Of Horse

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Is Your Riding Hat Keeping You Safe?
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Is Your Riding Hat Keeping You Safe?

The European law regarding manufacture of riding hats is being taken away; however, the new regulations are yet to be announced. Riders will be required to use an interim standard.

Currently, riding hat manufacturers are required to comply with the (BS)EN1384 specifications which are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The journal contains all the legislation of the EU. According to the (BS)EN1384 specification, hat manufactures are required to include the CE mark on their hats as a sign of compliance with the safety standards of the European Union.

Radical steps

That being said, all that is going away and new law regarding riding helmets will be replace the existing law after the revision. According to the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), (BS)EN1384 will be revised and a new standard will be published. However, the new standard has not been agreed upon yet because the European working group has failed to agree on the revisions.

Meanwhile, temporary standard known as VG1 is being drafted and it will be published very soon, within a few days.

If you are wondering what the prefix BS stands for, it means that the standard has been tested in Britain. However, there are some countries within the European Union, which have approved hats that might not have been tested in Britain or met the British safety standards. 

Therefore, British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) feels that it makes no difference in revising the standard as far as European Union is concerned. Indeed, the two standards do not differ in principle and they have so far succeeded in saving many riders from serious head injuries or even death.

According to BETA spokesperson, the new standard will be a major step forward since they will be offering the bottom edge protection for the first time.

The current (BS)EN1384 is still valid

One may think that the current EN1384 is no longer applicable. On the contrary, the standards is still very much in operation and helmets with the mark CE are still considered safe and allowed in the market. As a matter of fact, the new changes which are expected will not be a big deviation form the current changes except that they will take into consideration the best available technology such as lateral rigidity, shock absorption and additional adjustments.

Summary of the new helmet rules

Bodies that are within the UK will be required to adopt the new rules once the old ones are phased out (probably by the end of 2015). The new rules are expected to take effect from 2016. The following bodies will allow the old rules in 2015 but not thereafter: British Riding Clubs, the Pony club, British Dressage, British Showjumping and the British Horse Society.

Riders are advised to look for hats with VG1 tag or the ones with the PAS015, these were developed by the institute of British Standard or the revised (BS)EN1384 as soon as they are published.


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  1. Roy
    The new VG1 requirement is actually a big change from EN 1384. Apart from the test to check your helmet will protect you if your horse rolls over you, the impact protection has increased by nearly 30%. A good reason to upgrade.

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