What is the one piece of your riding outfit that doesn’t change from day to day? What is the most important piece of your #rootd that could also save your life? You guessed it – your helmet! We have all heard the statistics on how important helmets are in preventing injury – specifically a TBI, or traumatic brain injury. In case you haven’t heard, check out Riders4Helmets educational articles for more. There are dozens of studies, facts and figures, along with personal anecdotes to show that wearing a helmet is an essential part of equestrian safety and can save your life. I had a fall in the summer of 2010 that would have likely left me brain dead had I not been wearing a helmet. I am sure you all know this, but I would be remiss not to address just how important helmets are in the equestrian world!
Okay, I am off my soapbox and now ready to help you make the most of International Helmet Awareness Day this year! What is that, you ask? It is a day set aside each year, starting in 2010, where many various helmet brands and their retailers come together to discount their products and promote safety through the use of helmets. What does that mean for you? The one day (or two) a year that these crucial pieces of equipment actually go on sale! This year, International Helmet Awareness Day is happening September 16th and 17th, so get ready to snag some deals on one of riding’s greatest essentials. I have put together a few tips to make sure you are getting the most of International Helmet Awareness Day:
- As I have mentioned before, be aware of “discounts” that are not really discounts. For example, some retailers may offer a 30% discount off your favorite brand of helmet – wow, what a saving! However, if you look closely, the 30% off may be off the MSRP or recommended retail price, not what the helmet is normally sold for. For instance, Shop A may have the First Lady for 20% off the “recommended” price of $730, which Shop B has 15% off the First Lady which they sell for $670. Percentage wise, Shop A is giving you a bigger “discount”, but you are actually spending less when buying from Shop B.
- Try on helmets beforehand! This really only works if you have a tack shop nearby that stocks several different brands and styles, but one year I went to my local Dover the day before International Helmet Awareness Day and tried on anything and everything I thought I might be interested to figure out what fit and what didn’t and what size I would need. This way, the next day I could shop all the sales online with confidence, knowing that I had figured out the day before just what size and model I needed. It saved me a lot of money and hassle as I was able to find the best deal in the right size without leaving my couch that day!
- Be aware of return policies. Understandably so, many companies’ return policies vary when it comes to helmets. It makes sense, you don’t want someone to return a helmet they claim is barely or never used but has actually been fallen in and therefore been compromised. Many stores will allow returns but only if the tags are still on and the helmet was never worn on a horse. Double check with your cashier or the retailer’s online return policy to make sure that if the helmet you purchase is not exactly right, you know the conditions for returning it.
- Trends are great, safety and fit is greater. I have fallen victim to this. You see a top rider rocking this gorgeous helmet that just flatters them so much and all you can think is that you need it too. Then you try it on and it is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. For the life of you, neither you nor the sales associate can get this thing to fit your head properly. if it does not fit you properly, do not buy it. Helmets that don’t fit well don’t help protect you as much as those that fit. Giving up on your dream of the one gorgeous helmet is well worth it for your safety. Plus, these days there are many different brands and styles to choose from and you will undoubtedly be able to find the right fit that you also find cute.
- Be aware of other helmet related sales going on. Several retailers are having sales on helmet related items as well! Whether it be hairnets, helmet bags, or these adorable Mind Your Melon t-shirts from Hunt Club, there will be other items on sale during this event! In addition, many companies are offering freebies along with the purchase of their helmets during the event, such as free helmet cleaner or a free hat. Make sure not only to take advantage of the discounts on helmets, but everything else that comes with them!
Ready to go out and find your new perfect crown? Find a complete list of participating companies and retailers, and even search for ones near you, on the Riders4Helmets website. So go forth, find some deals, and always remember to wear your crown!