Helpful Tips on How to Fit a Horse Riding Hat

"The importance of ensuring that your riding hat or helmet is correctly fitted cannot be overstated. It is the most important piece of equestrian riding equipment that you will wear and if it does not fit you correctly it will not offer you the highest possible level of protection when you need it.

It is recommend that you wear your hat whenever you are in the saddle and it can help to prevent injury when on the ground around horses as well. The better the fit of the hat, the more comfortable you will feel and the happier you will be to wear it regularly.

There are many different styles of riding hats from jockey skull caps to traditional velvet hats. In the main part which style you choose will be down to personal preference until you choose to take up a specific equestrian sport, at which point the governing body may rule which type of hat you need. However many riding schools will enforce regulations about the safety standards which the hat you wear must conform with, so it is worth checking this before you make your purchase.

To find your hat size use a flexible tape measure to measure around the widest point of your head - the tape measure should sit just above your eye brows and ears. This is where the hat will sit.

Even if you already know your size, when trying on hats it is advisable to try several sizes on, above and below the size you to be sure that you get the best fit. Please note the size you require may vary between brands and styles as different types of hats will be of different shapes.

Place the riding hat on your head. When correctly fitted, it should be in contact with your full head, including the top. It should also fit snuggly around the circumference of your head, sitting approximately two fingers' width above your eyebrows.

Then attach the harness and ensure that it is correctly adjusted to make sure that you are offered the fullest protection that the hat can offer. The harness can be adjusted at the chin strap and at two straps that attach the chin strap to the back of the hat to get the correct length. The chin strap should sit where your chin and throat meet. Ensure that you are able to open your mouth fully without discomfort when it is secured.

Once you have got the riding hat on you can test the fit. To do this vigorously move your head from side to side and nod your head from front to back; if the hat fits correctly it will not move.

There are many factors which can indicate that the hat you are wearing does not fit you. If it slips around on your head then it may be too big. Over time the padding inside a hat can 'bed down' and become flatter which will increase the room inside the hat. This can result in the hat becoming too big for your head. You can replace the padding or add extra into the inside of most hats to readjust the size.

If the hat feels uncomfortably tight or gives you headaches when worn, then it may be too small and you should try a larger size.

Whilst a correctly fitted hat cannot fully ensure complete protection, it will help to increase your safety in the saddle. It is important to replace your hat after every fall or after it has been dropped. Otherwise it is recommended to replace your riding hat every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often you wear it."

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