Skip to main content
  • Meeting abstract
  • Open access
  • Published:

Ventilation of horse riding helmets: what is the connection between laboratory and field measurements?


Helmets have received little attention in the literature[1] concerning thermal comfort. Whether it is for motorcycling or cycling, ventilation of helmets has become an issue [2, 3]. Relationships between heat loss and the effects perceived vary among helmets. Fouganza, the equestrian brand of Decathlon, has made ventilation of horse riding helmets a priority, first laboratory and then field measurements were performed in order to evaluate the validity of laboratory measures and also to rank a range of helmets on a scale from 1 to 5.


The determination of thermal and evaporative resistance was assessed on seven helmets, using a head manikin in a climatic chamber under 20°C, 40 % rh and two wind speeds (1,3 and 15,0 km.h-1). Four indicators (Rclow speed, Rchigh speed , Relow speed , Rehigh speed) were thus obtained.

In order to better understand the behaviour of the helmets during field tests, a specific questionnaire was created for 15 horse riders (from Gallop 3 to Gallop 7) to collect the subjective responses of four helmets, on a 9-points-scale (from not ventilated to very ventilated), after an intense exercise of 45 minutes undertaken at the Equestrian Centre of Roubaix.


From the four indicators, Rclow speed was found to be significantly correlated with ventilation of horse riding helmets. The general grading remained the same by selecting the other indicators Rehigh speed , Relow speed and Rchigh speed, but they are not more representative of the real use.

Thus we obtained the coefficients of the equation ventilation = α.Rc low speed + β, allowing us to rank our range of helmets.

Discussion and conclusion

The 0,179 m².K.W-1 range in the results can be explained by the no ventilation helmet (C400) compared to the ventilation oriented conception (Samshield, with channels, a way in and way out for the wind). The field results have highlighted the best choice for our indicator of ventilation, but with only four helmets tested in the field. In the future, results could be adjusted depending on the wind speed and the selection of head segments for the calculation. Brühwiler (2004) also showed that the inclination would be another area of investigation3. The test method will also lead to strong improvement in the conception of helmets regarding ventilation.

figure 1

Figure 1


  1. Taylor NA, Caldwell JN, Dyer R: The physiological demands of horseback mustering when wearing an equestrian helmet. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008, 104 (2): 289-296. 10.1007/s00421-007-0659-5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bogerd CP, Rossi RM, Brüwiler PA: Thermal perception of ventilation changes in full-face motorcycle helmet_subject and manikin study. Ann Occup Hyg. 2011, 55 (2): 192-201. 10.1093/annhyg/meq074.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Brühwiler PA, Ducas C, Huber R, Bishop PA: Bicycle helmet ventilation and comfort angle dependence. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004, 92 (6): 698-701. 10.1007/s00421-004-1114-5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthieu Jolly.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Jolly, M., Cariou, A. & Koralewski, E. Ventilation of horse riding helmets: what is the connection between laboratory and field measurements?. Extrem Physiol Med 4 (Suppl 1), A87 (2015).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: