Is your helmet safe to use in 2015?

With the recent announcement from the EU Commission that the European equestrian riding helmet standard EN 1384 will be withdrawn from the Official Journal of the European Union, and with no alternative standard set for immediate release, many people have been left with unanswered questions regarding their riding helmet. John Whitaker International is aware that it’s important to provide clarity and reassurance to their customers.

Firstly, the company wishes to explain that the removal of the standard has occurred because an agreement could not be reached on updating the base European standard, and not because it is deemed an unsafe standard. Its removal has been called a “….drastic step” by the British Equestrian Federation.

The EN 1384 has successfully served the needs of riders since its introduction in 1996. Before the introduction of EN 1384, surveys consistently showed that 33% of all equestrian injuries were to the head and face. A repeat study conducted after the introduction of EN 1384 by Dr Michael Whitlock, consultant in emergency medicine in Surrey, showed the figure to be 15%. It also showed that 90% of riders were wearing an approved-standard hat; this figure (confirmed by other studies) has been constant at 15% in the past 5 to 10 years. Isolated head injuries are now fewer and might even be lower than figures show because many head injuries now do not need to get hospital treatment as a result of the hat ‘working’, although they might still have concussion.

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

The John Whitaker Victory helmets which are tested here in the UK will continue to be sold within the UK and Europe, and riders may continue to use them at competition level until January 2016 and general riding until the hat needs replacing.Black-and-Blue-helmet

The official announcement from UK Riding Bodies are listed below:

British Eventing will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015. All hats will be re-tagged in 2016, at which stage none made solely to BS EN 1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.

British Riding Clubs will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015. All hats will be re-tagged in 2016, at which stage no hats made solely to BS EN 1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.

Pony Club will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015. Full details of the revised hat tagging procedure will be communicated to the membership and volunteers shortly.

British Dressage will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015.

British Showjumping will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015.

British Horse Society will permit BS EN 1384 hats in 2015. From 1 January 2016, hats made solely to BS EN 1384 will not be permitted for use in BHS-approved centres.

When a replacement standard is released, John Whitaker International will ensure that all their riding helmets will be compliant under the new standard when available.

The John Whitaker Victory helmets are available from www.johnwhitaker.com