My schooling/trail riding helmet is a Tipperary Sportage 8500.
It fits my semi-oval head perfectly. It is light weight. It is cut high in the front so you get great visibility. It is superbly well ventilated. I like the way it comes down the back of my head. The harness is comfortable. The price is right. And I really like the carbon fibre look of the shell.
Ditto the Tipperary Sportage. I went through several helmets before I found the Tipperary Sportage. It is so lightweight I often forget it's on my head. It is well ventilated, doesn't look like a mushroom on my head, and, most important to me, it doesn't touch my ears! My daughter in law liked mine so much that she bought one for heself and one for her mother.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
I just bought an Ovation Deluxe Schooling helmet for about $50. It is honestly the most comfortable helmet and the best looking helmet (on me) that I have ever had. It is lightweight, fits like a glove, and NOT hot. And the best thing for me is that it fits the shape of my face and it does not look like a giant mushroom on my head. I LOVE IT!
None of the ones that 'look' like trail saddles fit either!
I also add one of these to my helmets - it's mega good for keeping the sun out of your eyes and is stiff enuf to not blow back up over your helmet when it's windy or you are moving at speed (altho I don't do that anymore).
I wear a Troxel Sierra - light brown - and really like some of the other styles they've been coming out with lately. It has a black rain cover, and I also bought a cover with a polarfleece "wrap" that drops down and velcros around the neck to keep your ears and neck warm on those winter rides.
Very comfortable, and a couple of people from my barn who were staunch "I've always had horses and never have needed a helmet" types liked my helmet enough that they ended up trying them out at a trade show, bought them, and now wear them every time they go out on trail.
Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.
Tipperary if your head is oval, Troxel if it is round. I have an Ovation I like but I bought a Charles Owen JR8 to show in and OMG it is so much more comfortable. I have a huge noggin, so I push the limits of the Tipperary Sportage, it's just barely big enough for me. The Ovation is a titch more comfy, then the CO. But the CO will be hot as Hades in Summer, not ventilated nearly as well as any of the others listed above.
The Charles Owen J3 is by far the best fit for my head. Other helmets tend to give me a headache or to slide down over my nose if I get the next size so as to avoid the headache.
Try on a variety of helmets and then buy what seems to stay on your head, not cause headaches, and feel comfortable. Some people fit into lots of different helmets. Others of us just have a few choices in terms of what fits.
Don't forget IRH makes some well fitted, light weight helmets. I have the helmet posted above. It fits my long oval head and comes in exact sizes. Truly comfortable and does not get too hot in the summer.
Another vote for the Tipp--I'm on my third one (I fall off and crunch my helmet a lot) and only wish they'd make them in proper sizes, as my big head is SO big I have to take out all the padding pieces that are supposed to adjust the fit--with any padding its too tight, with none its a trifle loose. I also wish they would make it with a removable, washable liner. What I have done is take an old Troxel liner and tuck it in there, which makes it just a trifle too snug but better that than too loose. The nice thing about this helmet is I can wear it all day in GA in the summer and have dry hair when I take it off-its that well ventilated. And more than once I have walked back to the house wearing it because I forgot I had it on.
I tried on one of the IRH helmets mentioned and it was lovely and felt great but coal black, perfect for showing I'm sure, lined with some kind of cushy but sweat inducing and non-removable material iircc. I just couldnt justify spending over a HUNDRED dollars more for it than for the Tipperary, and then ripping it up bushwacking and sweating and stinking it up to the point it would be unwearable. Not to mention that replacing the Tipp after it's compromised doesnt hurt the wallet much.