The Skull Cap Debate

As I briefly mentioned in my Competitor’s Toolbox: Equipment post, the British Eventing Association has banned fixed-peak helmets from cross country. [Read EN’s post with the news here]

Frequent image contributor J (rocking a skull cap) and the handsome Jasper / PC: High Time Photography

Frequent image contributor J (rocking a skull cap) and the handsome Jasper / PC: High Time Photography

Many US eventers are already wearing skull caps, and some like myself, are not. Besides my vanity thinking that peaked helmets are slightly more attractive, I just don’t have the dollars right now to dole out on a new helmet. Especially when I just walked a hole into my paddock boots. (Durn it)

PC: High Time Photography

PC: High Time Photography

I used to have a skull cap at one point, but never used it, and now the padding is so deteriorated that the thing wobbles on my head. I’m not saying I won’t make the move to a skull cap, but it’s not going to happen in the next couple months for sure.

But I’m curious, what do you guys think? Eventers- what are you using/plan to use this season? And for non-eventers, let’s pretend- if you were about to go cross country, what would you don?

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21 thoughts on “The Skull Cap Debate

  1. I did read that article and it does make sense! I don’t event, but the idea of buying another helmet just sounds expensive. Too many vet bills and other expenses, so if I were to event I would definitely keep my peaked helmet for sake of monies.

  2. i saw that article and couldn’t necessarily disagree with it… but my peaked one-k helmet is still pretty new (and i don’t love the look of skull caps anyway for my head…) so i’m hoping the rule change won’t happen here for a while!

    • Yes- me too! The USEA was quick to follow the BE Helmet Cam ban but then reversed it, so I’ve been holding my breath to see if we have a rule come out about the helmets too.

  3. I wondered if British Eventing wasn’t changing the rule as some kind of informal study on helmet safety. Change the rule, see if injuries decline? It’s not a terrible idea for a sport low on the money to encourage real safety studies.

    • Very well could be the reason. Frustrating that they banned helmet cams and couldn’t get enough money to do that study, so this could be a different way to approach getting data on a safety matter.

  4. I need to see the data that says skull caps are safer. I need numbers and metrics and real instances to wrap my head around it. Mainly because to be honest I’ve had a skull cap before and really hated it. Way too hot and heavy feeling for Texas – it would have to be relegated to a “show only” helmet, which isn’t very practical for me. So until someone can prove to me that it really is much safer, or until USEA tells me I have to, I just can’t see myself buying one.

    • That’s why I remember I never wore the one I had- super snug/heavy… But that was 10 years ago. I’d be interested to see if ones now feel any different?

      Meanwhile, on a different note- I keep seeing all these upper level riders wearing navy helmets, and I decided.. I want!

  5. I agree- don’t have the money for both, and I usually buy the helmets with brims that break away, anyway. (actually, don’t must brims break away with enough force now?) I’ve tried skull caps on and have not liked any I put on my head, and aesthetically dislike. I’m not so sure they’re that much safer anyway- I want the numbers!

  6. I coveted a skull cap my entire teenage life- I looooved all the helmet cover options- oh all those way cool eveners used them…. I want to be cool too…. haha. Well I finally bought one a couple of years ago and LOVE it (it was on sale which is why I bought it) and have never regretting my purchase. Now I’m at the point where I need to replace my old peaked helmet that I used in college (we won’t discuss how long ago that was… haha 😉 ) and I had a pretty big fall in my skull cap so probably should replace that one too but only have the funds for one helmet. Right now I’m leaning towards getting just the skull cap since you’ll see them in the dressage phase of eventing too and they’re less expensive to replace than some of the peaked helmet (when did that happen?!?!?! I’m staring daggers at you GPA! :P) Plus I’m having the NOTHING FITS MY HEAD problem and can’t find a helmet that fits except for the skull cap. It’s frustrating!!!!!

    Unfortunately not every helmet fits every head and helmet decisions become soooo personal. I want a Charles Owen Ayr8 but they look reeeeally baaaad on my head- though my check book cheers while I silently weep and look towards other possibilities. Ugh- Can you tell I’m in the middle of my own helmet debate?? 😉

  7. I read the article and thought it was an interesting topic! I can honestly say that I’ve never given a thought to my safety because my helmet has a brim (peaked is a new term for me) vs. not. I also feel like I would look terrible in a skull cap. And also change the name- skull cap reminds me of Halloween. Melon protector?

    • What I would like more explanation on is why the skull cap is required for cross country but not for showjumping. Does that mean it has to do with falling into solid fences, instead of poles/ground? Would be interested in clarification around this point.. Also that to my knowledge, top hats are still allowed in British Eventing dressage (only saying that because I know William Fox Pitt wears a top hat in competition).

      And I definitely agree- Melon Protector way more fun name than Skull Cap 🙂

  8. They give ZERO EXPLANATION as to the reason for this rule change. The inference is that its safer, but there is no data to support that. Skull cap lobbyists perhaps?

    Also, top hats are allowed in FEI dressage which is why you see WFP wearing one. Rules for FEI are different than USEA which are different from British Eventing.

    • Yeah I also feel like they just said FOR SAFETY and then didn’t say what was safer about a skullcap. Are you…. less likely to get whiplash when the peak hits the ground? Less likely to stab yourself in the eye with a shard of plastic when the peak breaks? Less likely to have some kind of absurd vision error brought about by your visor and smash into a jump?

      I personally have a skullcap because my last helmet was reaching the edge of its lifespan and I wanted the additional protection provided by the high safety rating, and I just could not justify taking a velvet-covered CO out on a dusty XC course and trying to use it in dressage as well. I found a screaming deal on one, it fit me well, boom, done. Then I bought a velvet CO when it was on sale so now I basically have all the helmets.

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