Need a new helmet? Today is International Helmet Awareness Day

Aegis matrix
My new helmet is an Aegis Matrix with the new conehead technology. I bought one last year and like it so much that I bought a second. Since my horses live in separate barns, I try to have duplicates of important items like helmets. I bought mine at VTO saddlery, one of the tack stores that is supporting the sale (and which always carries this helmet for a great price).

July 12, 2014 is a great day to buy a new helmet because you can take advantage of discounts from a multitude of retailer who are supporting the fifth year of this annual event from If nothing else, the promotion for the event makes you stop and think about the last time you replaced your helmet and the discount adds yet another incentive. More than 230 global retailers are participating.

The riders4helmets campaign was founded in 2010 as a direct result of Olympian Courtney King-Dye’s accident with the aim of educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing a properly fitting, secured and certified helmet. “In 2013, International Helmet Awareness Day received support from 12 helmet manufacturers and retailers in 8 countries,” said King-Dye. “Whether you are a helmet manufacturer, retailer or equestrian, I hope that you will lend your full support to this important event in 2014.”

Helmet brands that have committed involvement in International Helmet Awareness Day 2014 include: Antares-Sellier, Champion, Charles Owen, Devon Aire (Aegis), Gatehouse, GPA, International Riding Helmets (IRH), KEP Italia, LAS helmets (Leslie Sutcliffe),  One K Ovation, Samshield, Tipperary, Troxel and Uvex. “We are grateful to the helmet manufacturers for their continued support of this important event,” said Chad Mendell, Riders4Helmets. “The Riders4Helmets campaign has continued to grow on a global level, as we hope will International Helmet Awareness Day.” 50,000+ unique visitors per month currently visit to read the many articles, watch educational videos and share their stories. The campaign has also hosted four Safety Symposia, videos from which can be viewed on the website.

As someone who long ago adopted an every time, every ride policy, I feel strongly that helmets help protect riders from traumatic brain injuries. Sure, they won’t stop every rider from getting hurt during a fall, but I know that over the years helmets have protected my head on several occasions. Compared to when I was a kid and helmets were hot, bulky and uncomfortable, there are so many more choices now that are cool and comfortable, that riders really have no excuse. Especially with the discounts available to them today.

And yes, I did buy a new helmet. I like the Aegis Matrix with its “conehead” technology and bought one to replace my aging Charles Owen skullcap for every day riding.

10 Important Takeaways on Helmet Safety

Here are 10 important messages about helmet safety that the Lindsey White from Riders4Helmets would like all riders to remember.

  1. If you have a hard impact blow while wearing your hat, immediately replace it with a new hat. There may be damage to the hat that is not visible to the naked eye.
  2. Hat manufacturers generally recommend replacing your hat every four to five years. Hats take a beating over time from sweat, heat, dust and rain, and the Styrofoam in the hat relinquishes its ability to protect the head over time.
  3. A ponytail or different hairstyle can affect the fit of your hat. When you try on hats prior to purchase, wear your hair in the style that you expect to wear it when riding.
  4. If you purchase your hat online, check the date of manufacture. Purchasing a used hat can be very risky and is NOT recommended. The hat may have sustained previous damage that you aren’t able to see.
  5. There is no statistical correlation between skill level and injury likelihood. Professional riders are just as at risk to sustain injury due to a fall as less frequent riders.
  6. Even a fall from a standing horse can be catastrophic. Your injury risk depends on the height from which fall, as well as the speed at which you’re traveling.
  7. Head injuries are cumulative. An original head injury can be made much worse by additional concussions.
  8. Riding is considered more dangerous than downhill skiing and motorcycling.
  9. Approximately 20% of accidents which result in head injury happen while the person is on the ground.
  10. It is best if you invest in your own hat regardless of whether or not you own a horse. “It is a personal purchase. Your hat is designed to fit your head,” says Lyndsey. An incorrectly fitting hat offers very little, to no protection. In addition to wearing a correctly fitting hat, you must have the harness correctly fastened on your hat. If the harness is not fitting snugly, the hat can rotate should you have a fall and it won’t be able to protect your head to its fullest intention.

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