Charles Owen Riding Helmets
It seems like THE helmets to have for equestrian sports these days are Charles Owen riding helmets. It is the brand that pretty much everyone at my barn either has, or wants to have.
Apparently many college riding teams (because, as well as high safety standards, they want all their riders to have the same “look”) are requiring Charles Owen riding helmets as well!
At first I thought that all of this seemed to be some sort of elitist, fashion-conscious snobbery. Now, having done some research on the product, I have decided that the next time I purchase a new helmet for riding it will most likely be a Charles Owen.
Besides learning a lot about the Charles Owen riding helmets I learned a lot about helmets in general. Obviously, the first concern and function of any helmet is safety.
I knew that to meet the current helmet safety laws a helmet had to meet the ASTM-F1153 safety standard. However, I did NOT know that there are actually three international safety standards. Each standard tests a different set of accident situations.
Some manufacturers make helmets that meet one of the safety standards, and some even (for example, Charles Owen) make helmets that meet all three. As you would guess, the more standards a helmet meets, the more different types of accident situations it has been tested to protect against.
Some standards look at, and test for, the most severe types of accidents that can occur, while others look at the most common types of accidents that occur. The more standards the helmet has been tested for, the more comprehensive the protection.
The first thing you look at when purchasing a helmet should be safety! Next should be fit and comfort. If your helmet doesn’t fit properly it will be much less effective or even ineffective. If it isn’t comfortable you won’t want to wear it at all. 🙁
Besides being stylish, different helmet styles are suitable for different types of riding. An eventer or show jumper may want to wear a different type of helmet than a hunter or pleasure rider.
Many people like the Charles Owen Ayr8 helmet. The Ayr8 is a low profile helmet with front and rear ventilation apertures. Thermoregulation paint for the center panel is available in gold, silver, black and hot pink. The microfiber suede covering on the sides is available in black, brown or navy.
The Ayr8 is suitable for show jumping, general riding, hacking, new riders, endurance riding and riding clubs or teams. It also meets or exceeds the requirements of all three of the international safety standards. It his highly rated and a popular choice of many riders.
Charles Owen also makes a wonderful new helmet for junior riders, the Charles Owen JR8 Helmet. This helmet meets the highest standards of safety and offers the highest level of protection.
This helmet has a low profile design and is covered with a microfiber suede material, treated to protect against marking and scuffing. The brim is gently rounded to flatter the face. A metallic logo is positioned above the peak, and an embroidered one is on the back of the helmet where a ribbon would traditionally be.
It is an economical helmet available in black or black/silver and is suitable for Pony Club, eventing, hunter/jumper and hunting. This is the helmet that I would buy if I had a child. It is the ultimate in protection and also very stylish.
The Charles Owen GR8 is the “adult” version of this helmet and is one of their best selling products. It is highly rated by consumers who love its conservative, stylish look. Besides the three helmets I have described they have a vast array of others to choose from!
As an aside, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of this company and about its values and mission.
The company is now run by Roy Burek, the grandson of the founder. He is following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather.
Charles Owen founded the company in 1911 and was first involved in manufacturing military helmets. His mission was to make products for a safer world.
In 1924 he got his first patent for improved ventilation and dramatically improved the fit for all shapes of heads for military helmets used in the tropics. Good fit has been a core theme for all of his products.
In 1928, the first Charles Owen motorcycle helmet was born and just ten years later, the Charles Owen jockey racing helmet was worn by the winning jockey of the famous Grand National steeplechase.
The introduction of these jockey helmets had an immediate effect on the racing industry, reducing skull fractures among jockeys by 50%!
Today, Roy Burek is recognized as a worldwide expert in head protection and he is passionate about educating the community to create a safer world.
“Using one’s life to make a real difference in others’ lives…” is what drives Ray Burek.
I admire the family and personal values and integrity that have stood the test of time with this company. I also admire the quality, construction and looks of their helmets.
Researching this product has turned me from a skeptic into a fan. 🙂 I would love to hear what others think of Charles Owen riding helmets, leave a post if you get a chance!