Your riding hat is one of the most important pieces of kit you’ll ever have to buy, at the end of the day you only have one head! As much as we love them, horses can be unpredictable and riding is certainly not a risk-free sport. It won’t come as a surprise that a head injury is one of the most serious injuries you can get, so make sure you’re not just wearing any old hat, but that it’s up to the latest standards. So, if you’re in the market for a new hat here is our buying guide to help you along your way.
Know your standards …
British Eventing, Pony Club, Riding Clubs and Team Chasing
British and European: PAS 015 (1998 or 2011) and VG01.040 2014-12, all with BSI Kitemark or Inspec IC Mark
BD. (British Dressage)
British: All PAS 015
European: VG1, EN1384 – 2017
British: All PAS (1998 or 2011) 015, VG1 provided they are BSI Kitemarked
European: VG1 provided they are BSI Kitemarked
Thanks to modern design and technology, riding hats are now becoming more and more fashionable, as well as super lightweight and well ventilated.
Choosing the right hat
There’s a huge array of hats on the market but it’s important to choose one that’s going to meet all your specific needs. Things to think about include:
- What type of riding do you do? Are you a happy hacker or do you compete regularly?
- If you compete, what disciplines do you take part in?
- You’ll need to check each discipline’s rule book to make sure the hat is competition legal
- What style do you like? This one is entirely down to personal choice. You may prefer a more traditionally styled hat or fancy adding a pop of colour or even a bit of bling to your headgear!
If the hat fits
Comfort and fit is paramount. If you’re buying a hat for the first time get a qualified hat fitter to help you find your size and type of hat that suits your head shape the best. Having a correctly fitting hat will provide you with the best protection in the event of an accident.
How to measure your head:
- Place the tape measure snugly around your head at the widest point, about an inch above your eyebrows. The tape must go over the bump at the back of your head and sit so that it is just above the top of your ears
- Compare your measurements to the manufacturer’s helmet sizing chart provided for the brand of helmet you would like
How your hat should:
- Fit snugly all the way around your head with no pressure on your temples
- Sit on your head just above your ears and eyebrows
- Not move too freely when fastened, if it does then it’s probably too big
Time for a change
A common question asked is “When should my riding hat be changed? When the rules change? After a fall or after it has been dropped?”
The recommended time frame is 5 years which on average equates to 2000 hours of riding. The reason for this is that heat, sweat and the occasional drop reduces a helmets safety level, so a helmet that is worn regularly will deteriorate faster than one used only an hour a week. – Charles Owen
You should ALWAYS replace your hat after a fall or if your hat has sustained an impact. It may look fine from the outside but there may be internal damage that you can’t see.
Tip top condition
Looking after your hat is also important so it has the best chance of taking care of you when you need it most.
- Always replace after a fall or impact
- Replace after 5 years (depending on how much you ride it may be fewer years if you ride for a living)
- Store in a cool dry place, preferably in a hat bag as this will keep it protected and clean
- If your hat becomes wet DO NOT dry it out on a radiator, allow it to dry naturally. This may damage the hat on the inside which you can not see.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any questions about which hat is right for you, just drop us a message.
Our top picks:
The Champion Ventair Deluxe Skull Helmet has a lightweight, low profile glass fibre shell with a slightly textured finish. The integrated ventilation system increases airflow for a cooler ride, while the lightly padded leather harness, with it’s adjustable rear lacing, ensures a close and comfortable fit. This helmet has been British Kitemarked to PAS 015 2011.
This is a great all round hat that can be used just to go cross country or everyday. Comes in a range of colours so you can jazz it up depending on your preference.
The Champion Evolution Puissance Riding Hat has been constructed in fibre glass for a lightweight, low profile finish. It features a synthetic suede outer with a high tech mesh inlay and synthetic leather strips, and has an integrated ventilation panel for maximum airflow. British Kitemarked to PAS 015 2011.
Great day to day hat or for use at competitions (excluding cross country). Looks super smart with great ventilation to stop your head from getting too hot.
The Dublin Silver Pro Graphic Riding Hat has a shiny, almost reflective, outer shell with a stylish geometric graphic print finish and a PU leather front panel. This riding hat is Kitemarked to British Standards and meets PAS015.
Another great hat suitable for everyday riding or competitions. If you like something a bit more modern then this is the hat for you.
The Champion Junior X-Air Dazzle Plus Riding Hat has a lightweight injection moulded construction with a faux nubuck outer and a glittery centre panel that’s sure to give any young rider extra shine in the saddle! This riding hat is British Kitemarked to PAS 015 2011.
A great choice for kids with the added feature of the glittery centre panel. Perfect for around the yard or at competitions.