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Best Riding Hats for 2020

When it comes to shopping for horse riding equipment, safety and protection should always be the features at the very top of your criteria list – especially when it comes to riding hats!

Riding hats and helmets are a critical piece of kit for every rider and without them, horse riding would be considered a far more dangerous activity than it is!

However,  unsecured and poor quality horse riding headwear still exists, and so you need to know your stuff and be wary of buying products which aren’t going to look after your noggin!

So to help you avoid the stress, we’ve scoured the market to find 10 riding hats which have been safety tested at the highest standard to ensure your hard-earned cash is guaranteed to go on a hard-wearing, protective helmet.

From glittery children’s designs to racing stripe piped eye-catchers we’ve also made sure everyone’s tastes and personal style is covered!

But remember, go with your head, not your heart on this one!

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Champion Ventair Riding Hat
    • Lightweight & ventilated
    • Adjustable straps
    • Quick release fastening
    Check Price
    Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull Helmet
    • Certified safety against horse hoof hits
    • High-quality leather 4-point harness
    • Suitable for competition under FEI, Pony Club and HRA
    Check Price
    Champion Junior X-Air Dazzle Plus
    • Glittering centre panel
    • Lightweight injection moulded shell
    • Vented air flow system
    Check Price

    The Top 10 Best Horse Riding Hats Reviewed

    1.
    Gatehouse Jeunesse Glitter Riding Hat

    Gatehouse is one of the world’s most respected and beloved riding hat brands and also boast the largest collection of British kitemarked helmets on the market.

    A stylish and secure bit of kit, this Jeunesse Glitter headwear has been designed with young, go-getter riders in mind, in terms of both aesthetics and safety.

    Elegant in appearance, they’re designed to not feel too weighty or discomforting thanks to their sleek and slender shape which ensures you’ll always feel lightweight yet protected.

    A hit with sparkly characters thanks to its glorious glitter decal, it’s a perfect helmet for all riding disciplines bar Cross Country, making it a fantastically versatile hat for riders who love mixing things up!

    Features

    • Stylish glitter detail
    • Quick dry, wicking padded liner
    • Designed for young riders

    Specifications

    • Colours: Black, Navy
    • Size/s: 53 - 61 cm

    2.
    Champion Ventair Riding Hat

    Champion by name, champion by nature, this Ventair Riding Hat is for the best of the best only and so it’s only natural that it hosts a medley of winning elements.

    Heavily alluded to in its name, the Ventair is a seriously cool design for all you horsey hot-heads, with supreme ventilation and a protective low profile for more intense competition or just everyday riding.

    Featuring an attractive synthetic suede covering, it offers the highest-quality protection thanks to a lightweight glass-reinforced shell, providing all the beauty and brawn you need.

    It’s endlessly adaptable in terms of comfort too, with an adjustable harness and quick-release fastening, to ensure you’re always hot to trot within seconds!

    Features

    • Lightweight & ventilated
    • Adjustable straps
    • Quick release fastening

    Specifications

    • Colours: Black, Navy
    • Size/s: 51 - 63 cm

    3.
    Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull Helmet

    Forget A. P McCoy, because this is the real McCoy for all you aspiring jockey’s out there!

    Another impressive Gatehouse model, this Jockey Skull Helmet offers the absolute premium in safety standards thanks to a Snell E2001 accreditation and a BSI kitemark.

    The Snell E2001 is an American test, and rare in the UK, boasting the highest testing standards in the world, which include secondary hits from a horse hoof and simulations of falling into fence rails.

    If that alone isn’t enough to convince you of its superior build, it also utilises Gatehouse’s unique airflow lining and a high-performance safety buckle.

    Features

    • Certified safety against horse hoof hits
    • High-quality leather 4-point harness
    • Suitable for competition under FEI, Pony Club and HRA

    Specifications

    • Colours: Black, Blue, Silver
    • Size/s: 53 - 62 cm

    4.
    Champion Junior X-Air Dazzle Plus

    For Junior riders, safety features should always be of paramount importance, yet even if it’s the most protective helmet in the world, they’re never going to put a riding hat on unless it offers a certain amount of pizzazz.

    But with the Junior X-Air Dazzles Plus, you’re in luck, as Champion has devised a hat which is as eye-catching and pretty as it is protective.

    With a standout, glittered centre-panel stripe in a colour of your choice, the helmet ensures young riders can always be easily spotted and there’s plenty of features to make the hassle of wearing a hat less fussy and uncomfortable.

    Thanks to a lightweight injection moulded shell, it’s a fantastically smooth fitting shape and offers a 4-point padded harness and ventilation for adaptability and cooling feel.

    So what are you waiting for? Go get ‘em dazzled rider!

    Features

    • Glittering centre panel
    • Lightweight injection moulded shell
    • Vented air flow system

    Specifications

    • Colour: Black/Pink, Black/Silver, Black, Navy
    • Size/s: 52 - 62 cm

    5.
    Charles Owen Rider 2000

    Always something of a fashion statement, Charles Owen helmets typically use high-quality Italian velvet as their cover material and provide nylon harnesses and soft-touch headbands for optimum comfort.

    This Rider 2000 model is no different, a reliable hat for everyday use that brings both sophistication and safety to its wearer.

    Elegant in appearance, it’s style is fairly low profile compared to most traditional riding hats of its kind, meaning more of the head at the back and sides are protected, without impacting on weight or comfort.

    Coming in a beautiful black or noble navy, the helmet is BSI kitemarked (PAS015:2011) and certified by SEI to ASTM (F1163), so you can rest assured that you have the very best in head protection, on every single ride.

    Features

    • Fashionable Italian velvet
    • Dual standard protection
    • Super soft headband

    Specifications

    • Colour: Black, Navy
    • Size/s: 58, 60 cm

    6.
    Champion Junior CPX-3000 Riding Hat

    Another Champion riding hat, another Junior edition.

    But while most Champion Junior helmets boast razzle-dazzle and fancy glitter, this young rider’s hat is more in the mould of a traditional helmet, so they can best emulate their Olympic equestrian heroes.

    Don’t worry about your kids not finding that so appealing either, as a hidden cartoon character lining helps make it more enticing while ensuring kids stay looking smart in the yard and on lessons.

    A concoction of comforting ingredients, the helmet provides a lightweight ABS shell with velvet covering and uses a 3-point adjustable webbing harness for the safest fit possible.

    It’s a discreet but distinguished model all children will love!

    Features

    • Moulded ABS shell & velvet cover
    • Quick release buckle
    • Cartoon character lining

    Specifications

    • Colour: Black, Navy
    • Size/s: 49 - 63 cm

    7.
    Dublin Silver Pro Piped Riding Hat

    Quite possibly our favourite hat in terms of aesthetic appeal, this stunning Pro Piped Riding Hat from Dublin sports a fetching navy colour in microfiber suede with red and white piping.

    But far from just a pretty face, this racer helmet also offers some of the best and most premium features in riding hat safety!

    A 4-point padded harness provides perfect adaptability for the comfiest fit and a chin strap with quick-release buckle action is a saviour for those who value no-hassle helmets.

    It’s an especially good option for all you hot-headed horse riders who can’t seem to find a helmet which doesn’t see you sweating buckets at even just a canter. With a Coolmax removable liner, you can ensure the inside of your hat is always clean and fresh, while front vents provide plenty of airflow!

    Kitemarked to British Standards meeting PAS015, it’s always a secure and stylish affair.

    Features

    • Microfibre suede outer shell
    • Coolmax removable liner
    • Front vent airflow

    Specifications

    • Colour: Navy/Red/White
    • Size/s: 52 - 61 cm

    8.
    Gatehouse Chelsea Air Flow Pro Matt

    Gatehouse has bagged quite a few spots on this Top 10 so far and it’s only fitting given how much work goes into making their hats as practical and protective as possible.

    This Chelsea Air Flow Pro is yet another phenomenally styled helmet which offers optimum ease of fit and can be used for any equestrian discipline that takes your fancy, making it a brilliant option to always have in your collection.

    Slim and lightweight, it’s a less clunky feel for your crown and full ventilation and additional liner availability ensure you can keep things chill or turn up the heat if you require it.

    This makes it an all-year-round option that can thrive in the Summer and survive come the Winter.

    Features

    • Slim & Lightweight
    • Fully ventilated
    • Quick drying, wicking, padded liner

    Specifications

    • Colour: Black/Navy
    • Size/s: 53, 54, 59 cm

    9.
    Harry Hall Legend Cosmos PAS015 Adults Riding Hat

    Meeting and exceeding safety standards with their curated collection of adult riding hats, this Legend Cosmos helmet from Harry Hall is the ideal statement for older riders still looking to catch the eye and sparkle on your steed.

    With a soft microfibre finish and glittered front section, this BSI kitemarked piece of kit is a lighter weighted model and features breathable padded lining for a uniquely snug fit.

    Additional front ventilation also helps to keep things cool for those who get hot and flustered easily.

    The ideal choice for riders who like to bring a little glitz and glamour to the yard.

    Features

    • Soft microfibre covering
    • Breathable padded lining
    • Attractive glitter detail

    Specifications

    • Colour: Black
    • Size/s: 52, 53, 55, 56 cm

    10.
    Dublin Silver Pro Diamante Riding Hat

    Combining a classic look with more modern details, this Silver Pro Diamante riding hat from Dublin boasts a pleasing microfiber suede shell with ‘diamond’ encrusted piping.

    Front vents provide plenty of airflow for those with a furnace-like forehead and a 4-point padded harness and padded chin strap offer a spongy and soft-touch material for the crown and neck.

    It’s also been fitted with a Coolmax removable liner, providing even more additional comfort and ensuring that maintenance and longevity of the inside of your helmet can be easily taken care of.

    It’s a perfect gift for girls who count diamonds as their very best friend (just don’t let the horse find out!)

    Features

    • Padded chin strap
    • Coolmax removable liner
    • Four point padded harness

    Specifications

    • Colour: Navy, Black
    • Size/s: 52 - 61 cm

    Buying Guide

    It’s easy to look at a riding helmet and think, ‘oh yeah, that looks sturdy and secure’ but you need to remember this isn’t any old piece of equipment.

    This is something which could very well save your life!

    It’s therefore imperative that you do plenty of research into not just the comforting features or colours of a helmet, but also whether it can offer the sufficient protection you need.

    Things to Consider

    Safety & Standards Testing

    We know you already know this, but it’s worth reminding you that the absolute most imperative thing when purchasing any riding helmet is to make sure it can provide you with the safety and protection you need.

    The easiest way to know if your helmet is suitable is by looking to see what safety standards it has passed, and it should have at the very least a CE marking, indicating it has passed safety standards by European law.

    We however always recommend looking out for a helmet which also has a BSI Kitemark.

    While CE markings are the minimum you need to look for, the BSI Kitemark is a far more reassuring certification that shows the product makers have gone beyond the minimum to ensure their products are fully tested.

    To gain a BSI kitemark, manufacturers must have their production and product performance rigorously tested and have all their performance claims challenged.

    So if your helmet has one, you can rest assured it’s going to fulfil every single one of its promises.

    Many UK riding schools, national clubs and competitions also only allow riders to take part if they are sporting a BSI Kitemarked riding hat, so it’s always best to prioritise them.

    They will often see them described as PAS 015 1998/2011(Product Approval Specifications).

    The 2011 edition is the updated and best choice and offers far more protection and quality than the original certification.

    Suitable For Your Activity

    You might assume a riding hat is suitable for all horse riding activity, but while many cover everything from racing to showjumping, you’ll occasionally find in the small print that certain helmets only cover the safety standards for a limited amount of activities.

    It’s therefore important to always check this out, especially if you’re going to be doing a high-intensity form of horse riding with more risks of falls and damage.

    Protection

    The whole reason you’re wearing a helmet in the first place is to protect your head from injury. Make sure whatever you buy promises a strong and durable material which will take all the impact of a fall and keep your head free from harm. This is why making sure your helmet has a safety certification or kitemark is so important, as it means you can rest assured your helmet will prevent serious injury.

    Size

    Once you’re a little more clued up on safety standards and materials, you of course then need to ensure whatever helmet you choose is the perfect fit for your head type.

    You should never roughly guess what size you are and you’ll need to take an accurate measurement of the circumference of your head with a tape measure to help you choose the correct size.

    After getting your measurement, you then want to try and pick a size which fits firmly but is still comfortable. It’s all about finding the balance and avoiding discomforting pressure or it being too loose.

    In general, you should always pick as close a fit as possible as over time the lining will become more compressed and fit better anyway. You, therefore, shouldn’t really be choosing anything smaller or too much bigger than the natural circumference of your head.

    You’ll know you’ve made the right choice if there’s a slight suction when removed and a gentle pulling on the skin above the eyebrows.

    It should also sit atop your head without rocking side to side or slipping when you move.

    Types of Hat

    Single Size

    These are the most commonly used riding hats and are individually fitted to the rider, allowing you to get the most unique fit.

    Although this guarantees you a secure and comfortable hat, it obviously takes a lot more effort to seek out and find the perfect choice for you!

    Adjustable

    These, much like they say on the tin, offer a lot more compatibility than a single size.

    They’re especially good if choosing a child helmet, as it allows your helmet to grow with you!

    They also happen to fit round or oval-shaped helmets slightly better and incorporate more modern features like detachable and washable interiors or good ventilation.

    However, there is also the risk you may not adjust them to the correct size and risk your security.

    Styles of Hat

    As mentioned previously, certain styles of helmets perform better based on the intensity and type of riding you take part in and so you should really choose a style which will benefit that activity.

    Standard Riding Hat

    These are the most common type of hat and are used for showjumping and dressage, often offering plenty of design and colours. They sit on the top part of the head and have a peak or brim.

    Skull Helmet

    These are essential for jockeys, hunters and eventers as they offer more head coverage along the back and sides. They also don’t feature a peak or brim as these can cause injury should you fall at high speeds.

    Although they offer a lot more protection, they tend to as a result have a little less customisation and colour. They certainly value safety over style!

    Features to Look Out For

    Hat Shape

    If all riding hats were the same, no company would be able to offer any unique selling points, features or styles.

    Therefore most brands of horse riding helmet tend to come in all sorts of individual shapes, which unfortunately means some brands suit certain heads better than others.

    The only real way to solve which brands match up best with you is to experiment with a selection of them and try to get a feel for who’s helmets mould with your head.

    Rocking and movement of the helmet is usually the key sign that your helmet is not a very accommodating shape for your head.

    If it moves from side to side and you have a tight forehead, it means it is too round and you need a more oval-shaped design.

    Rocking front to back means you need a rounder shape.

    Hat Finish/ Materials

    Once all the most important things have been taken into consideration the look and finish of your hat. The traditional look is obviously a velvet finish but these days there is an almost endless list of options for you to choose from. ABS plastic, carbon fibre or glass fibre finishes are very popular with more modern style helmets, but you can even have fashionable materials like leather and suede!

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t really seem to matter what finish you pick in terms of anti-wear, as all hats seem to be susceptible to scratches and minor markings. This means there isn’t really any point paying over the odds for a carbon fibre option say, as there’s no guarantee it will give you any more longevity than a plastic one.

    Retention Harness/ Chinstrap

    Everyone just sort of assumes a chinstrap is always going to perform its job well, forgetting that it’s an absolutely vital part of the hat – as it helps keep it on your head!

    In terms of fitting, it should feel secure around the chin and you should only ever be able to fit one finger between the skin and the strap.

    There is then the harness to consider, which often comes in either 3 or 4 point designs. These points refer to the points at which the hat can be adjusted for the best fit, helping you find the optimum feel for you.

    Lightweight/ Low Profile

    Sometimes when people read a riding hat is lightweight, they worry this means it won’t offer the same kind of protection. But slimmer, less heavy helmets can still provide the same level of security as a weighty model provided they’re of high quality. After all, you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing a diving suit helmet!

    Removable Liner

    Given how hot it can get under those helmets, the lining of your hat can get a bit dirty over time!

    Thankfully, removable liners can help you regularly wash the inside of your helmet and crucially it means if the padding ever wears out – you can buy a new liner and not a whole new helmet!

    It also offers a bit more customisation in terms of finding the right fit and comfort. If your helmet feels too tight, perhaps swapping your insert for thinner padding will help make things more snuggly!

    Ventilation

    If you struggle with heat and discomfort when wearing helmets for very long periods of time, finding a riding hat with a good source of ventilation can help prevent a horrible sweaty experience!

    Adjustable Dial

    Often found at the back of adjustable model hats these can be beneficial for more than just creating a more personalised fit.

    They can also make accommodating ponytails a lot easier if you’re a long-haired rider and during winter months it can allow you to create a bit more space for balaclavas and scarves for warmth.

    Other Buyers Ask...

    Which riding hat is best?

    The answer to this question really depends on what kind of riding you’re going to be doing.

    For show jumping, dressage or standard riding and strolls, a standard riding hat is fine but for more intense and potentially dangerous activities like showjumping, hunting and events, you’ll need a skull hat to offer full protection.

    We recommend the Gatehouse HS1 Jockey Skull Helmet, as it has gone through some of the most rigorous safety testing available, including horse hoof strike testing and rail collisions during horse racing.

    For traditional riding hats for less intensive activity, we would suggest something which combines both comfort and protection.

    We recommend either the Charles Owen Rider 2000 or Champion Ventair helmets as both feature low profile designs, meaning they provide more cover and support for the back and sides of the head than other standard models.

    How do I measure my riding hat size?

    The easiest way to measure your riding hat size is with a tape measure which can be neatly wrapped around your head to take a recording of your head circumference.

    If you don’t own one of these, it might be possible to do it with a piece of material, but this would require you to make markings and then measure the recorded length with a ruler. This is obviously a lot more fiddly and has a higher risk of you taking an inaccurate measurement.

    Although it might seem simple to wrap a tape measure around your head, you still need to place it in the correct position so it mimics where the helmet will sit.

    Begin by placing the start of the tape a finger width above the eyebrows, then wrap around the widest part of the head.

    If you have found the correct spot, the tape should be barely touching the top of your ears.

    Then make your recording in centimetres and begin shopping for hats!

    What size riding hat do I need?

    Sometimes when shopping for riding hats, it can be extremely confusing what size you need even if you know your head measurements. This is because not all horse riding helmets display their size in centimetres and many will instead simply refer to their riding hat or skull capsize.

    To see what riding hat or skull cap you are based on your head measurements, consult this handy chart below!

    Head Measurement Riding Hat Size Skull Cap Size
    49cm 6 000
    50cm 6 1/8 000 1/2
    51cm 6 1/4 00
    52cm 6 3/8 00 1/2
    53cm 6 1/2 0
    54cm 6 5/8 0 1/2
    55cm 6 3/4 1
    56cm 6 7/8 1 1/2
    57cm 7 2
    58cm 7 1/8 2 1/2
    59cm 7 1/4 3
    60cm 7 3/8 3 1/2
    61cm 7 1/2 4
    62cm 7 5/8 4 1/2
    63cm 7 3/4 5