As riders we all put safety first and never choose to ride without a hat. But do you regularly check yours to make sure it is in good condition, and up to the current safety standards, which have recently changed? With constant advances in protective technology, safety wear manufacturers recommend you replace your hat every 3-5 years to ensure it complies. Current standards can be found on the BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) website. Different disciplines will have their own rules on accepted standards, and nonconformity you could see you prevented from taking part in competitions.
If you have had a fall in which your head took the blow, it is possible your hat has been damaged, even if it looks fine on the outside. Hat makers advise they are replaced after impact from a fall (or even a drop onto a hard surface), as the internal shock absorption could be impaired, preventing the hat from offering full protection in the future. For this reason it isn’t advisable to buy any safety equipment second-hand, since it’s history is unknown.
Even in perfect condition, complying with all the current safety standards, a hat can only do its job properly if it is fitted correctly. A BETA approved member, like Nags, will offer free fitting on new hats to make sure you pick the right one. Then it’s over to you to make sure it’s always on when it needs to be, chin strap fastened!