Putting a Dollar Value on My Brain

Riding helmets come in a broad range of styles and prices, as we all know. Independent studies have found they also come with a broad range of variance in protection, which apparently has no correlation to price. In some cases, what you are paying for is a brand name. But in all cases, what you are paying for is your brain.

My GPA First Lady has been the most comfortable certified/approved helmet that I have worn. My personal experience with it had been nothing but love, right up until Eli and I took a spill. I didn’t land head first, and I think horse and rider got incredibly lucky we weren’t more banged up. Even as I got back on and finished our ride that day, I still felt completely comfortable in the First Lady. The helmet is coming up on 4 years old, so I knew I’d be helmet shopping soon, but I had expected to just buy another First Lady.

Until I took my helmet off and found it filled with arena footing. What if Eli had stepped on me or fell on me? What if a hoof landed square on one of the sizable vents of the helmet? Buying another First Lady was no longer a sure thing. Is my brain worth $700-$800 dollars? Presumably yes, but only if that $800 guarantees excellent protection. And now I questioned whether it really did.

I started looking at other brands, finding that both the new Trauma Void helmets and the tried and true Charles Owen helmets performed well in safety tests. And my brain was happy because of the lower price tag on many of the styles. Trauma Voids are going for around $250, and then Dover had this Labor Day shopping incentive of spend over $200, get a $100 gift certificate. How much easier could clicking on “Add to Cart” get? So that helmet is a go. But it’s not the only one.

And it fits so it gets to stay

Sometimes I see something and it fills my brain and I can’t unsee it. I had been exploring the various models of Charles Owen helmets, and really like the broader visor on on the SP8. The SP8s are going for around $440 – $490, depending on whether you select the microsuede or the leather look. And then I was exploring the Charles Owen website, not just online tack shops. And I saw it.

I looked and looked in American online tack shops and didn’t find the helmet, so I started looking overseas. Considering the strength of the American dollar against the British pound right now, and the generally lower price tag on Charles Owens in GB, I found it in a tack shop that offered international shipping, and could get the helmet for under $400 USD, including shipping. I risked it.

So I have one new helmet here and one on the way, at a cost together that is lower than what I would have spent on one First Lady. Money well spent on my brain! Hopefully the SP8 gets here soon.

However, it’s going to be … a while … before I may be able to ride in a new helmet. We just got a deluge at the barn on Thursday night and more rain is expected.

I guess this is our world now, filled with more frequent extreme weather events? It was A LOT of rain. Let me tell you how fun driving in it was. Ponding on all the roadways. So in the meantime, I’ll be hand walking Eli around as much as I can and maybe I’ll wear the Trauma Void anyway just for fun. We do need the rain, but not all at once!

27 thoughts on “Putting a Dollar Value on My Brain

  1. I’m a big fan of helmets and have always worn one even back in the 1960s when I first started riding. Back then they were made of wood and fastened with a little elastic under the chin. It was a big deal when a proper sort of strap that went round our ears and fastened under the chin arrived! I have a Samshield for shows and a new Trillium with venting . My GPA was so so SO hot this summer I couldn’t take it anymore so I got the Trillium which has more airflow and a more snug fit as well as better back of the head protection. Good post Karen I hope you will dry out soon.


  2. That rainy photo looks like Wisconsin! We’ve been getting deluges daily for weeks. Like, 9-11 inches at a time with bad flooding in some places. And no riding outside. Yay indoor arena grid work? We also needed the rain, just…not that much, and not all at once.


  3. Add us to the ridiculous amount of rain camp. There was severe flooding 30 minutes from me from Sunday into Monday. Lots of people displaced from their home and underwater businesses. Sad deal.

    I owned an SP8 several years ago and I loved the look of it, along with the wide brim. Though sadly it was shaped slightly differently than my AYR8 and it pushed on my temples really painfully. It was just too narrow for me. I hope it fits better for you!

    I haven’t tried the Trauma Void yet, but we can order it at the tack store where I work, so I’m thinking of ordering it next time we place an order with either BoT or Horze/Finn Tack.


    • Ugh, those poor people! What is with this weather.

      I am really pleased with how comfortable the Trauma Void is, although that’s just wearing it for a few minutes to try on. Hopefully it stays comfortable for a whole ride.


  4. I totally want a Trauma Void, but I literally have 0 need for another helmet right now. But I’m going to get one sooner or later. Assuming it fits, of course. I figure between all the schooling and tuition, my brain is worth somewhere in the $400k range so really a $400 helmet is nothing.


    • Lol I should go back and figure out how much 2 masters degrees were, plus my salary and side gig … but with a $400 helmet with a lifespan of 4-5 years it’s only a few dollars a day to protect our $1 million dollar brains 🙂


  5. I do think so much of what we buy is overpriced due to name, and it’s nice to see that sometimes the less expensive items are actually the safest, meaning we have no excuses!
    I hope they both fit!


  6. That glitter is awesome haha. And the trauma void looks good on you! I like my schooling helmet that I have now, but I knew even a while back that once competing was going to be an option for me, I’d get a new helmet and I’d shop around for one that REALLY fit my head. The IRH helmet fit me perfectly and looked good on my head, and it doesn’t have a tone of air vents either. I’m SUPER curious about the trauma void tho, so I’ll probably get both and decide haha. I’m glad you found 2 that you like! You need to take lots of selfies of you and Eli and that glitter helmet LOL


  7. I really want to try the Trauma Void, but I want to try it on in person before I commit. I’m just lazy about mailing things back. It looks great on you, glad it worked! Also DYING to see that sparkly Charles Owen! I just bought the rose gold One K with the wider brim. I was actually never fond of the wide brim look, but it’s starting to grow on me. I’m a sheep. What can I say?


    • I was so worried it wouldn’t fit my head shape! But it seems to. I looked REALLY HARD at those rose gold One Ks … the wider brim, though, for me, is about riding in Texas. Anything to protect my skin from any more sun damage, I am into it.


  8. So jealous the Trauma Void fits you! I tried them on at my local Dover and NADA, a definite no go on the fit or else I’d totally have one right now as well. Fingers crossed to CO fits you when it arrives as well!!


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