H&H Asks: super-safe riding hats

ADVANCING technology means protective riding equipment is regularly improving. Two notable new helmets are the PROtector Showjumping Hat and the HS1 (High Spec 1) Jockey Skull.

The PROtector

THE PROtector Showjumping Hat from Parkgate Equestrian was launched at the Hickstead Derby meeting and has SNELL E2001 approval (see below), the highest manufactured safety standard in the world.

Each hat is handmade and individually produced, allowing different colours and logos to be used. At Hickstead, many riders said it was comfortable and lightweight.

Who uses it?

GEOFF Billington wore one for his winning Hickstead Derby round. Show jumper Peter Charles also wears the PROtector and was instrumental in its development.

“Last year, I had an extremely bad fall and was lucky to have a second chance. I wanted the safest hat I could find,” he says.

Where can I get it?

THE PROtector retails at approximately £250 and is available at www.parkgateequestrian.co.uk (tel: 01306 631374). It has an accurate method of sizing, allowing online sales. It will soon be available at selected retailers.

The Gatehouse HS1

THE Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull is also one of the safest riding hats available, featuring safety standards PAS 015, BSEN 1384 and SNELL E2001. A carbon-fibre reinforced shell gives great strength, while a shock-absorbing liner enhances side impact protection.

“Many eventers favour the HS1, as it offers such good protection,” says retailer Lucy Nicholas of the Saddlery Shop in Devon.

Who uses it?

MORE than 40% of riders at the 2007 Badminton Horse Trials were wearing this hat, including Lucy Wiegersma.

“I hate heavy hats and find this one really lightweight — it also gives me peace of mind over the cross-country course, as it is so safe,” she says.

Where can I get it?

THE Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull retails for approximately £120 and comes in black or silver. It is available from independent retailers such as www.thesaddleryshop.co.uk (tel: 01409 220315), which supplies comprehensive instructions on measuring and fitting, allowing online sales. Alternatively, contact Westgate EFI (tel: 01303 872277) for stockists.

Safety standards

SNELL E2001 exceeds other standards by including a test simulating a rider falling into fence poles, or having a secondary hit from a horse’s hoof. The Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund recommends hats meet the following: PAS 015 & kitemark, ASTM F1163 & SEI, SNELL E2001 or EN 1384.

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (2 August, ’07)

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk