Thursday December 8, 2022
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Hat & Body Protector Rules


Hat Rule for 2022

It is mandatory for all Members to wear a protective helmet at all times when mounted with a chinstrap fastened and adjusted so as to prevent movement of the hat in the event of a fall. This rule defines the quality of manufacture that is required. The individual sports also have additional requirements with regard to colour and type. It is strongly recommended that second hand hats are not purchased.

The hat standards accepted as of 1st January 2020 are detailed in the table below:

Hat Standard Safety Mark  
PAS 015:1998 or 2011* with BSI Kitemark All activities
VG1 with BSI Kitemark All activities
Snell E2001* onwards with the official Snell label and number All activities
ASTM-F1163 2004a onwards with the SEI mark All activities
AS/NZS 3838 , 2003 or 2006/        All activities
  • For cross-country riding (over 80cm) including Eventing, Tetrathlon, Horse Trials, Pony Racing (whether it be tests, rallies, competition or training) and Mounted Games competitions, a jockey skull cap must be worn with no fixed peak, peak type extensions or noticeable protuberances above the eyes or to the front, and should have an even round or elliptical shape with a smooth or slightly abrasive surface, having no peak or peak type extensions. Noticeable protuberances above the eyes or to the front not greater than 5mm, smooth and rounded in nature are permitted. A removable hat cover with a light flexible peak may be used if required.
  • It is strongly recommended that a jockey skull cap is worn for cross-country riding over lower fences (less than 80cm) as there is research evidence that a fall onto the fixed peak can result in an over extension of the neck backwards with the potential for serious injury.
  • No recording device is permitted (e.g. hat cameras) as they may have a negative effect on the performance of the hat in the event of a fall.
  • The fit of the hat and the adjustment of the harness are as crucial as the quality. Members are advised to try several makes to find the best fit. The hat should not move on the head when the head is tipped forward. Most helmet manufacturers recommend you visit a qualified BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) fitter.
  • Hats must be replaced after a severe impact as subsequent protection will be significantly reduced. Hats deteriorate with age and should be replaced after three to five years depending upon the amount of use.
  • Hats, must be worn at all times (including at prize-giving) when mounted with a chinstrap fastened and adjusted so as to prevent movement of the hat in the event of a fall.
  • For Show Jumping and Mounted Games the cover, if applicable, shall be dark blue, black or brown only. 
  • For Dressage, hats and hat covers must be predominately black, navy blue or a conservative dark colour that matches the rider’s jacket for Area competitions or above. The Pony Club Hat silk is also acceptable.
  • The Official Steward / Organiser may, at his discretion, eliminate a competitor riding in the area of the competition without a hat or with the chinstrap unfastened or with a hat that does not comply with these standards.

Hat Checks and Tagging

The Pony Club and its Branches and Linked Centres will appoint Officials, who are familiar with The Pony Club hat rule, to carry out hat checks and tag each hat that complies with the requirements set out in the hat rule with an aquamarine Pony Club hat tag. Hats fitted with an aquamarine Pony Club, British Eventing (BE) or British Riding Club (BRC) hat tag will not need to be checked on subsequent occasions. However, the Pony Club reserves the right to randomly spot check any hat regardless of whether it is already tagged.

Pony Club (Aquamarine) hat tags are only available to purchase over the telephone from The Pony Club Shop.

Tagging indicates that a hat meets the accepted standards, NO check of the fit and condition of the hat is implied. It is considered to be the responsibility of the Member’s parent(s) / guardian(s) to ensure that their hat complies with the required standards and is tagged before they go to any Pony Club event. Also, they are responsible for ensuring that the manufacturer’s guidelines with regard to fit and replacement are followed.

Body Protector Rule for 2022

The Pony Club does not make the use of body protectors compulsory, except for all Cross Country riding and Pony Racing whether it be training or competing.  Body Protectors used for Cross Country and Pony Racing must meet BETA 2009 Level 3 standard (purple label) or BETA 2018 Level 3 standard (blue and black label) – see below.



For general use, the responsibility for choosing body protectors and the decision as to their use must rest with Members and their parents. It is recommended that a rider’s body protector should not be more than 2% of their body weight.  When worn, body protectors must fit correctly, be comfortable and must not restrict movement.BETA recommend body protectors are replaced at least every three to five years, after which the impact absorption properties of the foam may have started to decline.

BETA 2009 Level3 (purple label) body protectors will continue to be accepted at Pony Club competitions until 1st December 2024.

Riders who choose to use the Woof Wear Body Cage EXO must lodge a key with the Event Organiser when they collect their number.

Air Jackets

When an air jacket inflates the sudden noise startles horses in the immediate vicinity thereby causing difficulties for the other members of a ride if used in a group ride in a confined area.. Air jackets are therefore not encouraged for group rides.

If a rider chooses to wear an air jacket in Cross Country or Pony Racing, it must only be used in addition to a normal body protector which meets the BETA 2009 Level 3 standard (purple label) or BETA 2018 Level 3 standard (blue and black label). Parents and Members must be aware that riders may be permitted to continue after a fall in both competition and training rides for Cross Country and/or Pony Racing, provided the rider has been passed as fit to continue by First Aid Providers. In the event of a fall, it must be fully deflated or removed before continuing, after which, the conventional body protector will continue to give protection. Air jackets must not be worn under a jacket and number bibs should be fitted loosely or with elasticised fastenings over the air jacket.