New riding hat standards

New riding hat standards

Most horse riders are aware that the hat standards have changed. Questions abound about what this actually means for riders and why this has happened. In this series of blogs focussing on hats, we cover the whole subject in detail and answer many of your questions…

Why have the hat standards changed?

Safety standards for hats are typically reviewed every 5 years but not every review results in the same amount of change as we’ve experienced over the last year. The BS EN 1384 standard, that has been in place for 20 years, has been withdrawn by the EU Commission. The Commission has been forced to take this step because the European working group responsible for the hat standard, have failed to reach consensus during the review.

Which standards are affected?

Both EN1384 1996 / BSEN 1384 1997 are affected by the changes. These two standards are identical. The only difference being that one is prefixed by the initials of the country testing it, ie the ‘BS’ prefix symbolizes that the hat was tested in Britain.

These standards represented a significant step forward from their predecessors as they offered ‘bottom edge protection’ for the first time. It was possible to claim this as when the hat was impact tested, it was done from almost right on the bottom edge of the hat whereas before this testing was only carried out 75mm up from the bottom edge. This meant that 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 fell on the sides, front or back of their head and not the top.

So what does it mean if my hat is BS EN 1384 certified?

It depends! If you use your hat purely for hacking, schooling etc., then this change does not affect you. You can continue to use your hat for the same activities - just because BS EN 1384 has been withdrawn, it doesn’t make your hat any less safe than it was before. So you can carry on using it with confidence!

It you use your hat for competing, it does affect you. From 1 January 2016 you can only compete with a BS EN 1384 standard hat in British Dressage events and this is only until 2017. After this date you will not be able to compete in it and you will need to buy a new hat that meets the new safety standards outlined below.

So what do I need to know about the new standards?

For competing in the UK, your hat must meet one of the following standards:

Origin  Hat standard Comments
Britain PAS 015 1994, PAS 015 1998, VG1 Must be Kite marked
Europe VG1 Must be Kite marked
America SEI ASTM F1163 04a onwards, SNELL E2001
Australia & New Zealand AS/NZS 3838 2003 onwards

Are there any other standards that are no longer allowed?

The following standards below are also obsolete: BS3686, BS6473:1984 and BS4472:1988. These standards preceded the first European standard and were all withdrawn in 1997. They are no longer viewed as suitable by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

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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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