As a very early birthday present (I don't turn twenty until October), my parents are going to buy me a riding hat so that I no longer have to use one from the stables where I ride. Dad and I went looking at them today.
This hat was the one I was going to go for - it's only £50. Unfortunately, it conforms to EN 1384, not BS EN 1384. The two standards are technically the same, but some hats tested in Germany or Italy are passed when they would fail in Britain. That means that I might not be allowed to wear this hat at different stables, because of their insurance requirements. As I don't know where I'll be riding when at uni, it's important my hat can be used everywhere!
They have some skull caps for around £50-60, and I could wear one of these with a silk ... but I'm not a fan of the look xD
The velvet covered hats make me look about nine years old.
This hat is absolutely gorgeous. It's got a lovely surface, it looks great, it fits great. It's also £105 in my size. All you're paying for is the nicer looking hat, really. It's beautiful, but I don't think I can justify spending twice as much just on a hat.
They also have one that looks pretty much like a cycling helmet; vents, flimsy plastic shell, same sort of padding inside (aside from the actual protective stuff). It conforms to BS EN 1384 and is very light, but it just ... doesn't feel as though it's protecting your head as much, you know? It's the cheapest of the lot at £35.99 (special offer).
I really don't know what to do. I'm taking a friend to her riding lesson on Sunday so I'm going to talk to the instructors about what they would recommend, standards-wise. If they say 'get BS EN 1384', then I'm stuck between a skull cap and silk ... or spending a ridiculous amount of money on a hat. I'm not sure where all the independent tack shops are around us, but at the ones I have been to, the only other nice peaked hats they have are all the super-expensive ones. What would you do? Pay the extra to look nice, or get a skull cap because it doesn't matter how you look anyway?
I also took a look at boots. I was planning on buying a pair of nice synthetic leather tall boots - about £40 - but all the adult tall boots are way too huge around the calf! I've got skinny legs; you could fit two of them down all the boots I tried! The only ones that fit are a youth rider pair that are made of rubber. They're comfy, they fit well ... but they're not nice shiny posh ones. Still, for £25, you can't really go wrong!
Does anyone else have this problem? What do you do, when you want nice riding gear that fits but aren't in a position to be spending a fortune on it? There's plenty of nice stuff out there that I can afford, but it simply doesn't fit me!