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.
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!