You may have heard that the European Union has recently announced plans to withdraw the most popular standard of riding hat – the (BS) EN1384 – a plan which will affect the rules of affiliated British riding and discipline bodies. For equestrians that compete, the (BS) EN1384 standard will no longer be accepted from next year on and a revised standard (yet to be agreed) will come into use.

After failing time and again to agree the revision of the standard, the European Commission took the drastic decision to withdraw it altogether. This means that manufacturers will be phasing out the (BS) EN1384 in preparation for next year, and will be the ones most affected by the changes.

As the revised standard still hasn’t been certified, rule changes won’t come into force until 2016. This means that competition riders still have ample time to wear their current hats before thinking about buying new ones. Hats that bear dual standards i.e. EN1384 and PAS015 will not be subject to the same rule changes and can continue to be worn next year, providing your riding organisation approves that particular standard.

For leisure riders, the new hat regulations will affect you very little. This is because the (BS) EN1384 standard can continue to be worn, purchased and sold. Hats already on the market will not be recalled and retailers will still be able to purchase the standard from wholesalers and distributors.

The EN1384 offers great protection and has done so since its first appearance nearly two decades ago. This hasn’t changed and therefore the standard is still a perfectly safe and suitable choice for unaffiliated riding activities. If you don’t compete, there are no restrictions on the standard of hat you wear, and the EN1384 standard is a slim, lightweight and well ventilated hat which will certainly have enduring popularity.

For those of you that do compete, it is essential you familiarise yourself with the rules of your British riding or discipline body ahead of next year. The following bodies have so far revised their rules and will permit the (BS) EN1384 standard in 2015 but not thereafter: The British Horse Society, The Pony Club, British Eventing, British Dressage, British Show jumping, and British Riding Clubs. Come 2016, all will expect hats certified under the new standard.

If you are at all unsure about the rule changes and how/if they will affect you, BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) offers some useful information and helpful FAQs. For everyday leisure riding, VioVet sells a great range of (BS) EN1384 standard hats. We also stock hats under the PAS015 standard, which are permitted by the new regulations. For further help and advice, feel free to contact our Equine Marketing Manager: [email protected]

Written by: Hannah