Riding Hats and Helmets
Hard hats are worn for riding, lunging and leading horses, and in any other situations where a hard hat isthought necessary, for example when clipping a horse or holding for the farrier, veterinary surgeon, or equine dentist.
Types Of Hat
There are many different riding helmets available today and with a variety of technology that offers ventilation, weight and harness options as well as different types of hat which are most suited to a specific discipline:
Often come with ventilation in the shell and a secure harness with many show jumping hats having a set peak along the rim.
Dressage and showing hats often come with a slightly lower peak on the rim of the hat which when made of velvet giving a very classic.
- Skull Cap
Skull caps are fitted with a secure harness and often come without a peak on the rim in order to offer more overall head protection, so that in the event of a fall the hat stays firmly in place and does not move. Skull caps are used for the likes of cross country, racing and pleasure riding and are also often fitted with ventilation slots to allow some air to circulate when the hat is worn. Hat covers are added over the top of a skull cap and are often chosen to match the riders chosen cross country colours. Hat covers are again made out of a variety of materials and colours to match allowing the rider to also wear there crash hat in other situations such as for dressage when accompanied with a plain black or navy hat cover upon it.
- Top Hat
Worn in top class dressage competitions and in international eventing for the dressage phase, these have no chin strap so care must be taken when fitting to prevent them from coming off in the middle of a test.
- Polo Helmet
These have a fixed peak, air holes in the shell, and a face shield (to protect against the polo ball), which can be detached as required.
Riding hats are fitted by measuring the circumference of your head and are designed to fit across the rim across your forehead. They should be snug enough so that when your head is tilted forward the hat should still stay in place and a fingers width should be able to be fitted into the back of the hat. When purchasing a hat go to one which has a British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) qualified member of staff as they will have done a specialist course in hat fitting an will be able to ensure a perfect fit.
Hard shells are made of a variety of light and strong materials, and depending on the brand you buy, this could be fibreglass, carbon fibre, or a lightweight injection moulded plastic shell.
- Tough outer shell
- Adjustable harness which secures the hat in place and fastens up by going under your chin (chin straps are made of soft leather or webbing material).
- Chin guard on some hats, which is attached to the chin strap and goes over the chin this prevents the hat from being pulled back in the event of a fall.
- Cushioned rim that goes around your head on the inside of the hat.
- Ventilation slots in some hats.
- Safety approval stamp, which is found on the inside of the hat and will also state the size and safety certification.
On the inside of the hat will be stated the size, which is a measurement in centimeters and inches, and can range from 49 to 65 cm or 6 to 8 inches allowing for a wide range in both child and adult sizes.
The BSI kitemark stands for British Standards Institute and is issued to hats which have passed the correct safety standard. There should be a safety stamp marked on the inside to show that it has passed the current safety standard. It should say on the hat BSEN:1384:1997 or PAS015 1988. ASTMF 1163 95.
If a hat has SEI it has been approved to America standards.
- European Union
If a hat has a CE mark it has been approved to be used in european countries.
UK Highway Legal Requirement
It is now against the law for a child under 14 years of age to be on public highways without a hat. The standard accepted is BS4472 but the more up to date PAS015 is the best current choice.
Skull caps can be worn with a hat cover which are coverings often made of lycra or velvet that are attached over the top of the skull cap to give the hat a more traditional look with a peak. They come in a wide range of colors and styles and so are ideal for both pleasure, eventing, dressage, racing and pony club riding.
Keep hats in a safe place, a padded hat bag is ideal for both every day and at competitions.
It is essential to have your hat correctly fitted by a professional and trained hat fitter and in the event of a fall the hat will need to be replaced.