One of the first purchases you will be required to make before you can head out riding, is a riding hat. These are essential pieces of equipment that can save your life and, under no circumstances, should you ever go out riding without your hat or skull.

In fact, it is now compulsory to wear a riding hat when out hacking, so you must make sure that you don’t simply rush into a purchase that isn’t right for you. Think long and hard and shop around and you will not end up with an uncomfortable hat that doesn’t fit. The more uncomfortable your hat is, the less likely you are to wear it, so make the right purchase.

It is usually advised that you get your riding hat fitted by a professional, which isn’t always the easiest when you are buying online. However, if you do see a hat that you fancy on the internet, then you can always pop along and get your head measured in a regular tack shop before making the purchase. This is a little bit cheeky but once you know your head size, getting an adequately fitting helmet should be easy.

To find out how to make the right decision, read our guide to buying a riding hat.
How riding hats work
These pieces of safety equipment work using shock absorption. They are designed to absorb any impact evenly, therefore protecting your head from injury. Riding hats do have their limitations, however, when it comes to the impact of falling off a horse, they will offer you as much protection as possible.

On average, riding hats tend to have a hard shell on the outside, made out of a resistant resin or plastic. These outer layers tend to be covered with a more aesthetically appealing design, including cloth or leathers. Beneath the surface they have more shock absorbing material as well as further lining and some extra padding for your own comfort.

The brim of a riding hat, will, more often than not, be surprisingly flexible. This means that it can give way immediately if you are to suffer an awkward fall and land on your head. Ventilation will also often be taken into account in the design of riding hats, in order to make sure that they aren’t too hot.

Measuring your head

You should always measure your head before you buy a riding hat. By measuring your head you will have a good idea of what size is suitable for you, before you even start to try on different models. You need to measure around the fullest part of your head just above the ears and just over your eyebrows. This will give you a measurement in centimetres, which can be converted into a size, using the table below…

Here are some points that you should remember when measuring your head for a riding hat:
You should roll the hat or skull onto your head from the correct position, which is at the front of the head, about half an inch above the eyebrows.

It should always be a snug fit, however, you will want to avoid too much pressure at the temples as this can cause you headaches.

There will often be space at the back of the hat for you to insert the top of your index finger. This, however, isn’t always the case and isn’t as vital as the room available at the temple area.

You will need to adjust the straps, so that they are comfortable to the person wearing the hat.

When you remove the hat from your head, you should feel a suction as it is lifted off. If your hat is fitted correctly then you will feel this, and you will also see the lifting of the eyebrows and the skin above them.
Looking after your riding hat with care
Here are some pieces of advice to help you with the maintenance of your riding hat. You will want to read these tips carefully and follow them closely. That way, your hat will last a long time and won’t suffer from the regular wear and tear so easily.

You will have to ensure that your clean your hat or skull regularly. Clean with a soft brush, a little warm water, and some soft soap.
Never dry your wet hat in front of a fire or on top of a radiator, this can lead to damage. When it comes to drying your hat, you should simply allow it to dry naturally.
Always store your riding hat in a cool dry place that is out of direct sunlight.
When transporting it from place to place you should ensure that your hat has some protection. Don’t simply leave it rattling around in the boot of your car.
You should never dry clean your hat or skull and avoid exposing it to any petroleum products, cleaning agents, paints or adhesives.
You should also never leave your hat beneath glass, such as on the rear shelf of a car behind the back windscreen.

If you follow these pieces of advice closely, then your riding hat or skill will last a long time.
Riding hats available on Equine Superstore
Here at Equine Superstore, we sell a wide variety of riding hats of varying manufacturers and prices. So, no matter what your budget, we should be able to accommodate you. Here are three smashing models we offer – one for the lower end of the price spectrum; one in the middle; and one more expensive model.
Economy option
The Dublin Velvet Safety Helmet is an attractive riding hat that has a traditional velvet look. It is stylish and effective as a helmet offering you plenty of protection from falls. This design is a popular choice and has a fully adjustable web harness and an adjustable lining with a drawstring for a perfect fit.
The middle of the road
The Dublin Onyx Web Harness Helmet is a cracking middle of the road option. It is an innovative lightweight helmet designed to offer superior comfort to the rider. Featuring an extended padded section at the rear for comfort and fit, air ventilation strips to keep the rider’s head cool, as well as a wickable lining to absorb moisture.
The top end
The top end option on Equine Superstore is the Champion Ventair Hat. It features a lightweight ventilated air flow system and has a soft feel easily adjusted harness and is ideal for the everyday rider and keen competitors. It is a traditionally designed hat with a synthetic suede covered lightweight glass reinforced shell.

So there you have it, three smashing riding hats available on Equine Superstore. To view all of the other riding hats we offer click here.

Main story picture: Stefan Schmitz