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Get your hat size checked!

I was watching the 2* at Nunney yesterday with a friend. I was absolutely horrified when a rider had a horse fall at the open corner and sat up with no hat on. I was about 30m from the fence and there is no way she had time to unbuckle her hat and sit up. I looked at my friend and asked if she had just seen what I had, and she confirmed that she had.

championventairevThis rider’s hat had clearly come off from being too big. It was a very well known manufacturers skull helmet with heavy duty harness and there was no way that anything failed on that area as we later saw the rider put the hat back on.

After that I watched several riders going round cross country with hats that were too big. I cannot implore you enough to get your hat checked. It should not be loose on your head in any way and we know that hats are life savers.

It’s easy to be complacent about skull hats as I certainly only ride in mine for cross country preferring a show jumper style one for every day. But it’s a piece of safety equipment and in order to do its job it needs to fit.

About the author


An amateur rider who produces all her own horses. I have competed at novice level and sadly never got further due to bad luck with horses but I am still ambitious to achieve a lot more. I have a riding qualification in UKCC2 and a diploma in NLP. Sports science and particularly the mental game fascinates me. For a day job I work for a large multinational brand.


  • As a professional hat fitter, I can only say, I am not surprised. We see many people from all levels who have fixed ideas about hats, what they like, what their friends have, etc, rather than be advised as to what hat fits. I know many people get their hats at trade stands & while I’m sure the majority do fit, we seem to pick up the pieces when they come to us complaining of discomfort, or movement & 90% of the time these hats have been fitted & purchased at shows where there is little or no comeback for the trade stand. We are then asked by the hat company if we can sort out the problem for them. PLEASE, people support your local hat & body protector fitters, when we are gone, you will have no where else to go.

  • I’ve found that the lining will shrink/compress with time and become looser, even in pofessionally fitted hatsm Obviously the fit should be checked periodically, but it’s easy to become complacent

  • I have a very well known and popular skull cap (think silver in colour) and I love it. But, the chin strap works its way lose from the little rubber keeper so it may as well be strapless! I now have the rubber keeper wound round twice and it has been fine since, I have however seen quite a few people with these hats with the chin strap miles too long, so guess they’ve had the same problem?

  • I agree but I had a hat fitted, a well known brand at badminton a few years ago, it didn’t fit at all, I bought it but I don’t know why as I knew it did not fit, I have never had a size 1.5 in my life always been a 1!!! I still wear it now but it is padded out, I have another hat that does fit which I wear XC!

  • I had a motorbike accident in a well fitting helmet. The medics just lifted my helmet off as the lining had compacted on impact. This was a helmet that used to squash my face! I would expect a similar material being used I riders helmets. In my case the full face helmet did its job when I hit a tree at 40 miles an hour, I survived. I would jump to conclusions regarding fit.