Riding Hats – How They Work
A riding hat is the most important piece of equestrian clothing. They are made up of a hard shell lined with shock absorbing material made of high-grade expanded polystyrene, full of microscopic bubbles. The layers of bubbles burst upon impact. As they burst, they protect the head and reduce the risk of injury should a rider fall or be kicked by a horse.
Fitting a Riding Hat
A properly fitted helmet is essential to riding safely as a poorly fitting hat will not offer adequate protection. Firstly, put your helmet on correctly. Make sure it is level, meaning that the visor doesn’t tip up or down. Fasten the harness, ensuring it’s comfortably snug. The helmet should sit level, just above your eyebrows and the tops of your ears. It should not rock forwards, backwards or from side to side and you should only be able to fit one finger in the jaw strap. The helmet should fit snugly all the way around. Wriggle it back and forth and from side to side. If it moves freely, go for a smaller size. If it squeezes uncomfortably, you need a bigger size. You also need to check the shape of the helmet. If it squeezes your brow but is roomy at the sides, it’s too round for your head; if it fits at the sides but rocks back and forth, it’s too oval. Many helmets come with fitting pads you can slip into the inside hatband to solve this. Or try a different style with a more or less oval shape as the shape varies, even within brands.
Looking After Your Helmet and Your Safety
Riding hats should always be replaced immediately if they suffer a severe impact from a fall or even being dropped onto a hard surface. Although no visible damage may be apparent, any severe impact to the helmet can result in lessened protection. For this reason it is always best to buy a new hat rather than a second hand one as you cannot be certain that it has not been involved in a fall or been dropped. The expected lifespan of a helmet is about 5 years. It should be replaced after this time to ensure adequate protection.
It is also notable that Helmets are sensitive to extreme heat so they should always be stored out of direct sunlight. The tiny polystyrene bubbles inside the helmet will melt at high temperatures, so if left in a car on a hot day, the helmet could be damaged. Additionally, always clean your helmet with specialist products specifically made for either the interior or exterior of the helmet to ensure no damage is caused.
Gatehouse – Product and Safety Credentials
Gatehouse helmets have been at the forefront of development over the years, offering riding hats that are lightweight, comfortable and competitively priced. Safety is a priority and Gatehouse helmets have been recognised by the British Standards Institute for consistency and high levels of safety test results. Gatehouse helmets come in an extensive range, meaning there will be styles and standards to suit all tastes and budgets and covering all different riding disciplines.
Gatehouse’s HS1 jockey skull is the only helmet in the UK to pass both British Standard Institute tests as well as Snell E2001, the highest manufactured equestrian safety standard in the world, making it one of the safest riding hats available.