Is Your Riding Hat Fit for Purpose
The riding hat â€“ a vital piece of equipment for any equestrian discipline, if not THE most vital, and something all riders should choose with immense care.
Apart from the materials and technical know-how that goes into making a riding helmet, it is how well your hat fits that ensures how well it performs its job. After all, only a properly fitted riding hat will provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event of a fall.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your hat:
- Your hat should fit your head snugly, with the front sitting no more than about 1 Â½ inches or two fingers above your eyebrows
- If your hat can be easily dislodged when the chinstrap is fastened, itâ€™s too big
- Thereâ€™s no guarantee a second hand hat comes damage free, so always buy new
- A well-fitting hat should not tip forward onto your eyes when tapped from the back
When choosing a riding helmet wear it for a few minutes, to see if it fits well and that it doesnâ€™t cause any discomfort. Try jumping up or down to make sure it is a snug fit!
Once you have bought your riding helmet you are good to go, but there are still things to consider.
- Always change your hat after it has sustained an impact in a fall, even if this is a fall just from the tack room shelf
Riding hats should be replaced every two to three years as the protective materials they contain will gradually deteriorate with exposure to heat and repeated use
Your riding hat should be stored in a cool environment and not be exposed to direct heat and light sources. A car or car boot isnâ€™t a good storage place as they can get surprisingly hot!
World renowned riding helmet specialists KASK say â€œThe helmetâ€™s life depends on various factors which cause deterioration, including sudden temperature changes, the degree to which it is exposed to sunlight, and the intensity of use. Inspect the helmet regularly to check for any damage! Cracks, detached parts, warping, flaking and changes in colour are significant elements for verifying the helmetâ€™s state of deteriorationâ€¦.â€.
Last but not least, it is not just the fit of your helmet to consider, it is also the safety standards of the riding hats you are looking at. Every discipline has its own rules on safety helmets, so you need to check your own particular rulebook to ensure your new hat will comply with the required competition safety standards.
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