A rider has stressed the importance of replacing your hat after a fall, even if it appear undamaged, following a serious hunting accident.

Vicky Smith was recently out with the Cheshire Drag Hunt when her horse had a crashing fall after leaving a leg in a hedge.

Vicky was knocked unconscious for a few minutes before being taken to hospital. Her horse was not injured in the fall.

“I have no memory of the accident or the week leading up to it. I’m sure without the protection of my hat I would have had more than concussion and bruising.”

Vicky was wearing a Champion Ventair deluxe jockey skull PAS 015 which she had fitted last year at a Mole Valley Farmers store.

Following the accident, Vicky sent her hat to Champion to see the damage the fall had caused.

“Upon first inspection there were no obvious signs of impact apart from a slight scuff and stain on the left side,” said a Champion spokesman.

“However after removing the shock absorbing polystyrene liner from the outer shell and stripped the soft lining away it became quite evident that the hat has been involved in a high energy impact to the lower left side and lower rear centre where the polystyrene has been crushed.

“The polystyrene at the left side has been crushed to 16mm from its original thickness of 21mm and has is also slightly thinner at the rear.”

The spokesman added that Champion do not offer a hat checking service, but are always keen and interested to examine hats that have been involved in a fall and have suffered an impact.


Related articles:


“Unfortunately ‘checking’ a hat on the outside only for damage to evaluate whether it can continue to be used is not best practice,” she added.

“As this incident clearly demonstrates, even though a hat that has been involved in an impact may look perfectly fine from the outside, the internal protective liner that absorbs the impact of a fall may have been damaged. The only way this can be determined is by taking the hat apart to examine the internal structures and obviously the hat must be destroyed afterwards.”

Champion advises riders to always replace their hat in the event of a fall in which the hat has sustained an impact.