Helmets and protective riding vests are pieces of safety equipment. Helmets and protective riding vests can appear safe for use after a riding incident but the hidden damage potrays a false sense of safety which could have life altering affects on a person physically and mentally.
When a helmet has endured a fall it can be very difficult to determine if it is damaged by looking it. The material under the shell, which offers the most protection is the most delicate. If it has sustained a fall, it will no longer offer the protection needed. The same applies to a helmet was stored in hot environments like vehicles or are older than 5 years old, or has been dropped, it doesn’t offer the protection needed if a rider were to be in a fall. This emphasizes the importance of replacing the helmet after 5 years, sustained any impact or damage, and never buy a used helmet as you will never know how the helmet was cared for, stored, if it was dropped, endured a fall and the age of the helmet.
Protective Riding Vests
When a protective riding vest has endured a fall, the material under the outer fabric can again be compressed and damaged giving the piece of safety equipment a false sense of safety. Similarly to a helmet, the protective riding vest will not offer the protection needed if it’s older than 5 years, sustained impact, has visible or invisible damage, stored in hot environments like a hot vehicle, if their is hair or debris in the valcro or it doesn’t fit. This again, emphasizes the importance to buy a new protective riding vest to eliminate the risk of any damage.
BETA, the British Equestrian Trade Association who certifies body protectors says, “Hidden damage that a body protector may have sustained is also a good reason for avoiding second-hand garments or those with unknown histories.”
Don’t Bargain with your Safety Its always nice to find a bargain, but bargaining on your safety with safety equipment is not something someone should ever do, especially an adult with a child. This could be the difference between life and death or a serious injury vs. a minor injury.
People selling safety equipment can say it has never been in a riding accident but you will never know for sure. But you will know that buying a helmet or a safety vest from a store with a no return policy on safety equipment will provide you with the safety you need.
Replacement Helmets and Vests after a Fall
In the event a rider does sustain a fall, some helmet and vest manufacturers will replace your damaged helmet or vest with a new one for a fraction of the cost. This is a win, win situation. you can contact the manufacturer directly or reach out to the store the helmet was originally purchased from.
New equipment may more costly new but when a person, especially a child endures a riding accident, a person will want that child to be fully protected as riding injuries can be serious or even fatal with long term physical and/or psychological damage. In these situations, a person will only want the best for the child and they would give anything back to spend a few more dollars in getting properly fitting equipment that is not compromised in any way.
BETA (n.d.). Body Protection Made Easy. Retrieved from https://www.beta-uk.org/pages/safety-equipment/body-protectors.php
Charles Owen (n.d.). Body Protector Safety Standards. Retrieved from https://www.charlesowen.com/body-protector-standards
Charles Owen. (2021.) When you should replace a riding helmet. https://www.charlesowen.com/guides/why-should-you-replace-your-helmet-after-a-fall.html
Charles Owen. (N.d.). How to measure and fit a riding helmet. Retrieved from https://www.charlesowen.com/guides/how-to-measure-head-riding-helmet.html
Tipperary (n.d.). Care and Cleaning. Retrieved from https://tipperaryequestrian.com/care-and-cleaning
Troxel Helmets (n.d.). FAQ. Retrieved from https://www.troxelhelmets.com/faqs