Sue's adventures in new hats

There's nothing like a change in hat regulation to keep riding-reliant charities such as ourselves on their toes!

Fortunately, our dedicated trustee and ride leader Sue Oxley was not going to rest until she'd tracked down the right hats, in the right size., however confusing those sizings were. Here she describes the challenges she faced in the suprsingly complex world of riding hats. Do your best  to keep up! 


My story began in January, when FPDRG discovered that we had to conform to the new European hat standards this year, not next year!!!

I am not a horse person, so what does 000 size hat mean? Or 51? Or 61/4? Are these large or small hats? I didn’t know.

1st mission to make sense of the sizing. I found a site online that had a hat size chart.
Would you believe – 000 = 61/4 = 51 centimetres.

Meanwhile, FPDRG had to throw away about a third of their hats because they did not meet the new regulations. Some riders got upset because they couldn’t find their usual hat.

2nd mission to establish which hats we needed desperately. All the adjustable hats, used for the toddlers, had been taken off the shelves. No hats for littlies. What about Health and Safety??? Could they ride without one? Or with a badly fitting one? Was FPDRG insured for these circumstances? That’s where I came in.

The littlies needed hats that were lightweight and adjustable!!! The Polly hats were no longer up to speck. I weighed the hats and enquired at several places, but, with no success. I thought who would know about hats for disabled children? The RDA of course! RDA is Riding for the Disable Association – they were the ones to ask.

A very helpful lady told me that a company called Tagg was remaking the Polly hats to be compliant with the new regs. Yes, she could order me 3. They took several weeks to come, as many people had ordered replacement hats. Finally they came. Brilliant.

Next mission was to find a very large hat, which was wide. I discovered that some hats were as large as 65cms, but that stockists and makes were few and far between!!! More time spent trying to find the right hat. Of course, it had to be ordered and waited for. Imagine my delight when the hat arrived and it fitted the rider. Success.

At the moment I am finding out which hats we need to buy more of and which type and sizes are right for our many different riders, who, like the hats, come with very different shaped heads and sizes.

Here are our new Polly hats that are ‘legal’ – at the moment. Bright, shiny, new, adjustable, lightweight and come in 3 different sizes.

Here are 3 new Thudgard protective hats for our very young riders. The hats give the heads protection from bumps and jolts. Also, they allow the toddlers to get used to wearing a hat when riding on a pony. They are made of a soft toughened material and are brightly coloured with ‘ears’, which make them more appealing to children.