Shopping for an Equestrian Helmet
Okay, so this past month, there has been a lot of shopping going on in my world—lots of trial and error. Let's start above the shoulders. Long past is the days of stylized, genuinely traditional hunt caps. You know the ones you see in that old hunt print hanging on the wall.
I reflect back to what I believe was the latter part of 1984; in fact, I think it was the Santa Barbara Turkey Show that we would now have to wear an "approved helmet" while on the show grounds whenever mounted. We were devastated. The thought of a harness and chin strap was appalling and offensive. Of course, we never thought our brains needed any form of protection. We felt genuinely unbeatable, and style was our only concern. I reflect back on those days of shopping for a new helmet, and our big decision was a leather skin tone harness and chin strap or a clear plastic harness and chin strap. In our eyes, they were all hideous. After spending way too much time in Bob Offit's tack trailer, I decided to go with the leather harness. For me, it was the lesser of the two evils. If we only had a mirror into the future, we would have been grateful for the more traditional hunt cap with a harness.
Today I received two helmets to try. One a Samsheild and the other a Charles Owen. These helmets have moved so far away from that traditional hunt cap of pre-1985. It is almost shocking to see how big your head can grow with one of these "brain buckets." Okay, before you start scolding me, I am totally cool with progression if it saves my head and life. I am entirely willing, but there is a sense of loss and loss of tradition. After trying this one on over and over again, I have gone with the trendy, very comfortable Samshield Miss. And I must say I am loving it more and more every time I put it on. I have a full face, and I felt this helps me not look like a Mrs. Potato Head. Let's not forget the extra sun protection the larger visor provides.
While we are on the helmet subject, there is one thing I have found that is amazing. Who would have thought that a hair net could rock my world? But it happened. "Back in the day," we would get our hairnets at the local drug store or even grocery store. Well, times have changed. I took a trip to my local Walgreens and then Rite Aid and then Raley's grocery store, only to find that no one carries hairnets. Looking back now, I am grateful because if they did carry hairnets, I would have never tried the "RWR No Knot Hairnet." When Smartpak delivered this pricey hairnet, and I tried it for the first time, I was overjoyed. I actually picked up my phone and called one of my best horse show buddies from the 80s and told her all about it. Not that she even rides anymore, but I had to tell her anyway. We reminisced about using multiple nets at one time to get a clean look in the past. Now, I use one "no net" and I don't even need a hairband. Keep in mind my hair is only to my shoulders.
All in all, I am finding the progress in the hunter/jumper world interesting. Long gone are the days of discomfort and ill protection. I must say, I can't wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.