Since opening up our physical retail store in Smythesdale at the start of 2017, we have branched into the second-hand gear market – simply to provide more choice to our customers.
However there is one thing that we refuse to sell second hand.
One single product – that we simply wouldn’t touch second hand, and not even with a barge pole (to put it ever-so-eloquently!).
And that’s helmets.
Now I don’t know about you – but I rather value my head.
Maybe it’s my delicious good looks, or my superior intelligence.
Or perhaps its simply my bodily functions that I so enthusiastically choose to protect and keep intact.
But either way, when I get on a horse, I wear a helmet.
And these days, more and more riders are doing the same (thank goodness!).
I also religiously replace my helmets every 5 years – or after any significant fall.
(Although I much prefer to AVOID falling off in the first place – and rarely do – simply by having learnt to read the horse and trust my instincts!)
So when it comes to putting NEW helmets in our shop, I always look for three main things.
Compliance with the latest and greatest helmet safety standards.
Must look pretty(!)
Offers affordability and value for money (to reduce the cost barriers for the majority of our customers from owning one!).
But! On the odd occasion we get asked whether we sell second-hand helmets.
Or whether we will sell a second-hand helmet for them.
And the answer to both has always been, and will always BE, NO.
I get it though. Helmets can be expensive. They can be a big investment (although the Horze helmets we sell are pretty affordable).
But in my mind, a helmet is THE MOST CRUCIAL investment a rider can ever make.
And the problem with second-hand helmets – is you do not know what has happened to that helmet – throughout it’s lifetime.
You just don’t.
Unfortunately, riders often accidentally drop their helmets. We all do it from time to time.
But did you know, that every single drop, can weaken the internal structures of your helmet?
Often – we tend to finish a ride, and simply haphazardly throw our gear back into the tack room when we’re done – including our helmets.
Did you know that improper storage and lack of care – can cause damage to the internal structures of your helmets?
And did you know that the damage to a helmet is quite often NEVER visible from the outside.
That you have absolutely no way of telling whether the internal structures in your helmet are in great condition, or whether they have slight stress fractures or cracks. Or worse, major weaknesses!
And it’s these internal weaknesses and damage – that lessens your helmets ability to protect your head effectively in a fall.
If the internal structure has weakened over time or through inappropriate storage, or simply through dropping it on the ground (whether you mean to or not!) – your helmet WILL NOT protect your head properly.
It just won’t.
And you won’t know.
Until of course you do fall – and you get to find out just how effective that helmet might be (not an experiment I wish to try!).
So that’s why helmet regulators and manufacturers – along with us as retailers – always recommend taking great care with your helmet.
Why we recommend replacing your helmet every 5 years as a minimum, regardless of whether it looks fine or not, and regardless of whether it’s only been used a handful of times or simply kept for shows.
Simple science tells us that materials and structures degrade and break down over time.
And why we recommend replacing your helmet after a fall or any significant impact to the helmet – which could potentially cause invisible damage to the internal structures.
And exactly why we refuse to sell SECOND-HAND helmets in our store.
(And why we strongly recommend AGAINST purchasing second-hand helmets from Facebook or any other source too(!).)
WE have no way of knowing what’s happened to that helmet or how structurally sound it might be on the inside.
And neither do you.
Owner/Manager of One Stop Horse Shop
Founder of the Horsey Mums Collective