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Choosing a Suitable Riding Hat

Your riding hat is arguably the most important piece of equipment you'll ever buy, and to provide maximum protection it must fit correctly. It is a legal requirement that children aged 14 and under when riding on the road must wear a riding hat to at least the old standard of BS4472, but it is advised that a minimum of BS1384 is worn. What do the Safety Standards mean?
BS EN 1384 is the basic standard that any riding hat should conform to, the BS prefix denotes the country testing the hat. It is worth noting that although there is in theory no difference in the standard of hats, British tests would have failed several hats that have been given this certification by other countries. 20026-01
20220-01 PAS015 is seen as the most safe standard. It provides improved protection to the crown and intermediate areas which account for 75% of most riding impacts, hats with this level of protection tend to be slightly bulkier in design. This is the most universally accepted standard with the majority of organisations. ASTMF1163 is an American safety standard which allows for hats with larger ventilation slots.
Kitemark is the registered trademark of the British Standards Institute. Hats bearing this mark are regularly tested to ensure they still meet the standards required, all testing is overseen by BSI. Some organisations stipulate rider's hats must carry the kitemark as well as any other relevant safety standard. 20426-01
When choosing your new hat, ask for it to be fitted by a member of staff that has attended a BETA hat fitting course. If you are intending to wear the hat at a riding school or event you should check what the particular organisation's safety requirements are so you can buy the correct hat for the discipline you choose. Your chosen hat should be a firm fit, whilst not being so tight as to cause discomfort the hat should be sufficiently secure to remain in place on the head during the motion of riding at significant pace. Never be tempted to buy a second hand riding hat as you don't know its history and it may not offer adequate protection in the event of a fall.If your hat receives a severe blow either during a riding fall or through an accident where the hat is dropped on the floor, it is wise to replace it even if there are no visible signs of damage. Always take good care of your riding hat and store it carefully, out of direct sunlight and inspect the straps and fittings regularly for signs of wear or damage.

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