Buyer’s guide

Rid­ing hats

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

AS MUCH AS we love them, we all know our four-legged friends can be un­pre­dictable and rid­ing is never go­ing to be risk-free. Head in­juries present the most se­ri­ous dan­ger, so make sure you’re safe, not sorry, by wear­ing a pro­tec­tive hat that meets the lat­est safety stan­dards, both for rid­ing and prefer­ably when han­dling your horse too. When it comes to safety there should be no com­pro­mise. De­vel­op­ments in ma­te­ri­als and de­sign mean that hats are now light­weight and well ven­ti­lated — just what you need when you’re rid­ing — as well as of­fer­ing the very best pro­tec­tion to your head in the event of an ac­ci­dent. While there’s no law say­ing you have to wear a rid­ing hat (un­less you’re un­der 14 years of age), we ad­vise that you al­ways do.

Choos­ing a hat

With such a vast choice of rid­ing hats avail­able, you need to con­sider what rid­ing ac­tivies you are go­ing to do. If you com­pete in cer­tain dis­ci­plines, for ex­am­ple, you’ll need to check each dis­ci­pline’s rule book so you buy the cor­rect hat. Oth­er­wise, it comes down to per­sonal choice: whether you pre­fer a tra­di­tional-look­ing rid­ing hat, a skull cap or per­haps one with a touch of bling.

Get­ting the right fit

Com­fort and fit are es­sen­tial and, as dif­fer­ent brands of­fer vary­ing styles and fit­tings, it’s im­por­tant to use a qual­i­fied hat fit­ter to help you find a hat that suits your head shape. Only a prop­erly fit­ting hat will pro­vide you with the max­i­mum level of pro­tec­tion in the event of a fall. As a guide, your hat should sit on your head, just above your ears and eye­brows. It should fit snugly all the way round your head but with no pres­sure on your tem­ples. If, when the har­ness is fas­tened, the hat can be eas­ily dis­lodged, it’s too big for you. Al­ways en­sure the har­ness is cor­rectly fas­tened. This nor­mally con­sists of two parts — a chin strap that sits un­der your jaw and an­other that fits round the back of your neck. Some hats have a dial ad­just­ment to help you get the best fit. It’s this back strap that stops the hat from tip­ping for­ward onto your nose, and why it’s es­sen­tial to fas­ten it cor­rectly. If you’re in any doubt, pop into your lo­cal BETA-trained re­tailer and ask them to check the fit for you.

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