What Does Buy Only a Riding Helmet Certified By ASTM Mean
When you are looking to purchase a horse riding safety helmet please be reminded to buy only a riding helmet certified by ASTM.
This will insure the maximum protection for the rider’s head in case of a horse riding mishap, such as being thrown of your horse and landing awkwardly.
Many injuries, some serious occur every year due to the horse suddenly throwing the rider to the ground.
It seems that the ASTM acronym is bantered about rather loosely in the riding community but that if really pressed many would not really know what this is really about.
With that thought in mind we would like to offer this article to all involved as a resource to remind you or to share the information with all riders both young and old as to the important work the American Society for Testing Materials really does for the American and now world wide community.
Reminding You What the ASTM Really Does
When it comes to the horse riding community you should really know or at least be reminded of what they do with the rider safety cowboy hat helmets to test them let alone what’s required to earn that seal of approval.
The ASTM puts much effort into a series of scientific test to insure the ASTM certification is earned before they will certify a western horse riding helmet.
Some History on the ASTM
The American Society for Testing and Materials or better known by most today as simply the ASTM was formed in the year 1898. So they have been in existence for 120 years.
It is an organization that was formed by chemists and engineers from the Pennsylvania Railroad. At that time back in 1898 they were first known as the American Section of the International Association Testing and Materials.
There initial leader and founding member was Mr. Charles B. Dudley, PhD., a chemist with the Pennsylvania Railroad. In the year 2001 they became known only as the ASTM, as they are known today.
When you go to their website, which may be found at this address, The ASTM , you can find the mission statement which reads and I quote them on this, “Committed to serving global societal needs, ASTM International positively impacts public health and safety, consumer confidence and overall quality of life. We integrate consensus standards, developed with our international membership of volunteer technical experts, and innovative services to improve lives— Helping our world …”
So How Does the Testing For Certification Work
So a manufacturer of rider safety helmets will submit their product for testing by the ASTM and the SEI.
After rigorous testing of a helmet it will earn the certification only if they have passed all of the following four different tests.
So the standards are set up by the ASTM, and the testing is completed by the SEI, or the Safety Equipment Institute.
If all is successful the manufacturer is then given the certification which is basically very much needed to market and sell the riding helmets.
There are different tests designed for specific sports but to earn the equestrian riding helmet certification, these are four tests the helmet must pass.
So if you are looking for an attractive riding helmet certified by ASTM, that has been newly developed not only for safety but to give you what most horse riding helmets up to this time in history have been lacking.
The look of a cowboy hat first and foremost not a riding safety helmet.
A List Of Horse Riding Helmet Tests
These tests are performed by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) to ensure that helmets are being manufactured to standards that meet or exceed the ASTM standards.
- ROUND ANVIL TEST
Objective : to verify the even distribution of the shock wave in order to limit the risks of traumatism.
- POINTED ANVIL TEST
Objective : to verify that a sharp object will not pierce the helmet
- HELMET RETENTION TEST
Objective : to verify that the helmet stays on in the event of a fall and that the harness strap system is not too long.
- VISOR TEST
Objective : to verify the flexibility of the visor to prevent nasal fracture in the event of a fall.
Some Personal Insights On the Testing
When checking out the safety measures that are in place in the riding community a great source of information is the Equestrian Medical Safety Association, they have a whole staff of experts on the various areas of horse safety.
One such expert is Drusilla Malavese, who had some personal insights from the direct testing of horse riding safety helmets. You get a chance to see just how involved the testing is from these insights.
According to Dru, who served on the ASTM’s equestrian protective headgear committee since 1984, during the Round Anvil Test, the helmets are dropped onto a flat anvil from a height of about six feet from several angles and directions. “Computer sensors measure the sock from the fall that is transferred to the inside of a helmet in terms of gravity force (g). The threshold at which the most serious head injuries occur is 300g.”
The Pointed Anvil Test simulates the impact of the side of a jump or a horse’s hoof.
During the Helmet Retention Test, all straps must hold the helmet on the head without stretching beyond a certain amount.
Then, all helmets are retested again for concussion and retention after being frozen to minus 20 degrees, heated to over 120 degrees and submerged in water overnight. If the helmet still transfers no more than 300g and the strap is still effective, it earns the ASTM/SEI seal of approval.
“With all we put riding helmets through around the barn,” says Malavase, “we have to know that they are still going to protect us.”
Some Resources Used
Some resources from which this article was built are the following and these are not listed in any specific order of significance: