We should never underestimate the role our riding hats play in keeping us safe in a sport that is well known in the world, to be one of the most adventurous and challenging, not to mention, somewhat dangerous. So here are some quick to the point, pointers from Steed & Style.

Hat sense for Safety

A spot of hat sense makes a big difference

We should never underestimate the role our riding hats play in keeping us safe in a sport that is well known in the world, to be one of the most adventurous and challenging, not to mention, somewhat dangerous.  So here are some quick to the point, pointers!

  • You MUST wear a helmet every single time that you get on a horse – no compromise.
  • Your helmet must be properly fastened at all times.
  • Wear a helmet even when you are busy with groundwork or performing tasks such as picking out feet – 30% of head injuries around horses happen to riders on the ground or bystanders.
  • Your helmet must fit snugly and correctly, and not tip forwards when you bend your neck.
  • Do not buy a helmet “to grow into” – it must fit correctly now, and not next year. In case of a head injury, you want immediate, maximum protection now – not in the future.
  • Your helmet MUST conform to a recognized international safety standard AND HAVE a certification mark/quality assurance symbol.
  • BSEN 1384/EN 1384 is not an accepted safety standard anymore. If you have a helmet that displays this as the only standard, you need to replace your helmet.
  • Take good care of your helmet – do not knock it around and store it securely. Every blow may reduce its ability to protect you.
  • Do not leave it in the boot of your car, or in the sun for extended periods where it may overheat.
  • Your helmet should be replaced after it’s been involved in a fall on your head, whether you see any visible damage or not to the exterior.
  • If it’s more than 5 years old.
  • Never, ever buy a secondhand helmet.

What are the safety standards

Dr. Elmarie Janse van Rensburg advises us on helmet standards currently recognised.

  • ASTM F1163:2004a or 04a onwards: This is the United States standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • PAS 015: 1998 or 2011: Products Approval Specification is a British standard.
  • SNELL E2001 or E2016: this is an International standard developed in America by the SNELL institute.
  • AS/NZS 3838 2006 onwards: Australasian standard
  • VG1 01.040:2014-12: European standard.
  • EN 1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997: This standard was withdrawn in 2016, and helmets complying with this standard alone are no longer acceptable.

What are CE marks?

Dr. Elmarie Janse van Rensburg writes that a CE mark on a helmet is not a safety standard.

All hats sold in Europe must be CE marked, which means that the manufacturer has declared compliance with European regulations for personal protective equipment. It was introduced to allow government officials a way of ensuring that products entering a European Country met the basic safety requirements of Europe.

A certification mark is a quality assurance symbol.

In order to ensure that a helmet produced by a certain manufacturer meets the claimed safety standards, independent agencies then conduct rigorous tests on the helmets.  Any standard helmet with a certification/quality assurance mark (such as BSI) can be viewed as safer than a hat to the same standard without.

The major certifications include:

  • SEI (US)
  • BSI Kitemark (Great Britain)
  • INSPEC IC Mark (International)
  • SNELL (International)
  • SAI Global (Australia)

These standards and certification marks are presently recognised internationally.

Current British standard PAS 015:1998 or 2011 with BSI Kitemark or INSPEC IC  Mark (International)

European standard VG1 (01.040: 2014-12) with BSI Kitemark or INSPEC IC Mark (International),

Current American Standard ASTM F1163:2004a or 04a with SEI mark

Current American Standard SNELL 2001 or 2016 with the official Snell label and number

Current Australian Standard AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards) with SAI Global mark

Hat sense for safety from Steed & Style

Whitaker VX2 Riding Helmet Plain

This lightweight helmet features dial to fit size adjustment, bounce back peak, a metal branded plaque and three front vents. With a machine washable coolmax lining. Meets ASTM F1163-15 and European safety standards.

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