Top Hat, No Hat and Unhelpful Comments!

Dressage riders always look so smart in their top hats and riding in a riding hat on a hot day really isn’t enjoyable. However, being a hot day or a top dressage rider, doesn’t stop accidents from happening! (I could be wrong, but I believe that some top hats for riding do offer some protection to the rider. But nothing like that offered by riding hats.)

Over the past year I have seen so many posts on social media about people who have suffered serious life threatening injuries from falling off whilst not wearing a safety hat. The majority of these people were not ‘riding’ at the time, simply posing for a photo, or sitting on the horses back while on the yard.

When I was younger, I often sat on the pony’s back for a photo, or be led down to the field without a hat. (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) However, now I’m really not sure I would risk it, let alone ride without a hat. Scottie is one of the safest horses I have ridden in a long time, but ANYTHING can happen! I really don’t understand the appeal of not wearing one. Even if I somehow became a top rider, I would still wear a safety hat.

Saying that, however, I do not agree with the people who make comments of “well they should have been wearing a hat.” on posts about tragic accidents. Excluding children, when we get on a horse, it is our choice to wear or not wear a hat. Comments about the lack of a safety hat do not change what happened or do anything to help those involved. Nor can it be argued that by stating the obvious, you are stopping others from suffering the same thing. All horse riders know the importance of wearing a riding hat and know the risks. It is drilled into us from a young age! But we still have the choice to decide to wear a hat or not. How ever ‘true’ these comments about hats are, I often find them insensitive, unhelpful and unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone injures themselves after an accident and they were not wearing a hat, it is no ones fault but their own. But when has pointing this out ever helped anything? So if you haven’t got anything else to say about the post, don’t say anything, and just make sure to stress the importance of wearing a riding hat to young and new riders.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this. What are your opinions on this? I’m sure you have come across similar posts to what I have seen recently!



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