At the last budget, the Chancellor decided to remove VAT from cycling helmets, but chose to ignore riding hats. Children's riding hats do not attract VAT, but adult hats do.
The BHS is campaigning for riding hats/helmets to be VAT free. It is unreasonable and unfair that riders are penalised for being safe. Venturing out on the roads is just as dangerous for horse riders as cyclists - if not more.
If you too would like to help the BHS campaign to make the Government sit up and listen, send a letter of support to the British Horse Society, Safety Department, Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2XZ, or email S.Hardy@bhs.org.uk with VAT in the subject box.
Second hand hats
As riding hats are expensive, do not be tempted to purchase a second hand one. It may seem like an ideal money saving idea, but buying a second hand hat could cost you your life. Riding is a high risk sport and it is vital that a hat which complies with the current safety standard is worn. It is impossible to tell with a second hand hat whether it has been in an accident before and if so, if it has any cracks or damage done to it. If a hat is damaged and someone is wearing it when they fall off, it will provide virtually no protection for their head.
There are numerous hats advertised for sale in magazines and newspapers and now on the internet, with many sites who specialise in auctions and classified sales having sections for second hand riding hats.
The BHS recommends only using hats that are of the current safety standard. Current acceptable standards are PAS 015, BSEN 1384, ASTM F1163. All hats should be Kitemarked or SEI marked and professionally fitted to each individual rider. A hat should be replaced if the rider has a bad fall, where they may have banged their head, or if the hat has been dropped. Remember the law states that all riders under 14 years of age must wear a riding hat.