I can’t tell you when I bought my Champion Skull hat. I remember getting it tagged for the first time at Oasby BE and I remember which horse I was riding that day. I also remember that I sold that horse in 2009. We’re talking a hat that was a minimum of 5 years old, and more likely 6 or 7. But I’d never had a fall in which I thought I’d hit my head so had never got round to replacing it. They’re blooming expensive things and so long as I assumed that the hat was still safe, there was always something higher on the list of necessary purchases.
Until one day last month when I had a silly fall team-chasing (annoyingly between the final fence and the finish line – only I could manage that one!). I maintain to this day that I didn’t hit my head but unfortunately the evidence says otherwise and this time there was no alternative. The hat had to go! Champion saw the picture I posted on Facebook and got in touch to ask if they could have the hat for testing. The results were rather scary!
This is the official report and feedback from Champion:
The hat is a ventair deluxe produced at Champions Cardiff factory in June 2007 batch 13 to PAS 015 1998.
The damage is not easily seen and is difficult to show on a photograph, the shock absorbing polystyrene liner has a split/crack at the front right temple area and some impact damage, crushing of the liner at the rear crown and rear bottom edge.
There is a lot of cumulative damage to the bottom of the liner due to every day little knocks and bumps, these have decreased the thickness at the bottom edge by 1 – 2mm, the crack is probably due to the impact at the rear, crown where the wearers head has been forced into the hat causing it to flex outwards resulting in the crack. The crack radiates up from the bottom edge into the front ventilation slot and 20mm beyond the slot into the crown area. The slot has now been removed from the polystyrene for PAS 015 2011 to help cope with the crush test and also to enhance the resistance to penetration testing.’
So it’s good that she’s got a new hat!! And she should have got a new one quite a time ago!
So, kids, it’s time to be grown-ups. Barring the grass-stains my hat looked perfect from the outside. And I honestly and truly did not think that I had hit my head. But the evidence says that not only did I hit my head with some force on that occasion, but I had also done the same thing several times over the life of the hat. Lesson learned! I have replaced my hat with an up-to-date model of the same Champion Ventair Deluxe Skull (after all, I’d say it’s done me a fair service over the years) and will now be preaching to people to change their hats regularly. Not quite as regularly as your underwear maybe, but after every fall, however insignificant you feel it may have been at the time. Should it happen that your superglue is better than mine and you don’t hit the deck at the drop of a hat (sorry guys, couldn’t resist it) then you should probably replace it every couple of years regardless. Sure, it’s expensive, but so are horses. And, hey, it’s only your life you might save!