Helmets in shows?

Hey guys, I’m debating to switching to western. I rode dressage for 20 years and after a few years off I’m thinking of doing western. I like shows, it’s not something that I plan on doing right away but i might in the future. I don’t see any videos or photos where riders are wearing helmets at shows. I won’t get on a horse without a helmet so would it be weird if I showed in a helmet?

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I have shown western dressage in a helmet, and western pleasure/equitation on the open show circuit in a helmet. It does not seem to affect my placings.

I am also a general performance judge, and when shadowing at breed shows, rider’s outfit is just not a think judges worry about, other that a way to tell riders apart!

That said, I have only used/seen, plain black helmets, not western themed or blingy helmets. Wear a helmet with condidence, like it is the sports equipment it should be considered.


I have worn a helmet since I was about 5 years old (I am 35 this year). I even wear my helmet when I show AQHA ranch horse. Doesn’t affect a thing. They scored me and my horse fairly (I think).

I will say I was the only person at AQHA (in western) wearing a helmet. At the local shows, there’s a few adults that wear helmets, but it’s not the majority.

Wear your helmet and wear it proud.


Western rider here. Wear the helmet. You will not regret it.

If it were not for a helmet, I would not be writing this. Mine was cracked through in 3 places and I was life flighted to the nearest trauma center last September.

You will only regret it if you don’t wear it.


I show all around. Open shows and I wear a helmet every ride, no matter what. It’s your head, so don’t let social media, trends or tradition sway your decision. You will not be docked in the western ring for wearing a properly fitted helmet.


I do western dressage and always wear mine.


I am so glad you said this! I have been considering doing AQHA ranch horse classes with my colt once he’s older, but if I couldn’t wear a helmet that would be a deal breaker for me. Glad to hear that it’s ok to do.


What brand of saddle do you ride? Looks very light weight, something I wouldn’t mind having. Thanks

It’s a synthetic King saddle-- I bought it secondhand so I’m not sure which one exactly but it seems to be pretty decent.

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I himmed and hawed over whether to wear a helmet in the APHA Ranch Riding. In the end I wore my helmet and was glad I did. I haven’t put a leg across a horse for many years without a helmet and it just felt right. I never felt like I was judged any differently. Be a trend setter! I think those wearing helmets in Western are setting a good example and maybe one day no one will think twice about showing Western in a helmet.