There is no law in Alberta that requires helmets to be worn but, for your safety, we strongly recommend protective headgear be worn by everyone. Those wishing to participate in competitions, ages 18 and under are mandated to wear helmets.
We strongly recommend all riders, new and experienced, wear an ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute, Inc.); BSI/BS EN (British Standards Institution); EN (European Union Standards); AS/NZS (Australian/New Zealand Standards); or CE VG1 01.040 2014-12 (provided they are BSI Kitemarked) approved equestrian helmet at all times, including when riding, grooming, in the barn, and tacking up. Equestrian helmets are designed with one main goal: to protect your head and brain when you fall. It is never recommended to use a second-hand helmet or one not designed for equestrians.
There is no law in Alberta that requires helmets to be worn but, for your safety, we strongly recommend protective headgear be worn by everyone. Those wishing to participate in competitions, ages 18 and under are mandated to wear helmets. There are many fashionable approved equestrian helmet options for all riders, read more about that here.
Always remember that helmets are designed to diffuse and absorb energy in the event of a fall or blow to the head. This means that upon impact, although it may show no sign of external damage, the helmet likely sustained internal damage in order to disperse the energy of the impact, thus protecting your head. You must immediately replace your helmet after impact. Continuing to use a helmet that has sustained damage means that in the event of a subsequent impact, the helmet will not be able to absorb the energy as designed to sufficiently protect your head!
Helmets should also be replaced every five years, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Sweat, heat, rain, chemicals, etc. can cause deterioration to the helmet over time, and thus limit the capacity of the helmet to absorb impacts. Replacing your helmet every five years could also mean improvements in technology, safety standards, and fit that will help better protect your brain in the event of a fall/impact.
You cannot replace your brain (yet anyways), so make sure you strap on a properly fitting helmet every time you get on your horse! A little bit of helmet hair is well worth the price of protecting your head!
When it comes to horseback riding, what you wear impacts far more than how you look on the horse. Wearing the proper attire and equipment affects how effectively and safely you ride. You don’t want to wear anything that will easily get tangles or caught in tack.
Before you swing into the saddle, make sure you’re wearing:
- An approved, well-fitting equestrian helmet with the harness fully secured.
- Long pants such as jeans, breeches, or jodhpurs. (Shorts and inner leg pant seams can chafe.)
- Closed-toed boots with a heel so your feet are less likely to get caught in your stirrups in the event of a fall.
- A fitted long or short sleeved shirt that won’t get entangled in the horse’s equipment.
- Consider a safety vest when riding at night.