Riding Hat Safety Standards

Riding hat safety standards

The most important piece of equestrian clothing is your riding hat.  So when buying a hat, it’s important to understand the safety testing that they go through.  The following standards apply to riding hats and skull caps in the UK.

EN1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997 with CE mark

This is the basic minimum standard for a horse riding hat.

This standard may be found prefixed by other initials belonging to the country testing the helmet, e.g. DIN EN1384 indicating testing in Germany. The BS prefix symbolizes that the hat has been tested in Britain and though in theory there should be no difference, some European countries have approved hats that may have failed if tested in Britain.

These two standards are identical in content and were a major leap forward over the previous British standards, offering ‘bottom edge’ protection for the first time.  Read on to find out what this means…

Hats have been impact tested almost right on the bottom edge (as opposed to 75mm up from the bottom edge on BS4472 hats) so the protective liner has to extend all the way down to the rim. This change came about because it was found that in 25% of falls the rider did not land on the top of their heads, but on the sides, front or back. Bottom edge protection also ensures your temples are safer.

PAS015: 1998/ PAS015: 2011 with BSI mark

This stands for Product Approval Specification and was developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in response to concerns about the time it was taking to develop what would become the EN1384.

This standard is the enhanced BSEN 1384 standard.  It provides improved protection to the crown and the intermediate areas which together account for 75% of most general riding impacts. As the test line is lower at the front, it tends to lead to slightly bulkier helmets. Most organisations recommend this level of protection.

What is a CE Mark?

The CE Mark is neither a quality mark nor a standard in itself but is a mandatory declaration under EU law by a manufacturer to show compliance with essential requirements of all relevant EU Directives.  It was introduced to allow government officials a way of ensuring that products entering a European Country met the basic safety requirements of Europe. Under the Personal Protective Equipment Directive all safety equipment must bear the CE mark showing compliance with the appropriate European safety standard.  So in terms of safety standards, products with this reference do not go through as rigorous testing as they do if they carry the Kitemark…

So what’s the significance of the KitemarK?

When you see a product with a Kitemark this means the British Standards Institute has independently tested it and it has confirmed that the product conforms to the relevant British Standard, and has issued a BSI license to the company to use the Kitemark. The manufacturer pays for this service and their product is tested, and the manufacturing process is assessed, at regular intervals.

The Kitemark is the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product they have bought really does conform to the appropriate British Standard and should therefore be safe and reliable.

Manufacturers are not legally required to display a Kitemark on their products, but many everyday products and appliances such as fridges, electrical plugs and crash helmets have them.

Do I need to know anything else?

Yes! All our riding hats meet at least the minimum safety standards, that is EN1384. If you need any advice then don't hesitate to get in touch with us. You can also read our buying guide on how to measure yourself for a riding hat here.


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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