This is an interesting video on how they perform some of the ASTM Equestrian Helmet testing.
What does it all mean?
The ASTM and SEI standard ratings have become a necessary requirement for most items involving safety. As shown in the abvove video certain tests are preformed on helmets to see if they meet the requried standards. Once the standards are in place the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) make sure that the standards are met. It doesn’t really matter unless your helmet is fitted properly.
The Equestrian Medical Safety Association states “there is no evidence that higher priced helmets or those which use exotic materials test better than the other certified models.” As long as the helmet has the SEI and the ASTM stickers located on them they should provide adequate protection in case of a fall. Some of the more expensive helmets offer satin linings and are sized to allow a more custom fit. For a complete list of all helmets that are approved by the SEI go to this website and search on Equestrian Helmets. Make sure that your helmet is listed and the helmets of your students and children.
photo credit: caseywest
All protective helmets including bicycle, hockey and equestrian have to pass the flat anvil test (dropping the helmet from 6feet onto a flat surface) and other tests as determined specifically by the sport. The equestrian helmet is tested on an anvil that mimics a horse’s hoof or a fence rail. It is a sharp corner that is placed on the anvil head.
As the helmet is dropped there are computer sensors that register the gravity force that would be transfered to the riders head in the case of a fall. It has been identified that serious head injuries occur when impact is 300g (g meaning gravity force).
Dont kid yourself into thinking that a bicycle helmet will protect you as well as a riding helmet. Bike helmets are tested to mimic falling onto curbs and roadsides but equestrian helmets are tested to withstand hits from metal horse shoe, jumps and rocks. It is best to have proper protection, meaning a helmet designed for riding, when you are sitting on a horse.