Okay, I literally could write for hours and hours and hours about how much I wanted the Samshield when I first saw it at LA Saddlery. Sure it was weird looking, and it wasn't a GPA or CO, but you could get crystals on it. When I talked to an employee about it they said it was good for people who get headaches wearing other helmets because of the pressure on the temples. (which was me in a nutshell!)
Sadly due to the price tag I put the helmet down in January 2011, but decided I'd get one one day. That day came in July 2011 (thanks to all the 'donations' from family and friends at my HS Graduation party.)
I gathered up my cash, and headed for LA Saddlery where my head spun with ideas because of all the customization. I ended up settling with a Black on Black with silver trim and 5 crystals. It was modest, but for my first showing helmet (I spent 14 years in plastic schooling helmets, borrowing other peoples helmets for shows), the $700 price tag was more than enough for me. A month of agonizing over when it was going to come in paid off when I got the call it had come in. No one at my ranch, no one on the show circuit I did, no one in the area had my helmet, or a Samshield for that matter. When I went to show in it a few short weeks later, I got SO many compliments it was ridiculous.
The helmet fits like a glove, and is an easy keeper (then again I keep mine under lock and key when its not on my head);D
My only complaint is that I got it sized to fit my head when my hair is up (for showing of course)
But when I school I like to have my hair in a low pony or braid. I took my helmet back to the tack store and told them I wanted to get a thicker padding so I could wear my hair down, and they said it was going to be about $70 for a new lining. Probably not that big of a deal...better than buying a new helmet, but I was kinda bummed I spent that much money on a helmet just to find out I need to spend more on it to wear it for schooling...which brings me to another point. I love my helmet so much I get so nervous when I take it out...I even cover it with ugly helmet covers because I'm afraid of getting it dirty. It should definitely be used as a show helmet.
LUCKILY for those of us wanting a schooling helmet they came out with the Matte black one they released in September. I tried it on and its BEAUTIFUL.
Definitely getting it ASAP!
In conclusion...if you like customization and standing out, and have the money to do so....go for it. They're amazing...way better than any COs I tried on and majority of the GPAs in the price range. Once you try one, you'll never go back to anything BUT Samshield!