By retailer Lucy Nicholas
Safety when horse riding is absolutely paramount and wearing a riding hat is essential for all riders but – for young riders, the size, fit and quality can be even more important due to the increased risk of falls as children learn to ride.
Many people don’t realise that the safety features of riding hats deteriorate with age and use. It’s recommended that you replace your hat at least every five years, but more often under high usage. If you know the exact size of riding hat you need, shopping online can be a good way to replace a hat that is older, or that you have had a fall with. Sometimes you may already have a hat in a certain style that you’ve been measured for, and would like one in a different colour – for example, the smart Charles Owen H2000 Riding Hat is velvet, and comes in black and navy – it has a classic profile, and offers a smart and traditional appearance, yet still provides the protection a rider requires.
(If you need to be measured for a new hat, visit your local equestrian store to speak with a BETA-trained retailer for a free, personalised hat fitting.)
1.) Never Compromise on Safety Standards
In Britain, you should make sure your riding hat complies with either the EN 1387 standard or the PAS 015 standard.
A product with a British Standards Institute’s Kitemark must also comply with one of these standards, but the Kitemark assures you that the manufacturer also undergoes rigorous scrutiny by British Standards Institute, to ensure compliance and proper testing. For example, the Charles Owen H2000 Riding Hat is Kitemarked to PAS 015:2011 and certified by SEI to ASTM F1163.
2.) Riding hat size and fit
It may seem obvious, but the sizing of the hat is crucial for it to be effective at protecting your head, as the wrong fit will diminish the safety of the hat. A correctly fitting hat should be snug on the head and not tip forward or back, offering good coverage of the head.
3.) Fit for Purpose!
If your child plans to compete it is essential that you check each governing body’s rules for riding hats, as the helmets which are permitted will differ between British Dressage, British Show Jumping, British Eventing and the Pony Club. The regulations also change, so ensuring you annually check in with any alterations to their rule books is wise!
Once you have taken the time to understand the safety aspects of choosing a riding hat for a young rider, the rest comes down to how much you want to spend, and what type of riding they do. For example, if your youngster does a lot of cross-country riding, then you will need the added protection that comes from a skull hat, whilst traditional velvet hats with a harness are ideal for showing. As a retailer I love the low-priced Champion Junior Riding Hats which are manufactured to exacting standards with lightweight ABS shell, shock absorbent polystyrene liner for improved safety with bottom edge protection, absorbent polyester headband, flexible peak and velvet outer to combine modern safety standards with traditional elegance. With a bigger shopping budget, why not check out the Charles Owen Ayr8 Leather Look Riding Hat – it has up-to-date styling fit with unparalleled safety – it is is a low profile helmet, featuring centrally located front and rear ventilation holes covered in mesh, while the side panels are covered in a leather look fabric.