LEADING rider at Olympia in December, Robert Whitaker, was causing a stir for more than just his success in the ring. He was spotted sporting a Union flag on the peak of his helmet. H&H decided to find out if we could wear one too.
What is it?
ROBERT was wearing a tailor-made version of the Whitaker1 riding hat made by John Whitaker International. Launched late last year, the hat features a new shape and more modern design, with a “W” air vent at the front.
The hat can be personalised with riders’ or clubs’ names or sponsors’ logos.
“Most flags are available for the top 200 and team riders,” says designer, Sarah Ball.
“They are proving hugely popular as they can be personalised with virtually anything.”
The hat conforms to British and European safety standards EN1384 and CE EN1384 1996.
Who wears it?
ROBERT Whitaker first wore his version of the Whitaker1 at Olympia.
“It was actually the JWI shop that came up with the idea,” he says.
“It originally had a flag on the side, but they came up with the idea of putting it on the peak for me.
“I got it new for Olympia, but I wear it all the time so I’m sure I’ll be using it for the rest of the season,” he adds.
What are the rules about wearing the British flag?
JANE Bird from the BSJA explains: “Both Robert and John Whitaker wear this hat and, being extremely patriotic, they were keen to have a hat that displayed the flag.”
There are no guidelines regarding the wearing of National flags under FEI rules but, under National rules, the flag can only be worn by riders who represent Great Britain at an official CSIO or championship at all levels — from pony to senior.
Where can I get one?
Price: from £165
John Whitaker International Tel: 01706 340500 www.johnwhitakerintltd.com
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (24 January, ’08)