The Buying Guide: Riding Hats
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 Showjumping 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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.