Hats are hitting the headlines this week as Royal Ascot gets under way.

The British Horse Society (BHS) is taking advantage of headwear’s high profile to launch a campaign to promote the importance of wearing an up-to-standard riding hat.

Lucy Conn, of the BHS, is modelling a Patey Protector hat — with added embellishments —on the first day of the five-day meeting.

Riders are being asked to support the campaign by sharing their own #hathairdontcare selfie on social media, and nominating their friends to do the same.

Lucy Conn with Gok Wan #hathairdontcare“Whilst it isn’t law to wear a hat when riding, we are urging all riders to make sure they always wear a safe hat,” said a BHS spokesman.

“People might think it isn’t cool or that it will mess up their hair; but wearing a hat can make the difference between life and death.

“The BHS are asking all riders to put their safety first by donning a hat that meets EU safety standards while riding.”

Former eventer Polly Williamson, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall from a young horse in 2011, urged riders to check their headgear.

“I know all too well the importance of ensuring your riding hat is safe, and I know the jockeys riding at Royal Ascot will do too,” she said.

“Without my hat, I don’t know if I would be here today — it’s as simple as that.

“My advice to horse riders is to always check that your hat is included in current safety rules; it could save your life.”


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James Bebbington, of Patey Hats, added he thinks the hat the company donated “looks fantastic” and hopes it will raise awareness for the cause.

Lucy Conn with Johnny Murtagh #hathairdontcareThe BHS and Townfields Saddlers are offering 20% off new hats in exchange for damaged helmets when accidents are reported through the organisation’s accident reporting website www.horseaccidents.org.uk