I recently upgraded from a Charles Owen JR8 Helmet to the Kask Dogma Light Helmet. I had worn the Charles Owen for about 5 years and over time the padding had become compressed and the fit wasn’t good any more. I also came to realize just how HOT the Charles Owen was. I compared it to riding with a bucket on my head! I made a somewhat impulse purchase of the Charles Owen AYR8 Leather Look Helmet, rode in it a couple of times and decided I really didn’t love it. It made me look like I had a bubble head, and it was still too hot and heavy for my taste. I sold it to a friend who loves it. When I started researching new helmets, I quickly became overwhelmed by all of the options. There are helmets of every make, model, and color at just about every price point you can imagine. Then there are the safety ratings! Someone help me…
In the end, I decided on a Kask Dogma Light because of the style, fit, and the features.
I found that all of the high end helmets have similar safety ratings, so that wasn’t a consideration in narrowing down my choices (although safety is the most important consideration!) I’m 5’10” and fairly thin. I have a small head (56 cm), it’s what I would call a long oval, and I have a narrow face with a relatively pointy chin. I ride dressage and while I like to say I have a classic style, some might call me boring. In other words, bling is hard for me to embrace. I wanted a helmet that I could wear for daily rides, but would clean up well for a show.
Kask describes the technical features of the Dogma Light as
The molded outer shell, in ABS, is very resistant and light. It is covered with a special textile material, which is waterproof, scratch resistant and washable. Additionally, the soft eco-leather chinstrap is hypoallergenic, washable, and helps avoiding irritations of the skin. It adds a touch of style to this model, which will be much appreciated by the most demanding riders for its fit and design. The comfortable and breathable inner padding is made of 100% Merino Wool: a natural antibacterial fiber that provides unique levels of breathability and thermoregulation. The inner shell is made with expanded polystyrene and features three levels of densities in order to ensure total shock protection, comfort and lightness. With two honeycomb-like aeration grids built in the polystyrene, a smart ventilation system in the helmet provides high volumes of cooling airflow, adding extra comfort to the rider. KASK is well aware that the helmet has to fit correctly to the rider’s head so that the best safety level is guaranteed. This is the reason for which KASK helmets are provided with KASK’s patented self-adapting adjusting system in a carbon look. Introduced for the first time in the equestrian market, the FIT System allows the helmet to perfectly and automatically fit on the rider’s head by gently cradling the back of the head. Available in different colors to suit the taste of every rider, Dogma Light is characterized by its matt frame, and makes this collection truly unique in its own kind.
A huge selling point for me was the merino wool liner. I love how wool wicks moisture, but it doesn’t hold on to odors like some technical fabrics. Some people don’t like wool, or wool doesn’t like them, so if you’re in that camp, this isn’t the helmet for you. The shell is matte black and the honeycomb grid does a great job of providing ventilation. Kask makes a Chrome version of this helmet if you like a little shine.
I went around and around on the many options out there, and while there were a lot of styles I liked, I found that a lot of helmets purported to fit a round head better than a long oval. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about fit. Charles Owen is the brand most cited for an oval head, but I didn’t want another Charles Owen. So, where did that leave me? I started by considering Samshield because they’re very popular, look classy, have a ton of customization options, and one of my favorite equestrian retailers, Exceptional Equestrian, sells them. I was very close to ordering one, but I couldn’t get over the reviews I read that said Samshields fit a round head much better than a long oval. I understand they make a premium liner that is supposed to help with the fit, but I was worried the size and shape would overwhelm my face. I called Dressage Extensions (another great retailer with wonderful customer service) and asked about helmets for an oval head and my particular physical attributes (tall, thin, small head, etc.). The first helmet they recommend was the One K because they make a long oval version of the One K Defender. I researched it, scoured Pinterest and Instagram for photos, and in the end decided I didn’t love the style of it. After One K, I looked at Uvex, Antares, and Kask. I ended up narrowing down the choices and decided to take a chance on the Kask, and I’m so glad I did. The Kask is a great fit! It’s very comfortable and light weight. I’ve found it so much cooler than my old Charles Owen, and it still has a classic look that appeals to me.
The liner is very comfortable, and removable for washing. I apologize for the light layer of dust on everything … I did wipe everything down, but that fine dust seems to stay.
I also really like the back cradle. I wasn’t sure when I first put the helmet on, but it helps it stay secure and doesn’t interfere with a bun when I’m showing. And it’s surprisingly comfortable. It keep the helmet from tipping forward or moving at all on my head (that’s what my Charles Owen had started to do).
One thing to pay attention to if you’re ordering a helmet online is the cm size. I wear a 56 cm helmet. That’s a 6 ⅞ in Charles Owen, but a 7 in Kask, and a 7 in Samshield and a lot of others. Ordering by cm is much more accurate than by US size.
What brand of helmet do you wear? How did you decide? Are you happy with your current helmet? I’d love to hear your helmet thoughts! Choosing a helmet is a very personal and important decision. I think we’re lucky that there are so many good options out there that are as unique as we are.