You may have read or heard about changes to the riding hat standards. And it might make perfect sense – or it might be as clear as mud. Here's our guide to what's happening, and what it means practically for you.
• The European Commission has announced that in the next edition of the ‘Official Journal of the European Union’ the European Equestrian Riding Helmet Standard (BS)EN1384 will be withdrawn.
What does that actually mean?:
• It means that when hats are manufactured they will no longer be able to be certified (i.e. get a CE mark) against this standard.
But what does it actually mean for me the rider?:
• What it doesn't mean is that hats which are currently certified with (BS)EN1384 are suddenly unsafe. All hats certified with (BS)EN1384 passed the relevant standard at the time they were manufactured.
Does it mean I need to buy a new hat?:
• At the moment no. The reasons we would give to buy a new hat would be the same as they've always been: if they've been dropped; if you've suffered a fall where your hat has received an impact; if you can't guarantee your hat has been kept correctly; if you've had your hat for a 'reasonable' amount of time (this is not an exhaustive list!). But do bear in mind that if you are going to compete from 2016 onwards you may need to change your hat then. Check your hat, check with your governing body – and then check again this time next year!
But isn't my (BS)EN1384 hat illegal now?:
• When it comes to the LAW the only legal requirement in England and Wales is that all people aged 14 or under must wear a hat certified to at least EN 1384 on a public highway. This hasn't changed as of today's date.
• If you're talking about 'legal' for the discipline you're doing then you need to check with your governing body. Early indications from some of the major bodies e.g. British Dressage, British Showjumping, British Eventing, the British Horse Society and British Riding Clubs is that (BS)EN1384 will be permitted for use until the end of 2015. No doubt other organisations will update or clarify their rules in the near future.
My hat says BSEN1384 and PAS:015 – I'm confused:
• This means your hat has passed two standards. Provided the other standard (in this case PAS:015) is approved by your riding organisation then your hat can still be used under their rules.
I never go to competitions. Do I need to change my hat?
• As we've said above the reasons for changing your hat would be the same as they've always been.
I was thinking about buying a new hat – should I buy one that only has the BS(EN)1384 standard?:
• It's entirely up to you. The only thing we would say is – if you intend to compete in this hat after 2015 you may not be able to.
Does it mean I'm only going to be able to compete in a much bulkier hat than the elegant one I use at the moment?:
• Maybe – or maybe not. The relevant bodies are working to devise a new EU standard but there is no indication yet as to when this will be accepted by the European Commission. Until that time nobody knows which hats will or will not pass that standard.
I've had my heart set on a super-sparkly, very fashionable hat that is pretty expensive. Surely the more expensive the hat the safer it is?
• No, no and no. Cost is no indication of the level of testing a hat has undergone. Make sure your check the standard on every hat you consider buying if you want to compete in it after 2015.
Is there more information available on the legislation?
• Of course there is – it’s the EU! Follow this link to the British Equestrian Trade Association press release for more information http://www.beta-uk.org/pages/news-amp-events/news/european-riding-helmet-standard-withdrawn.php
Dated: 17th December 2014
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