Some things in life you should not skimp on, and horse riding safety wear is one of those things. Horse riding is a high risk extreme sport - you're riding half a ton of flight animal that can move at speeds of up to 30mph, jump well over 6 feet into the air, and quite often makes questionable life choices! It pays to buy the very best safety wear that you can afford, so that in the event of an accident you known you've got the very best protection. There's 3 main types of safety wear available to horse riders - a helmet, a body protector, and an air jacket:
Horse Riding Helmets and Hats
One of the most important pieces of equestrian equipment you will own is your riding hat. Your riding hat’s sole purpose is to protect your head in the event of an accident or fall from your horse, so it’s vitally important to make the right choices to get the best riding hat for you. There's some key considerations you'll need to think about when buying a riding hat:
- Does the hat fit? Your hat will only protect you if it fits correctly. All hats should be fitted by a qualified hat fitter to make sure they're just right for you.
- What safety standards does the hat offer? Different riding hats will all have different safety standards, so it's really important to check what your hat offers - look inside for the symbols. Despite appearing the part, some hats (often found online, in supermarkets or general sports stores) may not offer any equestrian safety standards at all! The different equestrian safety standards (like PAS015, VG1, ASTM, SNELL etc) all test for different specific riding accident situations, like falling from height, onto objects.
- What type of hat is it? Unless you're going to be doing cross country or racing, the type of hat you have is down to personal preference. A jockey skull cap is top choice for people having riding lessons, everyday riders, happy hackers, up to top level competition riders. A velvet riding hat is the traditional choice and offers a smart and classic appearance. The lightweight riding helmet is growing in popularity amongst beginner riders, everyday riders, and people who compete in dressage and showjumping events.
- Is the hat new? Buying a second-hand riding hat is not recommended, as you do not know how old the hat is, if the hat has been stored correctly, dropped or fallen on. All of these factors could compromise your safety.
You can find out lots more about Riding Hats here.
Body Protectors for Horse Riding
Body Protectors, also sometimes known as back protectors or body armour, are designed to reduce any injury to your body in the event of a fall. They are made of shock absorbing foam and can particularly help when falling from speed, onto objects like poles or jumps, and if the horse catches you with their hoof.
Air Jackets for Equestrian Sports
A relatively new invention, an equestrian air vest is worn by the rider and inflates as the rider falls from the horse. It inflates in less than one second, so by the time you reach the floor you have a nice cushion of air around you. Air jackets are great for giving you extra protection for everyday riding, and especially good for cross country riding where there is a higher risk the horse may fall onto you.
Get the fit right!
Riding Hats and Body Protectors should always be fitted by an expert, such as a BETA Approved Equestrian Retailer. Here at Eland Lodge all of our retail staff go through rigorous training and certification in fitting hats, body protectors and air jackets. We’re meticulous about your safety and will ensure that any riding safety wear purchased from us fits you individually, fulfils your needs, and is fit for purpose.