How to choose the right riding helmet

Your riding hat is the most important piece of equestrian kit you’ll buy so, if yours is damaged or you’re in the market for a new one use our helpful buyer’s guide to choose the right riding helmet.

If your riding hat no longer meets the required standards, or if it's damaged, you'll need to get shopping for a new one

If your riding hat no longer meets the required standards, or if it's damaged, you'll need to get shopping for a new one

Riding hat safety standards

When you’re deciding on a new hat, first and foremost consider what activities you do with your horse.

If you compete you’ll need to check the rules of each governing body (e.g. British Eventing or British Showjumping) to ensure that the hat you want to buy is allowed.

In addition you must be up to date on hat standards. Here’s what’s

EN1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997/ BSEN1384 2012 (with or without Kitemark mark)

This range of standards can still be worn for hacking and hunting but as of 2016, most riding bodies no longer allow you to compete wearing this standard of hat.

VG1 (with or without Kitemark or IC Mark)

Developed by Vertical Group 1, who test and certify hats around Europe, this testing specification is based on the EN1384, but with additional requirements and testing procedures to bring it up to a level similar to PAS015.

A well-fitting riding hat will keep you safe and comfortable, every time you ride

A well-fitting riding hat will keep you safe and comfortable, every time you ride

PAS015: 2011 (with or without Kitemark mark or IC Mark)

This stands for Product Approval Specification (PAS) and was developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI).

This standard was revised in 2011 to include testing at an increased drop height and several other amendments to improve the performance of this standard.

Snell E2001

This standard was developed in America by the Snell Institute.

It’s a higher performance standard which includes all aspects of the American Society for testing and Materials (ASTM) and PAS 015 but with the addition of testing with a sharper horseshoe anvil (to replicate a horse kick or impact with a sharp surface).

It’s also been tested for higher impacts and with an additional hemispherical anvil to represent an uneven but not a sharp surface such as a fence or tree.

Ensure your riding hat fits

Comfort and fit are essential and, as different brands offer varying styles and fittings, it’s vital to use a qualified hat fitter to help you find a hat that suits your head.

After all, only a properly fitted riding hat will provide you with the maximum level of protection in the event of a fall.

Your hat should fit your head snugly with the front sitting no more than about 11/2in or two fingers above your eyebrows.

If your hat can be easily dislodged when the chinstrap is fastened, it’s too big. It’s also important to note that there’s no guarantee a second hand hat comes damage free so always buy new.