With all the talk about riding hats and safety standards for 2016 we thought a quick guide would be helpful.
What has happened to the standard we all know...
BS EN 1384 riding hat standard is being withdrawn from the EU standards database.
The withdrawal of the standard has no effect on riding hats already in the market. Those sold with only BS EN 1384 will not become unsafe, nor will they become non-standard.
However, from 2016 all the major UK disciplines have withdrawn the standard for their competitions.
Quite how this will be policed is not certain, nor is the implication that in a discipline such as dressage where from FEI level upwards you can wear a top hat (which provides no protection whatsoever) but not an EN1384 hat is again uncertain.
Suffice to say that any new purchases of hats should conform to a recognised standard. That currently (4 Feb 2015) being PAS or ASTM.
A revised standard to replace BS EN 1384 is in process but will take some time. As an interim measure a standard VG1 is being developed.
We feel that the whole situation regarding the withdrawal of this standard has been badly managed.
Retailers knew nothing of this decision prior to the general announcement being made.
It has served to create a great deal of uncertainty in the market place - which is unfortunate.
So what do I need to know about buying a new hat...
We sell KEP and Charles Owen hats. In addition we recently took on SamShield.
All hats sold by Equitain are current and are approved for UK competition from 2016 subject to individual rules of the discipline at time of posting.
In general several manufacturers including Samshield sold hats that had only EN1384 as standard - which is no longer useful for affiliated competition after 2015.
Samshield have ALWAYS produced a hat to ASTM standard - but most retailers choose to stock only the EN version.
SamShield hats sold through Equitain will all have the ASTM standard so are not affected by recent UK competition discipline rule changes.
We are waiting for new stock of these hats to be delivered before we put them on the website for sale.
They will BE SUITABLE and compliant for competition in 2016 and onwards for the foreseeable future.
The graphic at the start of this post hopefully explains some of the standards and the ethos behind them.