Your riding hat is designed to help protect your head if you part company with your pony, but it can only do this if it’s a good fit. If it’s too big, too small or the wrong shape for your head, it won’t be able to protect you effectively. You can take your hat to a retailer where there’s a qualified hat fitter to get it checked, but here are six super-useful tips that will help you work out whether it’s time to get a new helmet…
1. Time for change
You should change your riding hat every five years (three years if you ride every day), even if you haven’t had a fall while wearing it. This is because the protective materials inside a hat can deteriorate over time.
2. Damage limitation
If your hat has suffered an impact, whether from a fall or you dropped it onto the floor, you’ll need to change it pronto. Even if your hat looks OK on the outside, it could still be damaged inside, meaning it won’t provide the right level of protection any more.
3. Check the lock
If you run your hand down the back of your head you’ll feel a bump. When you put your hat on it should lock over this bump and sit snugly against your head.
Never buy a used hat. It may look fine, but could be damaged and probably won’t fit you properly, either.
4. Rock and roll
With your hat on your head, but the chinstrap unfastened, place a hand on either side and gently try to rock it backwards or forwards. Your hat should stay put – if it moves too much it’s not a good fit.
5. Don’t hang loose
It’s important to have your chinstrap fastened so your hat stays in place. You’ll know it’s right if you can fit one finger between the strap and your chin.
6. Feeling snug
Your hat should feel snug without pinching your head. Pressure just at the sides may mean a round fit will be more suitable. If you run a finger around the rim of your hat, the fit should be even all the way round, without any gaps.
For more handy hat fitting tips, visit charlesowen.com/fit