Friday, December 9, 2011

The Great Helmet Debate

As I hope you all are aware, it is critical to replace your helmet any time you fall off and land on it. If you don't, it simply isn't protecting you.

As such, when I fell off and landed on my helmet, I went to replace it. First I went to my local tack store, but that was a massive fail (don't even get me started). I tried to order online with overnight shipping at two different retailers, but both were backordered for a couple weeks. Useless! My next move was to call Smartpak (yes, the number is programmed into my phone) and check their availability. They had the beautiful helmet I was eyeing and immediately sent it via three day shipping for a minimal charge.

Unfortunately, this process had been dragging out and I wanted to be back in the saddle. A fellow boarder had purchased a helmet in the wrong size and offered to sell it to me. Problem: it was the ugliest helmet I had ever seen:

Ugly or not, it was better than a broken helmet and cheaper than a permanent brain injury, so I gritted my teeth and bought it off her.

I continued riding in it until my lovely new helmet arrived.

Here it is! Charles Owen JR8. I actually ordered it in black, but they sent the black/charcoal, and it's pretty too.

Anyways, here is my problem. Now that I have the pretty helmet, I don't want to ride in it. I recognize that if I fall off, I'll have to replace it. I'd far rather break the hideously ugly helmet and have this...

Consciously, I know I should just get over it and wear the pretty one. That way I can punish myself for falling off by making myself wear the ugly one until a new pretty one can come. It's a good incentive. It even makes sense--wear the one you like, keep one in reserve.

I have only taken the pretty one out of the box to try on, though. I can't imagine getting it all dirty and yucky.

What to do?


  1. Oh no, not the hunter skunk-stripe helmet, LOL! Actually, they both look pretty much the same to me. And it never hurts to have two -- I have loaned out my spare several times and still have one to wear for myself.

  2. I LOVE my JR8. Wear the one that fits you best first and foremost. I dropped my JR8 out of my tack locker onto the cement floor and wondered if I should replace it...probably. UGH. But I havent yet. Maybe ask for another JR8 for your next gift occasion, that way you'll have a back-up :P

  3. I have the AYR8 - a big investment coming from Troxels. It fits FANTASTICALLY so there's no way I can continue to wear my poor fitting Troxel (I had no idea the Troxel didn't fit right until I tried the AYR8). But I am a tack princess like you and decided to get a helmet bag from Smartpak to hang within my locker. Also got my first name embroidered on bag :) I do leave it unzipped a lot so the browband dries out, but helmet is otherwise nestled in hanging bag. Plus I have 2 Fresh Helmet Sacks inside so it stays nice, also from SmartPak. <3

  4. So the only difference I see between both helmets is the logo on the front. I am curious what makes the irh so hideously ugly? I am wondering if I should be self conscious about riding in my hideously ugly helmet! But then again I am so against the main stream person that anything with the CO on it instantly turns me off.

  5. Charles Owen helmets are the best. People who disagree havn't tried them on. Not only is it super pretty, but it is a safe helmet, light, and comfortable. Good choice!

  6. I use a schooling helmet. Much cheaper to have a spare, or replace if you need to, when it only costs 30-40 bucks. My good helmet is for shows, clinics, etc.

    Fashionista fail, however =)

  7. I don't find the IRH ugly at all. ??? Looks WAY better than the Tipps and Ovations and most Troxels, in my opinion.
    I've been a CO helmet wearer for years and I l.o.v.e. them!! Right now I have the AYR8--it's hands-down the best helmet I've ever owned. When, God forbid I have to buy a new helmet it, will be another AYR8.

  8. I don't see what's so terribly wrong with the IRH but then... I ride in an Aegis. It's a cheap schooling helmet that fits my head. I hit the base of my head last year when Don bucked me off though, and cracked the dial fit part of the harness. I really OUGHT to replace it... and I recognize that.
    It just hasn't happened yet. Although I did have a western rider friend who hates helmets and will probably never wear them again after she gets off our equestrian team tell me "For the amount of jumping you do, you really ought to have a decent helmet." I guess it's bad if people who complain about having to wear helmets tell you you need a better one.

    I had to have a nice helmet for the team head shots, and I ended up borrowing one from the school... My head is so large, and I'm not kidding, my head is HUGE, that I could barely squeeze on the biggest CO helmet we had, and try as hard as we might, we could not get my hair under it to do the hunter hair. So, finally the coach told me "You know what? It's a picture of your front. Just leave your hair down your back."

    So if I ever buy a nice helmet (which I'll need to if coach ever decides to let me show) I'll need to find the most massive helmet ever produced, lol.

  9. I have an IRH, although not that one, and love it. I think people need to ride in what fits and not get too hung up on brands. Yes, it is nice to like the way it looks too. The CO helmets do not fit me, I have tried them all on. The IRH helmets do fit me, so I look there first for one that I like. As to which helmet to ride it, ride in the one that fits the best, there is nothing more annoying than constantly readjusting your helmet as you ride. If they both fit well then ride in the one you like and keep the other for a spare.

  10. I agree with the posters who talk about fit being the most important helmet issue. Troxels do not fit me well, but the IRH helmets do.

    Charles Owen does have a replacement policy if your helmet is damaged in a fall:

    Charles Owen Crash Replacement Policy:

    Charles Owen, Inc. will gladly replace any helmet involved in a horseback riding accident. Their program is as follows:

    50% off Manufactuer's List Price during the 1st year of ownership
    40% off Manufacturer's List Price during the 2nd year of ownership
    20% off Manufacturer's List Price during the 3rd year of ownership
    The owner of the accident helmet should complete and submit the “Accident Report Form” from Charles Owen’s website; before sending back the helmet to Equus Now!

    All helmets must be returned with the accident report form.

  11. Sprinkler, I think I own that ugly helmet...and hand picked it for my birthday. And think it's beautiful! I heard someone once say that IRH are made for round heads and CO are for oval? Or the reverse. Something where depending on your head shape, one helmet or the other will fit. Unfortunately for me, my head's sooo tiny even the smallest adult helmets don't fit without multiple layers of stick-on padding.

    Except in winter, when my toque (canadian knitted hat) fills it in!

  12. Love the post and the comments. Consider me in the "wear whatever fits your melon best" camp. As for the "look"/brand thing, I wanted a GPA bug eye helmet in the worst way. No rhyme or reason, other than I guess I thought it would keep my head from getting less sweaty and make me look like a "real" jumper at the same time. (Yeah, I know, feel free to point and laugh.) Problem was the GPAs just weren't as comfy and didn't fit as well as the CO. So now I am the proud mom of a CO AYR8, which I need to replace, as I landed on my head not too long ago. Ugh.

  13. Amy (of the Steady variety)--I hate the metal venting thing. It just looks weird to me. Also the helmet hurts my head.

    AnEnglishRider-Please get a new helmet, cheapie or otherwise. I'd miss your blog.

    Sand--If you're into the look, it's not a bad helmet. The metal grate is what (doesn't) do it for me. Ick! It's good to have a lot of different brands around though, since we don't all have the same shape of head.

  14. Wear the one that fits best- gets my vote too!

    If the one is so 'ugly' (I don't think it is, but whatever) just buy a helmet cover for it. They are anywhere from $3-5 and up, depending on color, style, etc. Or you can always sell it and it can help finance another 'pretty' helmet as a spare.

  15. Hahahah, Amy is a girl after my own heart -- since CO's are all trendy, I won't allow one within six feet of my head!

  16. Phooey, you've hurt my feelings. Your "hated" helmet is the one I am wanting to own! :-) Well, I should say I REALLY want a CO AYR8, but no way can I justify spending that much money. After much trying-on at the tack shop we found that exact IRH fits me best. It's actually not my favorite IRH, looks-wise, but you have to get what's going to do the job properly and I don't think it's bad.

    Hope you are enjoying your JR8. I've considered one of those as well so who knows... not riding at all right now so moot point, unfortunately.

    1. To each their own. IRH really doesn't fit me that well, but several people at our barn love them.


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