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Every Ride, Every Time
"Every Ride, Every Time" is an educational video on head injury prevention that is a must for all riders, instructors, horse clubs and parents of children who ride. Available from the ARIA Store.

Do You Know the Signs of Concussion?
Read up and learn more from the downloadable PDF Concussion and Mild Brain Injury. Also available in text format. From the Brain Injury Association of America.

Helmet After Photos
A mother took these after pictures of her 12-year-old daughter's helmet after her pony tripped and somersaulted on top of her while running barrels at a show. The girl escaped with minor scrapes and bruises. Read their story.

Helmet Safety

ARIA supports the following policy statement from the Equestrian Medical Safety Association:
The EMSA strongly recommends the wearing of a properly fitted ASTM/SEI certified equestrian helmet with the harness secured during equestrian activities. Head injuries account for approximately 60% of deaths resulting from equestrian accidents. Properly fitted ASTM/SEI certified helmets can prevent death and reduce the severity of head injuries sustained while riding.

For any questions regarding equestrian helmets, please contact our helmet expert Dru Malavase at

For a current list of helmets certified by the Safety Equipment Institute to ASTM standard F1163, please visit the Safety Equipment Institute Web site. Under Quick Links in the left sidebar, click on Certified Products. In the list of links under the Search function, click on Equestrian Helmets (2004a) to view the list. The SEI list changes very frequently, constantly adding new products and manufacturers. These are the helmets required by many equestrian rules-making bodies and organizations.


Concussion is a highly debated topic in equestrian sports at present. Of course, the wearing of a properly fitted ASTM/SEI helmet with the harness secured will hopefully prevent or lessen the severity of a concussion, it is recommended that anyone sustaining a blow to the head or symptoms of a concussion (dizziness, lightheadedness, unconsciousness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting or impaired judgment) be medically evaluated.

For the latest information regarding concussion and sports: Statement from First International Conference on Concussion in Sport

The AMEA/SRF would like to congratulate the USEA and USA Equestrian on their mandatory ASTM/SEI helmet rule for eventing effective January 1, 2003 Article 1713 USA Equestrian 2003 Rules. We strongly encourage other disciplines to follow their lead and mandate the use of properly fitted ASTM/SEI helmets.

The EMSA would also like to thank all of the manufacturers and distributors of ASTM/SEI certified helmets for their assistance and dedication to the safety of our sport. Without their assistance, we could not carry out our mission.

Equestrian Helmet Facts

  1. Between 12 to 15 million persons in the United States ride a horse or pony every year.

  2. Approximately 20 percent of horse-related injuries occur on the ground and not riding.

  3. Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding.

  4. The most common reason among riders for admission to hospital and death are head injuries.

  5. A fall from two feet can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider eight feet or more above ground.

  6. A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 4-6 mph. Horses can gallop at 40 mph.

  7. According to the National Electronic Surveillance System figures the most likely ages for injury is at 5-14,

  8. and 25-44 years with each decade having about 20 percent of the injuries.

  9. A rider who has one head injury has a 40 percent chance of suffering a second head injury. Children, teens and young adults are most vulnerable to sudden death from second impact syndrome: severe brain swelling as a result of suffering a second head injury before recovery from the first head injury.

  10. Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.

  11. Hospital costs for an acute head injury can be in the range of $25,000 per day. Lifetime extended care costs may easily exceed $3 million. There is no funding for rehabilitation outside the medical setting.

  12. Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the harness firmly applied. Other types of helmets, including bike helmets, are inadequate.

  13. Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer fewer head injuries than pleasure riders. The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29 percent with mandatory helmet use. Britain's hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46 percent after helmet design improved and they came into routine use.

  14. The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association through the Committee on Sports Medicine, Canadian Medical Association, and the American Medical Equestrian Association/Safe Riders Foundation recommend that approved, fitted and secured helmets be worn on all rides by all horseback riders.
Source: Equestrian Medical Safety Association

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