The Pony Club has introduced new rules governing riding helmets for 2004 in an attempt to improve rider safety.
From 1 January 2004, it has been mandatory for all members to wear protective helmets manufactured to one of the following minimum standards:
- PAS 015:1998 or EN 1384:1996, BS EN 1384:1997, all with the BSI Kitemark
- Snell E2001 with the official Snell label and number
- AS/NZS 3838 1998 or AS/NZS 3838 2003
The Pony Club believes that the CE symbol alone is “not sufficient to ensure consistent standards of manufacture”, and it has therefore decided that hats which carry CE symbols alone are excluded from the regulations.
In a circular to members, BETA chief executive and Pony Club secretary Claire Williams, admitted that the new rule came at a bad time, immediately after Christmas when children were likely to have been given new riding hats, but explained the urgency of the decision.
“The Pony Club is acting in the interests of safety and it is possible to understand its reluctance to delay in the implementation of a change that it believes will reduce the risk of injury to members,” she said.
Recent medical advice is that children’s neck muscles do not develop adequately to support a fairly heavy helmet until the age of nine, so younger children may need to wear a lightweight helmet that complies with the requirements.
The Pony Club has stressed the need to have a well-fitting hat explaining that the shape of one make may differ slightly from another. As well as the new rules, the Pony Club reiterates the necessity of replacing a hat after a severe impact, as subsequent protection will be significantly reduced, and also the need to replace hats after three to five years as hats deteriorate with age.