Major change to hat rules after helmet standard withdrawn

  • Riders are being urged not to panic despite the news that a European equestrian riding helmet standard has been withdrawn, resulting in a major change to hat rules.

    The European Union has announced that the (BS)EN1384 standard will be withdrawn from the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) — the official compendium of EU legislation — at its next publication. Its removal means that hat manufacturers will not be able to CE mark (an indicator of a product’s compliance with EU legislation) their hats that only meet this level.

    Any hats that have already been made can continue to be sold, and riders may go on using them. However, as a result of the change, British discipline and riding bodies are reconsidering their hat rules for the future and phasing out this standard.

    The complete removal of the standard has occurred as an agreement could not be reached on updating the base European standard.

    “The withdrawal is due in part to the European working group responsible for the hat standard failing to reach an agreement on this overdue revision, and subsequently causing the commission to take this drastic step,” said a statement from the British Equestrian Federation.

    The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) told H&H that there is no need for change for riders who wear (BS)EN1384 but do not compete.

    “Hats certified to this standard have reduced injuries and saved countless lives,” said BETA’s Claire Williams. “The protection that (BS)EN 1384 offers has not changed.

    “When used and fitted correctly, (BS)EN1384 hats will continue to be as protective as they have been for the best part of 20 years, since the standard first appeared.”

    The (BS)EN1384 standard is still going through the process of revision and it is unclear when a final version might be published. An interim specification, called VG1, is also being drawn up by a group of EU test houses. In future, manufacturers will be able to choose between using the new VG1 specification, the revised (BS)EN1384 once it is published or PAS015 (2011).

    Roy Burek, from Charles Owen & Co, said that it might take at least two years before a new minimum European standard is introduced.

    “My advice is, if you are looking to buy a helmet today, and you want to make sure that it will be something you can continue to use in competition, you need to look for one which meets PAS015 (2011),” he said.

    The only hat in the Charles Owen range that does not meet the PAS015 (2011) is the Fiona — which is popular with the showing community. This will stop being manufactured in March 2015.

    Sarah-Jane Fedarb, managing director of Champion Manufacturing said: “We expect all of our existing hats to pass the new VG1 when it is published, and we have been making a comprehensive range of PAS015 hats for over 20 years to cater for competition riders.

    “If you are planning to compete please check the particular organisation’s rules before you purchase a new hat.”

    Helen Riley, technical and safety manager for Gatehouse Hats added: “Gatehouse can confirm that its BSEN1384 helmets will meet the criteria of the VG1 when they are tested in future and the company is also about to launch several new PAS015 hats at the BETA International Trade Fair in February.”

    When will (BS)EN1384 be phased out?

    British Eventing — will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016.

    Riding Clubs — British Riding Clubs will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016.

    The Pony Club — will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. Full details of the revised hat tagging procedure will be communicated to the membership and volunteers shortly.

    British Dressage — will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.

    British Showjumping — will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.

    British Horse Society —will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. From 1 January 2016 hats made solely to (BS)EN1384 will not be permitted for use in BHS approved centres.

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