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.
“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.
The 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