A crucial question that you should always have in the back of your mind is ‘does my hat still provide me with maximum protection?’ If you have ever had a fall during which your riding hat sustained an impact the answer to this question is probably no and so your hat should be replaced.
The reason for this is simple. The design of riding hats is such that they absorb the impact of blow before it gets to your head. But what this means is that if you have a fall in which your hat sustained an impact, it’s already done its protective job. The hat may look fine on the outside, but the internal polystyrene shock absorbent liner may have been damaged and will not be able to provide the same level of protection in the future. Therefore, if your hat has suffered a severe impact, even if this is having been dropped off the top tack room shelf, your hat should be thrown away and replaced, even if there is no outward sign of damage.
It’s also important for riders to remember that riding hats should also be replaced every 3 – 5 years as the protective materials they contain will gradually deteriorate with exposure to heat and repeated use. After a long time of use on a warm, sweaty head or body, storage in a warm tackroom and exposure to sun, your riding hat will not offer you the same level of protection. We strongly advise riders to replace their hats every 3-5 years and ALWAYS after a fall in which the head may have suffered an impact. After all, it’s easy to replace your hat and there should be no compromise where your safety is concerned.