By Intern Mackenzie Shuman
Recently, ASTM released a new standard for helmet safety designs. While this does not impact much of the design of the helmet, Riders4Helmets sent an inquiry to the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) to get more information on the changes to helmets.
What Riders4Helmets found out is that this safety standard change minimally impacts the current helmet design. The old backing has just been replaced with a new and improved version that is going to provide a more secure and safe fit for the helmet. This only affects helmets that do not pass the tests, so some helmets will change very little, or not change at all.
Despite the new design, SEI assures that all helmets labeled with the ASTM F1163 O4a/SEI Certified status currently in use and currently being sold are perfectly fine and will not lose their status as a viable helmet. All of the helmets on the U.S. market that meet the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) requirements are still viable helmets and are the best that are out there today.
However, any helmets made after January 2016 must be certified to the new ASTM F1163-13 standard. Yet helmets can still be sold without the most current certifications.
Individual organizations outside of USEF can disapprove of the old helmets if they so choose, but must clearly state that before all competition has started.
Riders4Helmets then went to USEF and confirmed the USEF is not contemplating any rule changes regarding helmets.
Overall, riders have little to worry about. Old helmets under the ASTM F1163 O4a/SEI Certification are still good to wear at horse shows and are still currently accepted by USEF.