Earlier this year I got a new riding hat, a Charles Owen 4 Star. I needed a new hat as mine was relatively old and I had learnt that they do need replacing every 5 years. I have always only replaced it if I fell off and my head hit the floor. This means I had probably had my last hat for over 6 years! I only needed a hat for general riding, a bit on the road and maybe small jumps. I decided that one that helped keep my head cooler would be perfect as I often find my head gets much too hot in the summer.
I visited my local tack shop (one of my favourite places) where there are professional hat fitters. I discovered that I have an unusual shaped head, apparently most peoples' heads are oval, mine is round. This meant that I was limited in choice and that the appropriate hat was more expensive than I had planned!
However, with the alternative of being seriously injured or even killed falling off I figured that I would have to spend the money.
So this hat is actually certified to the four top international standards. Apparently, there is improved crush resistance! There is a four point harness which can be altered easily to fit with a quick release buckle.
There are air slots at the front and back of the helmet and a 'gap' at the forehead. These all allow more air to flow and help keep you cool. The mesh also increases cooling and the evaporation of sweat.
It comes with a black silk which has mesh over the ventilation holes too, as you can see in the first picture.
I will be completely honest with you and tell you that when I first used this hat I thought I had made a terrible mistake as it was so tight and uncomfortable. I was coming back from rides with headaches. The buckle is quick release but is not always that easy to get to lock in place when you put it on. However, with that much money I had to persevere as there was no way they would take it back once I had used it. I first wore it for short periods for lunging (15-20mins) and then increased it (30 mins) when I was schooling, and used my old hat for longer rides. Over time it moulded to my head and I could wear it for longer rides too.
It took several months using this method to get the hat as comfortable as my old one. Now, of course, when I put my old hat on it feels so loose that I know I needed a new one. I have found this hat cooler over the summer, which has been pretty hot, so now feel that I made the right choice.
When did you last replace your hat?
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Until next time!