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Trading Standards are investigating a riding hat following a complaint from Hampshire Saddlery.

The Just Togs Equestrian Classic was returned to the saddlery in Botley with unusual damage.

Saddlery manager Emma Butt, who sent the helmet to Trading Standards, has told H&H she has removed all Just Togs hats from sale pending the outcome of the enquiry.

Verity Tidmarsh discovered the damage beneath the felt covering of her hat after she dropped it.

“I removed the covering, to show the girls on my yard that a hat should be replaced even when it has a small amount of damage,” she said.

“I was shocked to find what appeared to be prior damage to a large area of the hat, filled with what looked like Polyfilla and then sanded smooth.”

Ms Tidmarsh bought her hat five years ago, but told H&H she has kept it in a protective bag since then and was certain it had never been damaged.

Brian Jones is Trading Standards officer for Wallsall Council where Fieldhouse, the owner of Just Togs, is based.

“At this stage, we have no idea what happened,” he said. “There have been no complaints of this nature about Fieldhouse’s products in the 25 years I’ve worked here.”

Helen Stone of Fieldhouse said: “Just Togs helmets are manufactured in the US. A hat would never leave the factory repaired like that, unless it was part of the normal manufacturing process.

“As we’ve had no opportunity to investigate, we can’t be certain how the helmet left the factory.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (7 October, ’10)