At a recent show, my head started to hurt. I pushed my helmet up a little to get relief. It felt better for a while, but then I had to push it up again. The headache continued and I developed a dent in my forehead. Finally I decided I needed some help, so I visited Jennifer Mckiernan——- at The Tack Warehouse.
Long story short, I needed a new liner. We had to try several to get it right: tight enough but not too tight, no pressure points anywhere. It took some patience, but it was worth it. After Jen situated my helmet properly on my head, I realized that I’ve been wearing it a too high on my head for real protection.
Since then, I have noticed that a large percentage of riders’ helmets are not on correctly! Riders: get your helmet fitted by a pro. In the meantime, here are Jen’s tips to make sure you’ve got it on right. Thanks to junior hunter rider Rachel Dalfonsi for modeling! A picture is worth a thousand words.
Jen says that the right fit should be maximally comfortable and safe. If your helmet isn’t comfortable, then you’ve outgrown it, are putting it on wrong, it’s the wrong shape for your head, or your hair is getting in the way.
The brim should be at a 90 degree angle to your face. (Many of ours are pushed up too much). The 90 degree angle means the helmet does not get a head start off your head, and also keeps the strap in the proper position to protect you if you fall.
Make sure your hair fits properly. Do not twist it. Regardless of what hairnet you prefer, use an elastic to secure the ponytail at the base of the neck, just outside the helmet. Using a hairnet without a knot means the hair floats on the head and will change the fit of the helmet as you ride.
Make sure the chin strap is neither too loose nor too tight. The purpose of the strap is not to hold the helmet down, but to keep it positioned correctly if you fall. Often what Jen sees is that kids grow, loosen their chin strap to allow the helmet to float. This gives the helmet a ‘head start’ off your head.
Remember, your helmet is the most important part of your wardrobe! Be sure to keep it in good condition and get it checked regularly. If you fall off and hit your head, it’s time to invest in a new one.
Have questions? Jen is happy to help.
Ride safely and have fun,