A jockey skull cap is a type of horse riding hat designed for use in the most extreme equestrian sports. The Jockey Skull Cap characteristically has an even round or elliptical shape, with a smooth or slightly abrasive surface, and has no peak or peak type extensions. Also know as a peakless hat, crash hat, cross country hat or riding school hat, the jockey skull cap is designed to protect your head in the event of a fall.
Jockey skull caps have been designed for use in extreme equestrian sports including horse racing and cross country riding. Many jockey skull caps are some of the safest riding hats on the market, tested to the limit and carry the highest safety standards.
Jockey skull caps are designed to be the safest hat for cross country riding. Under British Eventing rules only jockey skull caps are permitted for use during the cross country phase. This is because a fixed peak has the potential to make an injury sustained in certain accidents more serious to the neck, skull or brain.
The British Eventing Rule States:
“‘Cross Country Protective Headwear’ is a ‘Jockey Skull’ of an even round or elliptical shape with a smooth or slightly abrasive surface, having no peak or peak type extensions.”
Skulls caps can be worn in any equestrian competitions, including dressage and showjumping. Many riders choose to wear a skull cap for everyday riding, hacking, training, clinics and competitions.
There’s so many options for hat silks and hat covers available now, it can be difficult to know which to choose.
For dressage, showjumping, pony club competitions and hunting you should wear a dark cover that matches your jacket, for example a navy, black or brown silk, lycra, or velvet cover.
For cross country many riders like to wear a hat silk that matches their baselayer and saddlepad. These are often brightly coloured and can feature unique designs and patterns, or pom poms.
To clean the outside of your jockey skull cap gently sponge it with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust. To keep the inside of your hat fresh, use a specialist hat cleaner or deodoriser, like this one from Charles Owen which digests the dirt and grease.
To help keep your hat clean you can store it in a padded hat bag, this will also help prevent any knocks or bumps while you’re not wearing it.
There are a few different considerations to make when purchasing a jockey skull cap. You’ll need to think about when you’ll be riding in it and what activities you’ll be doing, which safety standards the hat has, and what extra features you want, such as ventilation or a removable liner. Most importantly, you will need to choose a jockey skull cap that gives you the best fit, as this will offer you the best protection. If a jockey skull cap isn't suited for you then see our post on "Which is the best riding helmet?"