As a therapeutic riding instructor, you are in charge of making sure your student’s helmet if safe and fits, and that your center’s helmets are all in safe and working condition.
According to PATH Intl., all participants, volunteers, and personnel must wear protective helmets while mounted, driving. They also recommend wearing helmets when doing groundwork with or near equines. The helmets must be American Society of Testing & Materials (ASTM) – Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) approved for equestrian use, or must meet the PATH Intl. Guidelines for Alternative Helmet Use.
I recently read an article and watched some videos at EquineInk about helmet safety and how they test helmets. It was really interesting and I recommend it. The videos are a little long so feel free to skip through parts of it, just don’t miss the “hazard anvil test” at the end!
Notes on Helmets for Instructors (from various PATH Intl. and internet articles):
- helmets must fit the student correctly!
- incorrect fit can through off balance and disrupt posture
- if there are marks on the rider’s head after 5 minutes, try a larger size
- 2 fingers should fit between the eyebrows and the edge of the helmet – any more and the helmet is tipped too far back, probably from being too big
- when the helmet is rocked back and forward, the eyebrows and forehead skin should move with the helmet
- the side straps should meet just below and in front of your earlobes
- the laced harness on the back on the helmet should be below the small bump on the back of the head
- try placing “adhesive napkins” in trouble spots
- always double check the helmet fit before the rider gets on, and keep an eye on it throughout the lesson – it shouldn’t start falling back, forward or sideways on their head!
- “How to correctly fit an equestrian helmet” By Leslie Potter
- “Safety Up – On Equestrian Helmets” at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website – a great little article about helmet fit and care with a good illustration
- Helmet Myths and info from TROXEL Safety Center
Do you have anything to add?
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement!