Horse Riding Helmets
The most important piece of equestrian clothing is a riding hat. It is mandatory for children under 14 years of age to wear protective headgear when riding a horse on the road. The headgear must conform to standards. Riding hats consist of a hard shell lined with shock absorbing material and provide vital protection for the rider's head should they fall from a horse or be kicked by a horse. As well as wearing a riding hat at all times when riding, it is also wise to wear a riding hat whilst lunging, or handling any horse from the ground.
Riding hats should always be replaced immediately if they suffer a severe impact such as from a fall or being dropped onto a hard surface as although no visible damage may be seen, any severe impact to the riding hat can result in diminished protection. In addition the protection offered by any riding hat diminishes over time as the padding inside becomes compressed and so any riding hat should routinely be replaced every 3-4 years even if there are no visible signs of damage.
When buying a riding hat it is always best to buy a new one and second hand riding hats should be avoided as there is no way to be certain that any second hand riding hat, even if it looks in tact, has not received a severe impact in the past that could result in diminished protection.
Fitting a Riding Hat
When trying on any riding hat, it is important that the riding hat fits both comfortably and securely. Without the chin strap fastened the riding hat should fit securely enough that the rider should be able to nod and shake their head briskly without the hat moving.
All hats and skulls must be fitted with an integral adjustable nylon harness and must conform to PAS 015 or EN 1384
If the hat suffers a severe impact - even dropping onto a hard surface, it should be thrown away and a new one purchased.
The British Horse Society recommends:
BS PAS 015 1998
BS EN 1384
Comfort and correct size are paramount when fitting a hat.
Points to remember when buying a hat:
take care not to choose a hat that is too large because firmness has been mistaken for tightness.
Adjust harness, chin strap first, then back strap.
Check it each time it is used.
After being subject to a severe blow a hat should be replaced, even though there may be no visible sign of damage
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