One of the things I have never contemplated riding without is a hard hat. I had a new one about 18 months ago (see my blog) and wearing them has always made me feel safer. I wore a riding hat from the first time I learnt to ride and although I still see some adults out on the road without one I would NEVER do this. In the UK it is law that riders under the age of 14 wear a riding hat when on the public highway. When they announced, a few months after I had bought my new hat, that one of the standards was to no longer be accepted, I was a bit worried.
This one is fine.
Riding hats have to meet various safety standards and these all require certain protective elements, the understanding and opinion on various elements does alter every few years! Hats and skull caps must have an integral adjustable nylon harness and bear the CE mark. Different standards will mean the hat has passed different tests; eg: crush tests, penetration tests, landing on an edged surface, replicating a kick from a horse etcetera. You can find out more by visiting the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) website.
Obviously, if you have a hat which is marked only with (BS) EN 1384 and no other standard it is still going to offer the same protection as it always has. Although, the recommendation is to change your hat every 5 years! So, you are still better to wear one and if you do not compete there is no huge rush to replace it - although riding schools and/or freelance instructors may insist your hat meets the current accepted standards before a lesson. In addition some livery yards require hats to current standards to be worn at all times when riding on the premises.
If you compete you will need a hat which is up to the currently accepted standards - ie: not just BS EN1384. This is true for Riding Club shows, Pony Club, British Eventing, British Showjumping etc so make sure you check before arriving to compete!
Also, if you have personal accident insurance which covers you when riding it will probably only be applicable if you take all reasonable precautions. This is likely to mean wearing a hat which is up to current standards!
Make sure your hat has one of the following
- VG1 (with or without Kitemark or IC mark)
- PAS: 1998 (with or without Kitemark or IC mark)
- PAS: 2011 (with or without Kitemark or IC mark)
- ASTM F1163:2004a (with SEI mark) - an American standard
- Snell E2001 - an American standard
- AS/NZS 3838:2006 (with SAI global mark) - an Australasian standard
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Until next time!