Don’t Limit The Look
Years ago, if you were in the market for a new riding hat, you basically had two options – a peaked, velvet hat in black or navy or a boring old skull cap! Not the best look… In fact, during the 1980s, it was rare to see riders wearing safety helmets at all, unless at a competition.
In recent years, however, attitudes towards safety in the equestrian community have changed and, thankfully, it is now much more unusual to see a rider without the appropriate safety headwear in situ. Professional riders set a great example and will promote the benefits of wearing a safety helmet through televised competitions and social media posts. This has been helped, in no small part, by the fact that riding hats themselves have come a long, long way over the past few years, and not just in the way they look – there has been a huge amount of work put into the technology and engineering behind the safety aspects for each hat.
In 1990 the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act was passed requiring all children under 14 years old to wear protective hats when on the road. Now most riders’ hats comply with the minimum safety standard EN1384 or BSEN1384; however, this standard was withdrawn from European legislation in 2015 and hats reaching this standard alone will no longer be accepted in competition. If you have a hat of this standard, it is still safe to ride in (provided it fits correctly and has not been involved in a fall whereby it was subjected to any impact) but if you are planning to compete in any sphere, you must have a hat which complies with one the following safety standards:
- British – all PAS 015, VG1 (both must be kitemarked)
- European – VG1 (must be kitemarked)
- American – A11 SE1 ASTM F1163 04a onwards and SNELL E2001
- Australia & New Zealand – AS/NZ 3838 2003 onwards
No one standard can accurately predict the type of accident a rider may experience; therefore, it’s advisable to choose a hat with multiple standards that will cover a wider range of potential accidents.
Which is the safest hat?
We get asked this a lot and quite simply; the safest hat for you is the one that fits you the best. If your hat doesn’t fit you properly, it will not do its job of protecting your head effectively.
Here at Equitogs, we have a fabulous range of hats for all budgets, disciplines and head shapes. Our staff are all fully trained in hat fitting by Charles Owen and our qualification certificates are displayed in store.
We cannot stress enough just how vital it is to have your riding helmet professionally fitted before purchasing. Everybody’s heads are shaped differently and therefore, not all helmets will fit all heads. We get lots of people who bring their riding hats into store to be checked and it is quite scary how many of those hats have been bought online without any professional input and most of them just don’t fit. You only get one head, you must look after it – don’t buy your hat untried online just to save a few £s, it’s just not worth the risk! We make no secret of the fact that you will pay a little more if you buy your hat in a physical shop, but please remember that you are also getting the benefit of a qualified hat fitter’s time and advice. We will not sell you a riding hat if it doesn’t fit your head, it is not safe to do so and we will not compromise on safety when selling hats. This is why we will not sell safety helmets via our online website, it’s just not morally right!
Once you have purchased your hat from us, please feel free to pop back at any time for us to check that the fit is still perfect. Once you have worn your hat for a few months, the lining will bed in and you may need us to fill some gaps with our Fit-Strip to ensure it is still a completely snug fit. This is totally normal. If your hat is in regular use, we would recommend replacing it every 18 months to 2 years, as after this length of time, the lining will begin to disintegrate through build-up of sweat, and the fit of the hat will be compromised.
Another note to remember is that your helmet is designed to take the impact if you fall and hit your head; meaning that your hat will break so that your head doesn’t! If you have fallen off and hit your head, you absolutely must buy a new hat. Even if there is no visible damage to the outside of the hat, we can pretty much guarantee that the inner shell will be damaged and therefore, will no longer be capable of protecting you effectively.
So, which helmets do we have on offer at Equitogs?
So now that the safety bit is out of the way, we can concentrate on the fun bit! Which hat is the prettiest?! We have a huge range of hats available here in store and you can have them as pretty and funky and sparkly as you like, if that’s your bag. We cater for many different disciplines, tastes and budgets. Below is a quick round up of what we have to offer here in store:
KASK is an Italian company which was founded in 2004, they have an extensive range of, not only riding hats, but safety headwear for cycling, skiing and mountaineering. Their mission is to maintain a perfect balance between technological excellence, functionality, safety, and attractive design. This is what KASK calls the CSD project: Comfort – Safety – Design. Their riding helmets are sleek, elegant and light as a feather. They have interchangeable liners which are machine washable at 30°. The technology and engineering that has gone into developing these hats is extensive and they conform to VG1 and ASTM F1163 safety standards. We have a range of styles in store, from the simple but beautiful Dogma Light to the eye-catching, blingtastic Swarovski On The Rocks – the possibilities are endless!
KEP Hats was founded in 2009 with the mission to provide a hat that protects the rider, using the latest technology whilst being lightweight and elegant. These hats are stylish and super light, with unparalleled attention paid to safety – each hat is subjected to up to 15 different safety tests at the front, sides, and rear. The KEP Hats comply with the following safety standards: EN 1384: 2012, SIX/ASTM F1163, BS EN 1384: 2012 KITE MARK, IC Mark EN1384: 2012 and PAS015: 2011 KITE MARK. They also have interchangeable liners which are machine washable at 30°. There are several different designs; you can keep things simple and elegant with a mica or textile finish, or you can go full on bling with options for crystals, glitter and all sorts of colours and eye-catching designs.
Charles Owen was founded in 1911, their mission was to make products for a safer world. In 1928, the first Charles Owen motorcycle helmet was created, and shortly afterwards the jockey racing hat was worn by the winning jockey of the Grand National. Their hats had an immediate impact on the racing industry; reducing rider’s skull fractures by 50%. Staying with the development of hats, Charles Owen were involved in the development of the first hat standard and have remained at the forefront of safety engineering since. All Charles Owen hats are certified to at least one of the necessary safety standards and are all legal for competition. There is a huge range of choice in shapes and styles to suit all head shapes and all levels of rider – from hacking, to showing to cross country, Charles Owen will have a hat for you.
Gatehouse have been recognised by the British Standards Institute for their consistent and high levels of test results. Style, comfort, and protection have been the heart of their development. Sixteen years’ experience has resulted in non-bulky, lightweight, and comfortable hats, without compromising on safety – many of their hats comply with the SNELL E2001 testing standard, which is over and above what is required in the UK. This standard requires a higher drop onto a flat surface, a drop onto a metal ball instead of a sharp metal edge, and a measure of crush resistance that uses greater force. Gatehouse hats are very popular with eventers and those competing in high risk disciplines and their skull caps are some of our most popular sellers.