Best Children’s Horseback Riding Helmets

Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by Cinthia

So you have a little equestrian on your hands! First of all congratulations but sorry about your wallet. Believe me, the money you spend now like  children riding helmet will provide your child with experiences and life-skills that other hobbies simply cannot. Studies show that children who are involved in extracurricular hobbies outside of school are less likely to use drugs or end up in trouble with the law so there are your savings. 

Speaking of law, did you know that many states have laws requiring children under a certain age to wear a helmet while riding horses? In New York, children 12 and under a required to wear a helmet when mounted on a horse. As a kid growing up with horses myself, I can tell you, there are many times my noggin was saved by a quality riding helmet. If you are not sure where to start, what to look for or have questions about quality, then this Review Round-Up is for you. 

Children Riding Helmet: What Should I Look For?

To be clear, all helmets were not made equal. The bike helmet your kid probably owns already is not going to cut it when it comes to horseback riding. Since your child’s bike most likely doesn’t have a mind of its own, doesn’t buck and doesn’t spook, you will want to invest your time in understanding what goes into a Riding Helmet so that you know what to look for. Equestrian Helmets as they are most frequently called, have added protection in the back of the head as well as protection against penetration and impact absorption. Many helmet manufacturers also opt to have their products tested by the Safety Equipment Institute or SEI, an independent nonprofit organization that certifies safety equipment for workers and consumers in the United States and Canada. You can read more about the differences between Equestrian and Bicycle Helmets here.

Children Riding Helmet: What Should I Look For?

Best Children Riding Helmet

#3 The Ovation Deluxe Schooler Helmet

From the Manufacturer:

  • Lightweight low-profile helmet from Ovation. Easy-care rubberized finish.
  • Features easy adjust dial for a snug fit, extra strong adjustment teeth for added helmet life.
  • High flow vents to keep you cool, removable washable liner, removable breakaway visors.
  • Exclusive YKK adjuster clip and buckle positioned to stay off of the rider’s face for comfort.
  • Ventilated to allow cooling airflow, this sleek riding helmet is suited to riders of all ages.

Best Children Riding Helmet

Children Riding Helmet, The Pros: 

Online reviewers have touted the Ovation Deluxe Schooler Helmet for it’s light, breathable and low profile design. This helmet is also adjustable, to ensure a snug fit which is very important when considering a helmet for your child. It also comes in a variety of colors in case your little fashionista is anything like mine and needs some coaxing to wear the helmet. The price is also pretty unbeatable. 

The Cons: 

Some of the pros of the Schooler are also its cons. Many reviewers noted how fragile the adjustment dial is, and if the helmet cannot be adjusted to the correct fit, the less effective it is. Many reviewers also note that the sizing runs a bit small, so that is something to keep in mind when ordering. It has also been reported across review ratings that the visor does not always stay in place, this small annoyance could be a deal-breaker for some that either prefers the visor or do not want to deal with the distraction. The biggest con of the Ovation brand is that they are not SEI approved. 

Final Review of Children Riding Helmet

One reviewer that gave the helmet one-star noted that after a fall her daughter’s helmet broke through the inside and stated her daughter “really could have been hurt” which to me, sounds like she wasn’t. The truth is if the helmet breaks, and not her head it’s done its job. The affordability, adjustability and low profile all seem to be big wins for the Schooler but the brand’s lack of participation in the SEI is a major downfall. You can read the reviews on this helmet here.

#2-Charles Owen JR8

Children Riding Helmet and the Manufacturer: 

  • The jR8 is an attractive and economical helmet that meets or exceeds required safety standards. Styled similarly to the Gr8, the jR8 is low-profile and covered in weather-resistant microfiber suede with a soft, adjustable nylon harness. It features two ventilation keyholes for a cooler ride. The jR8 now features a removable, washable headband that can be easily replaced to extend the lifespan of your helmet!

Children Riding Helmet and the Manufacturer

Children Riding Helmet, The Pros: 

The Reviews of the Charles Owen JR8 praise its breathability. They are also lightweight, have a snug fit and are SEI approved. Most reviewers state that this helmet keeps them cool during hot riding days which is paramount, especially for a child who has a limited discomfort tolerance. There are some reviews stating that they are worn by adults who have smaller heads, so this helmet as long as it goes undamaged, can last your kiddos for a while. It is also well priced so it’s safe to say in this instance, your head won’t get a good bang which makes it well worth your buck.  

The Cons:

The only downside I could find about this helmet was the fit being a little snug. Even reviewers who were not in love with the fit rated it at 3+ stars. The biggest downside though is that they come in a limited number of colors- so if color is a factor this would not be the helmet for you. 

Final Review for Children Riding Helmet

If you want a tried and true, trusted brand, Charles Owen is for you. They offer a great young rider’s selection and the JR8 leads the pack. If you would like to look over the reviews, they can be found here.

And more reviews here

#1-Troxel Spirit Performance Helmet

From the Manufacturer:

  • Imported
  • buckle closure
  • Hand Wash
  • Dial-fit System
  • Flex tip visor
  • New low profile, full-coverage design
  • FlipFold removable washable headliner with Air-Channel technology
  • ASTM/sei certified

#1-Troxel Spirit Performance Helmet

Children Riding Helmet, The Pros:

The pros to this helmet are that it is made by Troxel who participates with SEI testing. It is a thick, well-made helmet that is adjustable which with growing noggins is a big plus. The fit, when coupled with the comfort of this helmet, are its strong suits.  It also comes in many colors and styles. 

The Cons: 

Many reviewers reported that they do not like the thickness of the helmet, as it is one of the thicker helmets on the market. They also note that the vents seem small compared to other helmets which may make for some sweaty heads on a hot day. Other users reported that the dial used to adjust the helmet has a tendency to slip and require further re-adjustment. 

Final Review for Children Riding Helmet

Troxel is a trusted and well-known brand in the horse industry. These are the helmets my parents purchased when I was a kid, and while they are thick and warm, they weren’t hot to the point I couldn’t stand it.  While the re-adjustment may be a bit of a nuisance, there were no reports the dial broke, it just wasn’t functioning as expected. A minor adjustment here or there is a small price to pay for the overall quality of this helmet. They are also SEI approved, which is why they earned the #1 spot.  


When choosing a helmet for you kiddo you are going to want to thoroughly investigate what is out there before making a final choice. Helmets with SEI approval mean that they have been tested and received a quality rating by an independent organization that strives to provide the safest products on the market. When considering a helmet, fit, comfort and breathability are also major factors to take into consideration. 

Children Riding Helmet, Takeaways

  • All helmets are not the same. Equestrian Helmets are designed specifically to protect the back of the head, prevent penetration of any object that you may encounter on your way down and provide shock absorption. 
  • The Safety Equipment Institute is an independent organization that tests quality control and is optional for a manufacturer to participate in.
  • Breathability, comfort and a snug fit all are determining factors when considering a helmet for your child.  


What is the smallest horse riding helmet?

The size of a horse riding helmet can vary greatly depending on which type of horse riding you are doing and what style of riding it is. For example, if you are riding in a jumping competition you will need a larger, more protective helmet than if you are riding for pleasure or just riding to show your horse. The size of your helmet also depends on what level of riding you are doing.
But if we focus only on the size, the Ovation Deluxe Toddler Schooler Helmet is the smallest one on the market in this moment and is, as it already says in the name, made specifically for children. The Ovation Toddler Schooler Helmet is an ideal choice if you want to get your child a helmet that is going to be safe for him or her, comfortable for them and also a helmet that is going to make them feel like they are wearing nothing at all.

Can 2 year olds go horse riding?

Yes, if your child has the right amount of coordination, balance, and muscle control. A small horse or pony can be ridden by kids as young as 2 years old but, of course, only under proper supervision. Riding with a parent or an adult is recommended because of the risk of injury. The sooner a child is introduced to a horse, the easier it will be for them to be comfortable around them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children can start to spend time with horses and be introduced to riding as early as age of 2. This allows children to develop a bond with the horse in their early years. Spending time with horses is also known for its therapeutic benefits.

How do you measure a child's head for a riding helmet? 

The best way to measure a child's head circumference is to use a soft measuring tape and measure around the child's head at the widest point. When measuring the head's circumference, place the tape about three quarters of an inch above child's eyebrows and continue just above the ear line and around the bump at the back of your head.
It's possible to buy riding helmets specifically sized for children. Helmets for kids are also available in many different colors and patterns. This will help them find the helmet that fits their personality.

Can you use bike helmet for horseback riding?

Yes, you can use a bike helmet if you are going on a horseback ride but they are not as safe as riding helmets. The problem is that bike helmets are not designed in the same way as riding helmets. Bike helmets have to be light and comfortable because they have to be worn for long periods of time. They do not have to be as strong or protective as riding helmets. 
You also need to consider that most horse riding facilities require riding helmets  and will not allow you to ride with a bike helmet instead.

How long is a horse riding helmet good for?

Horse riding helmets are generally good for four to five years, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Riders should wear helmets that meet or exceed the guidelines set by the CPSC and are certified to protect against injury from falls or blows.