VG1 hats can still be sold by retailers and worn by riders in competitions for some time yet. 

A new European standard for riding hats - EN1384:2023 - will be officially harmonised this week. 

The development comes after a nine-year wait. However, retailers and riders are reassured that it will be phased in gradually in terms of new product and riding rules.

The ‘new EN1384’ offers significant increases in performance over the previous version and when compared with VG1.

Hats meeting VG1, originally introduced as an interim specification, can still be sold and worn by riders competing under competitive bodies’ rules in the UK. 

Claire Williams, executive director of BETA and convenor of the European Riding Hat Standards Working Group, explained that harmonised standards simplify the process for manufacturers, notified bodies and other stakeholders wishing to clearly demonstrate that their helmets meet the health and safety requirements laid down in the regulation.

“A harmonised standard also gives consistency and reassurance to the market,” she added.  

What the EN1384:2023 will mean

The main equestrian disciplines’ rules for 2024 include reference to the EN1384 alongside the VG1 and other standards. They will continue to accept VG1 (with and without Kitemark or IC Mark depending on organisation) for some time yet. 

Expect to see hats enter the market and be offered for quality testing to EN1384:2023. In time, the new standard is likely to supersede VG1, although hats made to VG1 may come onto the market for some time yet, due to production patterns.  

Hats made to VG1 can continue to be sold in the UK until such time as a company’s type certificate expires.

Retailers can continue to sell VG1 hats in the UK. The VG1 was brought in while the European standard was being written; no decision has been made regarding its future.

Any hats retailers have in stock or that are in distributors’ warehouses are considered to be placed on the market, so can continue to be sold. 

It is expected that VG1 marked hats will be acceptable for use in competition for a number of years. 

  • With thanks to Claire Williams, of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), who will provide a full analysis of EN1384:2023 and what it means for the trade in the February/March issue of ETN.