Monday, 1 September 2014

Champion Hat Fitting Course

The importance of hats!
Source: Daily Mail (google images)


Today I was fortunate to attend a Hat Fitting course by Champion as they are currently visiting various BHS approved centres around the UK for approved centres to go along for free and today they held on at our HQ so I was invited along. I would suggest to anyone, whether you own a yard or work at one or not, if you get the chance to ever go along then definitely do! I learnt so much and it made me realise that my current hat most probably doesn't fit properly and is actually way overdue (luckily I'm getting a new one at Burghley as a present - funnily enough it's a Champion one I want [featured here]). 

He started by showing us how previously, hats just had a thin piece of foam as protection, but now they contain polystyrene and foam to offer more protection. He also discussed the different standards and what they mean and how important it is that hats have these. It was interesting to find out that just because a hat might be more expensive, doesn't mean it's safer. In fact, some are refused from riding clubs, eventing, etc, as they do not have the correct standard - so always make sure yours does! Hats should be kitemarked with either one of both of these standards: PAS 015 2011 or BSEN 1384 2012. 

He also discussed how the average lifespan of your riding hat is normally around 3-4 years depending how often you wear it, though other manufacturers may state longer. He mentioned that a child who has an hour lesson each week, minus 2 weeks for holidays, therefore riding 50 hours a year will probably be fine with their hat lasting around 4 years. However, those in the racing industry start noticing green circles in their hat after 18 months - pretty grim! This is due to the sweat from your head as well as other chemicals such as hair products, make-up, etc., seeping into the polystyrene altering the shape of it and causes a gap between it and the outer layer - no longer providing the correct safety! Again, I realised how much I need a new hat! 

Another fact that I learnt is in relation to those little rubber bands that are commonly used as keepers. Turns out, these are highly important as they are supposed to be situated under the buckle bit and stop the straps from loosening. He even demonstrated to us their importance! Basically, if this doesn't make sense, try this out: place the rubber band at the end, acting as a keeper for your chin strap and then pull - you will find that the chinstrap loosens really easily. Now, place the rubber right at the other end, under the buckle so it's virtually hidden and again pull - you should find that the strap doesn't alter! No wonder my chin strap always seems to loosen! He also wore his hat and asked each of us to remove it to give us an idea of how a correctly fitted hat should fit - let me just say, we all thought we were going to end up pulling his head off! It's quite tight and therefore requires a bit of a pull to remove. So if your hat comes off easily, like mine, then there's a good chance it's a bit loose! 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and now I have a nice certificate saying that I have been instructed on the correct fitting of Champion riding hats and skull! Who doesn't love getting a certificate? Especially when it didn't involve any tests or exams! 

Hope this has given you a bit of an insight about the fitting of hats. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask as no doubt I probably haven't included everything I learnt!

Thanks for reading, 
Laura xx


  1. I think the first question I would have asked is when they start making helmets in my head size. :)
    I struggle to find one that's small enough, let alone one that's fitting properly. I look at the testing, but it's not a case of being able to pick and choose, it's getting something that actually isn't loose.
    I currently use a Tipperary Sportage, which fitted okay. After just 6 months it's now loose and I worry about how much (little) protection it actually offers.
    If I use an extra liner (if I can find one), can I pad it and still be safe? I don't know...and I'm hat hunting again.

    1. ah really?! What size are you (cm)? have you maybe tried one of the new styles with the wheel? Though the guy reckoned that they don't adjust width ways so I don't know if they would still be any good...I know what you mean about them loosening up though, mine did the same! I'm sure that you can get extra padding because when I got mine and told them the reason I wanted a new one years ago (it would fall over my eyes when Pea bucked) I'm sure they said you could put extra foam in..but might be worth emailing a hat manufacturer just to be sure!