmet with that option. I’ll have to check again.

  2. I have med long hair- I just tie it back and fold it over itself in a loop or put it in a plait. Either way its below the hat.

  3. Right now I have a cheapo Troxel with the dial, it works great for schooling. If I ever got back into the Hunter ring, I would probably cut my hair so that it fit under my old show helmet, instead of having to buy a new one. Luckily, the cows and deer I encounter on our trail rides don’t anything about my white plastic coated helmet!
    I couldn’t imagine riding with my hair not under my helmet…I can still hear my instructor from childhood in her clipped British accent scolding me for wearing my hair loose after the age of ten. “Now, dear, you are no longer a child. No more braids for you. I want that hair under your helmet, or you will not be riding again.”

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