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Best horse riding helmets 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated November 1, 2020

Kyle DunnHi! My name is Kyle Dunn. Let’s discuss this topic to help you select best horse riding helmets for 2018 and take your experience to a whole new level with aerators.

In fact, it was the first time I had been in this situation and what I thought was going to be a very quick and easy task turned out to be a good many weeks of research. I hope that my Top 3 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.

Let’s get to it!

Best horse riding helmets of 2018

I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. Not all horse riding helmets are created equal though. I review the three best horse riding helmets on the market at the moment.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the horse riding helmets by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Troxel Intrepid Helmet

Troxel Intrepid Helmet

Sure fit Pro fit system
Black duratec finish
Self-locking buckle
For such a price and the level of quality it can’t even have any cons, only pick holes.

Why did this horse riding helmets win the first place?

The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable.
















№2 – Tipperary Sportage Equestrian Sport Helmet

Tipperary Sportage Equestrian Sport Helmet

Contoured drop-back shell
Comfort foam interior
Flexible visor
It is not for the small jobs.
Heavy in weight as compared to others in our lineup.

Why did this horse riding helmets come in second place?

Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.
















№3 – Ovation Schooler Helmet

Ovation Schooler Helmet

Easy adjust dial for a snug fit
High flow vents keep your head cool
Very expensive.
Takes some getting used to.

Why did this horse riding helmets take third place?

We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
















horse riding helmets Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy horse riding helmets, right? No!

Riding hats

We strongly advise that the hat you choose has been correctly fitted by a BETA-trained professional. Most tack shops that sell crash hats will be able to fit one for you.

Champion CPX3000

A traditional style riding hat, which is covered in velvet so there is no chance of your hat silk being swept off and causing an “egg-head moment” — riding fashion suicide. This hat carries the PAS01and BSEN138safety standards and is very comfortable to wear.

Gatehouse Conquest MkII

This stylish, lightweight helmet is well ventilated with a removable, washable liner for improved comfort and hygiene. We think this is a really universal hat as it looks good with a tailcoat, in the showjumping ring and will be comfortable hacking or schooling. Conforms to the PAS 015:201safety standard.

PROtector Cool XCountry Helmet

A jockey skull with vents at both the back and the front to keep your head cool, plus it comes with a specifically designed mesh hat cover to allow for air circulation. It conforms to all the up to date safety standards (SNELL E2001) and therefore is approved by BE, BS, BD, British Riding Clubs and the Pony Club.

Riding Hat Dos and Dont’s

Do replace your riding hat immediately if it suffers an extreme impact.

Do buy the best riding hat you can afford and never compromise safety.

Do throw away a hat that has sustained a significant level of impact is thrown away even if the damage isn’t visible.

Do report any accidents you and your hat are involved in to the British Horse Society as they maintain records of how hats perform.

Do replace your riding hat every years – because the padding compresses with wear and factors such as sunlight can break down its construction.

Materials of horse riding hats

Once upon a time horse riding hats were only made of velvet but nowadays different materials are widely available. Velvet, vinyl, leather-look, suede-look and plastic are all options as long as they include the correct safety rating. For competitions, check the requirements beforehand to ensure your hat meets the required criteria as you may be eliminated.

Choosing your riding hat

There are two genres of riding hats: single size and adjustable. Choosing between them depends on your discipline and riding ability.

Features of a riding hat

The chin strap is often overlooked despite being a key part of the hat. It needs to be easily adjustable so that it feels comfortable. The purpose of the chin strap is to ensure that the hat does not move and that it stays in the correct position on your head whilst you’re riding.  It should always be securely fastened under the chin and you should only be able to get one finger under it when it’s on. If you can get two fingers, side by side under the strap, the strap is not tight enough.  Adjust the chin strap before you adjust any of the other straps or dials if the hat has one.

The straps at the back and side of the hat come if several different designs but all serve the same purpose: to stop the hat from tipping forwards.  Fasten them equally.

Hats either have a 3- or a 4- point harness. The ‘3’ and the ‘4’ simply relate to the number of places it can be adjusted. Obviously a 4-point harness is more desirable as it means that you’ll be able to adjust fit in the maximum number of places for the best fit without compromising on safety.

Low Profile

Some of these liners are attached via Velcro while others are attached via tiny poppers.


Consider buying a ventilated hat if you have a ‘hot head’! From the safety angle, if you’re concerned about whether a vented hat will provide the same level of protection as a non-vented one…be assured that it will. Vented riding hats go through the same rigorous testing process and having vents does not reduce the level of protection. A good example is the Gatehouse RXCSkull Cap. It’s the most protective riding hat we sell. It has vents and yet still has the greatest level of safety certification, i.e. Snell E200and PAS: 015.

From the aesthetic angle, if you’re concerned about how the hat will look when you’ve got it on, the vents are incorporated in to the overall design of the hat giving a modern look which is incredibly popular.

This standard was developed in America by the Snell Institute.

It’s a higher performance standard which includes all aspects of the American Society for testing and Materials (ASTM) and PAS 01but with the addition of testing with a sharper horseshoe anvil (to replicate a horse kick or impact with a sharp surface).

It’s also been tested for higher impacts and with an additional hemispherical anvil to represent an uneven but not a sharp surface such as a fence or tree.

Ensure your riding hat fits

Comfort and fit are essential and, as different brands offer varying styles and fittings, it’s vital to use a qualified hat fitter to help you find a hat that suits your head.

After all, only a properly fitted riding hat will provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event of a fall.

Your hat should fit your head snugly with the front sitting no more than about 11/2in or two fingers above your eyebrows.

If your hat can be easily dislodged when the chinstrap is fastened, it’s too big. It’s also important to note that there’s no guarantee a second hand hat comes damage free so always buy new.

Why You Need Good Gear

Last time we checked, the fastest human in the world is Usain Bolt. During the 100-meter sprint, he peaked at 27.7mph. If he were to fall going that speed, he’d likely sustain serious injury; the human body simply didn’t evolve to go any faster. Which is why even falling off a horse (Guinness World Record top speed: 43.9mph) can lead to death.

On a motorcycle, you’re going to be traveling much faster. Even around town you’ll be hitting 50 mph or more and, on the highway, you may find yourself exceeding 8mph. Your skin, bones and organs were not designed to withstand impacts at those speeds.

Then there’s the question of abrasion. As a general rule of thumb, figuring the average road surface, you can expect to lose one millimeter of flesh for every mile per hour you’re going over 30 when you crash. No, we don’t know why the thumb mixed empirical and metric units. So, at the top speed of that horse, you’ll have lost 1.4cm (or more than half an inch) of skin and muscle. Where on your body can you afford to lose that much? And that’s at only 4mph. What if you crash at 70 mph and lose an inch and a half? We’re talking serious, life-threatening injuries from abrasion alone.

Then there’s the weather. What if it’s kinda cold out? Even at, say, a 50F ambient temperature, windchill at 5mph is going to make it feel like it’s 25F. In other words: from the kind of temperature in which you might need a light sweater, to the kind of cold where you want long undies and a down jacket. Getting wet would compound that much further.

Gear can even help when it’s hot, by better allowing your body’s natural evaporative cooling effect to take place. Under constant wind blast, the sweat is blown off your skin too quickly for it to have a cooling effect. Put on a (summer) jacket, helmet, boots, gloves and pants, however, and your body is free to cool itself as designed.

Luckily, mankind has achieved through science what evolution has failed to provide: clothing that protects you from accidents and the elements, and makes riding an easier, more comfortable experience.

Street helmets look like this.

Dirt helmets look like this. You wear them with goggles. Yes, they do protect your face, but that pronounced chin may exaggerate torsional forces in a crash. They’ll also be noisy and unstable at highway speeds. Choose the right helmet for the kind of riding you plan to do.

To be legally worn on the road in Trumpistan, a motorcycle helmet must be marked with a DOT-approved sticker. You’ll see those affixed prominently on the back.

That’s just a minimal legal standard, though. Two other certifications compete for your dollar by promising greater safety, both voluntary in the United States. “ECE 22.05” is the European Union’s legal standard, while there’s also something called Snell, which is popular with a a number of large helmet manufacturers.

If you want the best possible safety, we say opt for an ECE 22.05-rated helmet. Every single racer in MotoGP (the top level of motorcycle sport) chooses to wear an ECE-rated helmet, and they (the helmets, not the MotoGP riders) tend to be lighter than their Snell equivalent.

You don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get the safest possible helmet. Many manufacturers offer high-quality, high-spec helmets for not an excessive amount of dough. More expensive helmets generally cost more because they use more expensive materials for shell construction like a fiberglass/Kevlar/carbon fiber weave. This can make them lighter, but does not make them any safer. Spending a lot nets you things like paint quality, fancy graphics, and fancier ventilation, but not necessarily added safety.

Other considerations to bear in mind are weight, noise, and aerodynamics. You’ll find those addressed in motorcycle helmet reviews.

Riding Apparel To Avoid

Many beginner horse riders are tempted to show up at the stable in a pair of shorts and some sneakers, with a baggy sweatshirt thrown over top over a tank top. Bad idea. As anyone who has ever ridden in shorts can tell you: it hurts. The skin on your legs will get pinched and chaffed to the point that you will find it difficult to think about anything else. While close contact with your horse is desirable, bare legs and English saddles do not go together. Sandals, sneakers and open toed shoes should also be avoided. Sandals can fall off as you ride and open-toed shoes leave your feet vulnerable to heavy hooves. As comfortable as sneakers, or tennis shoes, may be, they do not provide a firm enough heel to communicate with your horse. Also, the thick rubber sole can lead to potentially dangerous issues when mounting and dismounting.

Technology both make high quality, ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets.

When shopping for an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet, be sure to use the sizing charts provided online. You will need to measure the circumference of your head, using a tape measure at the widest part of your forehead in inches. Retention harnesses should be of the 3-point variety, which means the strap is attached on either side and in the back, ensuring a secure fit.

You can shop for riding helmets that offer extra measures of comfort with features such as ventilation strips and moisture-wicking panels, depending upon the climate where you will be riding regularly. Riders should never buy a used riding helmet as there is no way to guarantee that it has not been in a fall or other collision and thereby lost its protective value. If you are involved in a fall or collision, it is imperative that you replace your riding helmet immediately.

Riding Apparel For The Lesson Ring

In addition to your ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet, you will also need paddock boots, jodhpurs and a riding shirt before you enter the riding arena for your lessons. Paddock boots, also known as jodhpur boots, are ankle high boots, generally made out of leather.

Paddock boots provide good support for the ankle, a firm heel to communicate with your horse, and a sole that will prevent slipping in the stirrup iron. The extra toe protection provided by the toe cap in paddock boots also prevents injuries to your toes and feet when working around horses on the ground. Paddock boots can be found in lace-up and pull-on varieties. Tuffrider is one of the most popular brands of paddock boots, offering a wide selection of styles, looks and sizes. Paddock boots can be work in the show ring if they are neat and clean.

Jodhpurs, traditionally, were loose fitting pants that held the lower leg snugly, Arabian Nights style.

Modern day jodhpurs are snug riding pants that provide good contact with your horse, protection from chaffing and pinched skin, while allowing the necessary freedom of movement needed when jumping. Most jodhpurs feature an inner knee patch for a better grip, usually made from leather.

Riding shirts for the lesson ring are not necessary, so long as the rider wears clothing that will not cause safety risks or become a distraction. Serious riders are better off getting accustomed to wearing a regular riding shirt, called a ratcatcher. A ratcatcher is a short-collared shirt with extra long sleeves. It can be long-sleeved or sleeveless and is designed specifically with English riding in mind.

Riding Apparel For The Show Ring

Tuffrider and Equine Couture are your best bets for high quality merchandise that will provide you with the appearance and ease of movement necessary to do your best in the show ring.

Your show clothes wardrobe must include a pair of tall boots. Generally, these are black and very snug.

Tall boots include field boots, dress boots and hunt boots. They come just below the knee and are stiff. The major difference between hunt boots and dress boots is that hunt boots feature a tan cuff at the top edge. Field boots feature ankle lacing that allows for greater flexibility. Tuffrider is the biggest name in high quality tall boots.

Equine Couture and Tuffrider are all recognized as the brands of choice in show clothes. Show clothes must be tailor fit, comfortable and flexible. Everything must be as clean and shiny as possible for you to win that blue ribbon. If you ride in the dressage ring, elegance is the name of the game. Your dressage show clothes will include white breeches, white or black gloves, a black shadbelly and a black dressage hat. Dressage classes are the only time a rider is allowed to show without an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet.

Shopping for quality show clothes and riding apparel and a riding helmet requires that you understand the need for form-fitting, well made equestrian apparel. Riding horses means you must be able to move freely, maintain contact with your horse, and look your best, all at the same time.

The Little Extras Make All The Difference

Whether you are taking a riding lesson in jodhpur boots and a riding helmet, or decked out in your classy show clothes, there are several little extras that can take you from average to exceptional. Riding gloves not only protect your hands from dirt and injury, but they add a touch of elegance to your overall appearance. Riding gloves also remind you to keep your hands quiet by bringing your attention to them.

A high quality crop not only helps you to communicate with your horse, but it can also give you that extra touch of style and authority, along with your other show clothes. A good crop is an excellent schooling tool in the lesson arena. Thick riding socks will keep your feet dry and comfortable and a trim riding jacket will keep you warm in winter without interfering with your riding skills. Over the counter products are simply not designed for the body movements required to ride well and safely.

The Right Stuff for Riding Lessons

Does your little girl want a pony? Does your son want to be a cowboy like Woody from Toy Story? You are not alone.

As parents we love to encourage our children to pursue their interests and we love making their dreams come true. Riding or owning a horse is a dream for many. Riding horses has some incredible benefits, but those benefits come with some big costs and commitments. Before jumping into the world of horses, be sure you have the right stuff to make this new adventure a success.

The Right Age

There isn’t a perfect age to start riding lessons. It will vary from child to child. However, most trainers and riding instructors recommend that a child be in at least first grade or around years old.

While children show an interest in horses and horseback riding at a much younger age, they do not have the attention span or body strength that is required to actually learn how to ride a horse without assistance. Most riding schools do not take children under the age of for group lessons. In a group setting, someone cannot stay with each rider, and children under need someone nearby for safety.

If your four year old wants to ride, by all means, see if you can find a stable that will let your child ride one of their ponies. Just understand that you will be paying for pony rides where your child is led around by the instructor. That is not the same thing as riding lessons but it is not a bad thing either. Starting out with pony rides or visits to a stable before formal lessons begin is a great idea! Your young child can learn basic horsemanship and safety. For example, everyone needs to know not to walk up and surprise a horse from behind. Through visits to a stable, your child can learn the basics and will continue to fall in love with horses and feel comfortable around them. This will give her a head start when she does start formal lessons at an appropriate age.

The Right Commitment

Leasing a horse for riding lessons is a great next step when you think your little rider is ready for more than a weekly lesson. Riding schools lease horses to students who want to ride and care for a horse regularly but are not ready to buy a horse. Leasing a horse can give you a good idea of what kind of commitment is required from you and your child with horse ownership. Horses need regular exercise, not just one ride a week. You will see if your child still loves riding when she is at the stables everyday in warm weather and cold.

Buying a horse is a life changing commitment. Horses can live 30-4years! Buying a horse is the cheap part compared to the lifetime of care that will be needed.

Boarding does not include vet bills or farrier bills for shoeing.

You will also be paying your trainer, apart from the boarding, to train the horse and your little rider.

The bond that forms between horse and rider is incredible.

Too many horses end up on rescue lists or even worse, on the way to a slaughterhouse. Make the right commitment and don’t buy unless you are truly ready for horse ownership.

The Right Gear

If you have decided to begin riding lessons for your child, you are going to need some gear. The requirements will be different for every stable and instructor. At a minimum, you can expect your child to need a riding helmet and hard soled boots with a heel. A riding helmet is just as crucial for horseback riding as a bicycle helmet is for riding a bike or a car seat is for riding in a car. The good news is that you can get schooling helmets without spending a lot of money and some are even adjustable and can be worn for years as your child grows. Troxel is a great brand that makes an adjustable helmet that is also affordable.

Get the right helmet. Your child needs her own helmet fitted to her head. Helmets come with padding and adjust to allow a proper fit. Helmets can expire like car seats. Check the manufactured date on any helmet and do not use a helmet more than years old. Replace a helmet after a hard impact. Do not wear a bike helmet to ride a horse. Riding helmets are designed for riding a horse and bike helmets are designed for riding a bike.

Riding pants are always a good idea and you can get an inexpensive pair of schooling pants like these from Dover Saddlery or from your local tack shop. You should not need to buy any tack like a saddle or bridle for a once a week riding lesson.

Don’t just pick any instructor and sign your child up.

Visit the stable first. Ensure that the facilities are safe and clean.

Your child should be taking lessons in a fenced in area clear of obstacles and obstructions.

The horses should look healthy and well cared for with clean stalls.

The Right Reasons

There are lots of reasons to encourage an interest in horses and horseback riding. You will see your child’s physical health improve through riding horses. Riding is an isometric exercise that improves core strength, balance, coordination, muscle tone and flexibility.

Working with horses, whether through riding lessons or owning and caring for your own horse everyday improves self confidence and teaches your child how to be caring, responsible and in charge.

To be an equestrian is to be someone who works hard and is committed. To be an equestrian is to be someone who is fiercely confident and full of love.  To be an equestrian is to be strong, patient, and caring. If these are traits that you desire for your child, get her started with the right stuff and don’t look back.


One of the biggest factors you’ve got to think about is whether this equipment is going to be used by multiple people.

Obviously horseback riding gear for kids is going to differ greatly from horse back riding gear for adults.

Gender is also going to play a factor as horse riding pants for girls will be quite different than the male version.


If there is one piece of horse riding attire that is absolutely essential when riding horses it is a horse riding helmet. There is absolutely no reason not to wear one, no matter what your experience level may be.

No matter how well you think you know your horse you have to understand that they are still unpredictable creatures. You never know when your horse might get spooked by a random animal or decide to buck in rebellion.

Horse riding accidents can be devastating and all precautions should be taken to ensure that you’re protected, especially from a potential head injury. The emphasis on preventing concussions in other sports has led to a lot of new technology that benefits the quality of horse riding helmets as well.

Even if you already have a helmet that you like it’d be well worth your time to check out some of the newer helmets that have the latest in what safety technology has to offer. For US customers, you’ll want to make sure your helmet is ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved.

Depending on your discipline, you’ll also want to be sure that your helmet is certified if you plan on entering any shows or contests. Many competitions have their own rules for which helmets can be used so make sure you know exactly what type of helmet you need to be getting.

If style is important to you, there are tons of different options for color as well as the structure of the helmet.

Show jumping enthusiasts may want to go with a skull cap type helmet that doesn’t restrict the front view when the head is tilted while riders who are hacking will probably want something a little more colorful and with a little more personal style to it.

The boots you choose are once again going to be dictated by your riding style. Paddocks are the boot of choice for most riders choosing a show discipline.

The second is that you’ll want to be sure that it’s the right fit to prevent any possible complications from getting caught in the stirrup. A rider getting his foot caught in the stirrup is one of the most common serious injuries that can result from riding a horse, especially for beginners.

Horse riding boots for women differ from mens horse riding boots in both size and style. The two most popular types of horse riding boots are paddock boots and western boots. Generally women prefer the paddock style while men prefer western, although this is once again dependent on the type of discipline that you choose.

Horse Riding Socks

Riders that plan on participating in riding during the winter months may want to choose some of the warmer options available. A lot of riders have been moving towards socks that do a good job of gathering the perspiration from your feet. Any experienced rider knows that your feet sweat like crazy when you’re riding and having something to limit that perspiration can be a blessing.

The horse riding gloves you choose are, more than likely, going to be heavily dependent on what discipline you choose. Most show riders are going to want something that is a bit more stylish and uniform than someone who is simply riding for leisure.

Grip is the most essential factor when choosing which horse riding gloves are the best option for you. You’ll want to make sure that your hands aren’t constantly slipping as keeping your balance is obviously the most important part of riding.

Gloves are generally inexpensive although the price can be significant if your discipline is in the rodeo department. Obviously grip and quality are more important in the rodeo discipline than any other, although no matter what type of gloves you choose you’ll want to be certain that you can maintain a strong grip on the reins at all times.

Not having a strong grip can be a huge detriment to your safety, especially when making jumps or if the horse you’re riding tends to take off at unexpected times. Some leisure riders prefer to go without gloves although that is only recommended as an option for experienced riders.


Saddles are the ultimate long term horse back riding gear because they can usually last owners anywhere between 10-20 years.

The saddle is what keeps you balanced on the horse so you’ll want to make sure that it’s exactly the right fit for you. It’s essential that the saddle is comfortable for both you and the horse. Most people make the decision to consult a saddle fitter before purchasing one to ensure that everything works together perfectly.

If you’re purchasing horseback riding gear for kids, you may want to buy used being that you’ll almost certainly have to purchase a new one once your kids grow out of it.

Cross Country

Cross country riding is a favorite of many casual riders as it involves galloping through a long distance course. This is considered one of the more dangerous disciplines since your horse is generally moving a faster pace than most other disciplines.

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Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.

The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

Fitting a Helmet

Because a helmet must fit properly to provide adequate protection, a helmet should not be used by more than one rider. The first step in purchasing a helmet is to take accurate measurements of your head. Use a measuring tape that is marked in centimeters as this yields the most accurate results. Be sure to write down the measurements as you take them. Having someone else assist you can make the task easier.

Style your hair just as you wear it when you ride. Different competitive disciplines have different dress codes, and if you compete in multiple disciplines and wear your hair differently in each, you may need to purchase a helmet for each. This is especially important if you have long or thick hair that is tucked under the helmet for one event, such as jumping, and then worn in a bun when you compete in dressage. Remember that your hair comprises part of your head measurements, so if you go from long hair to short or vice versa, your helmet might fit improperly.

Concussions were reduced by 2percent and head injuries by 2percent when the United States Pony Club tightened its regulations for headgear.

Find the widest part of your head, which will include the prominent rounded area on the back of the head. Typically, the widest part of the head will be about an inch above the eyebrows. Run the measuring tape just above the ears, making sure it encompasses the back “bump.” Using the measurements you obtained, look up the size conversion chart prepared by the helmet manufacturer.

The visor should fall just above and parallel to the eyebrows. There should not be a gap between your chinstrap and your skin, but the strap should just touch the skin, not pinch or chafe it. Make sure that the chinstrap and suspension do not pinch your ears.

Replacing a Helmet

The protective core in your riding helmet is not indestructible. Once it absorbs an impact, it could be completely compromised, even if you don’t see any cracks or visible damage. This means that it can no longer offer you maximum protection. Whether you take a spill while making a jump or drop your helmet on a concrete floor, you need to replace it promptly. Since there is no way to verify if the helmet core’s integrity is still intact, it is not safe to buy second-hand helmets no matter how gently worn they appear to be.

Even if your helmet never comes into contact with the ground, you should replace it at least every five years. The materials used in helmets will degrade over time. As it deteriorates, it will become more ineffective at absorbing impacts and protecting you. In addition, manufacturers are constantly researching new materials and production methods to improve equestrian safety, so you can also take advantage of any technological advances made.

Defining a horse trek

Where do you want to ride? Lake Khovsgol region, Terelj National Park near Ulan Bator, and the Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia are scenic, popular destinations. Karakorum in central Mongolia is also a good place to organize a custom Mongolia horse trek. These places have operators equipped to handle tourists, so are the easiest places to organize a trip from. Otherwise, horses are everywhere and you can start wherever you like if you have the time, patience, and a Mongolian-speaker.

How much time to spend on a Mongolia horse trek is really up to you. Riding is rewarding but not always comfortable -particularly on the local saddles. If you haven’t ridden on long journeys before, and like more of the comforts in life, then be conservative: book a brief ride or an overnight ride -you can always extend or do another ride if you enjoy it. Places like Terelj and the South-West shore of Lake Khovsgol have enough tourist facilities that you could plan to find a warm yurt and even some hot showers each night. This, plus the option of kicking your feet up and having a break for a day, might encourage some to take a longer trip.

Riding tips and basics

Approach a horse from the left side and start chatting away to put it at ease. They can see you coming this way. Don’t approach a Mongolian horse from the right and never approach a horse from the rear. Consider the area beside and behind a horse’s rear legs a no-go zone.

Try to lead the horse so you’re on higher ground than the horse before you mount. Stroke it’s neck and talk to it to build rapport. Have your guide hold the horse still if you’re not confident. Grab onto the front grip of the saddle (i.e. a pommel on a Western saddle) before putting the front of your left foot in the stirrup. Put the weight on your left leg as much as you can, swing up, and take your foot over into the right stirrup.

Always keep your heels down. Try to point your toes outwards rather than inwards, as this helps your legs grip onto the saddle. Don’t put your feet further into the stirrups than the front ball. You don’t have to post when the horse is jogging, but do put more weight onto the stirrups than on the saddle, and try to rock naturally with the horse’s motion.

What to take

A Western saddle and tackle would make a Mongolia horse trek a lot more comfortable. These are obviously very bulky items and would be out of the question for most.

But those on a lengthy, dedicated Mongolia horse trek should seriously consider it.

Mongolians wear their long, woolen when riding for a reason: it offers an extra layer of padding between the saddle and your backside. Consider buying or loaning one once you’re in the country.

Over time, stirrups can rub away at your shoes and laces. An 8-day Mongolia horse trek I did last year did a fair bit of aesthetic damage to my pair of Merrel low-cut hiking boots by rubbing on the laces and stitching. They still worked after I re-laced them, but looked a lot worse for wear. If horse riding is going to form a significant part of your Mongolia trip, consider taking some elastic-sided leather boots, such as Australian-made Blundstones or Rossi’s. The stirrups won’t damage them as there’s no stitching up top, and all riders should ideally have a heeled shoes like these so your feet don’t slip too far into the stirrups. Importantly, the elastic side is designed to slip off -which ensures you won’t get dragged across the steppe by the stirrup if you’re unlucky enough to have a bad fall.

These boots can pass for semi-dressy leather shoes if going out at night in cosmopolitan Ulan Bator; they are not adequate for serious hiking, but they have a padded rubber sole so are comfortable enough to walk quite a few kilometres each day. I took a pair on my last trip and wore them far more than I wore my hiking boots.

Nobody in Mongolia wears riding helmets, so safety’s important to you then you should bring your own from home. On my last trip, a girl had a fall; she landed her head on a rock and had to go home. It will attract a fair bit of curiosity from the locals, but it’s probably not a bad idea. Me, i usually just do as the Romans do, and ride slowly if the ground’s covered in rocks or marmot holes.

Horse riding in the Altai mountains. Our horse guide and pack horse crossing a white, glacial river.

A friend of mine who goes dirt-biking told me they all wear spandex shorts under their pants to prevent chaffing once their clothes get muddy. These can be invaluable once it starts raining, as wet pants make for really bad saddle rub. I took some on my last horseback ride and was glad I did so. (Please note I advocate wearing spandex under other pants, rather than as external clothing. When in the Altai mountains I saw a Dutchman riding a camel wearing a bright-orange, skin-tight cycling outfit! It was disturbing.).

People on overnight Mongolia horse treks need a soft bag which can be tied to a pack horse. Most travellers end up simply strapping on their backpacks. Don’t take anything you won’t need; secure unnecessary items in store room at the ride starting point or, better yet, at your hotel in UB.

If you’re going to take your backpack on the ride, ensure you take a number of strong garbage bags from home. These can pack small and can serve to separate food from your clothes (you don’t want sticky sauces or grains leaking into your bag) and act as a rain cover for your whole backpack if you don’t have one in-built.

In my experience, your backpack will suffer a bit of wear and tear on a Mongolia horse trek, and by the end of a decent trip your bag’s rain cover will have a few tears in it and won’t look the same ever again.

Some might like the look of having a backpack that’s aged years in a week: it might give you some ‘cred’ with the other hipsters, along with your beaded jewelry, tattoos and Thai fisherman pants! As an alternative, empty wheat or grain sacks are available everywhere in Mongolia. On my next Mongolia horse trek I intend to leave the backpack behind and take my belongings in grain sacks lined with garbage bags (preferably or 4, so they counterweight each other), that way I’ll be able to keep food and clothes separate, and avoid further damage to my long-suffering backpack.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your horse riding helmets wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of horse riding helmets



Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about horse riding helmets is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!

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