My head was the first part of me to make contact with the tarmac…

We recently received a letter from Sue Burrows who had a nasty fall a few weeks ago which left her in hospital. This is what happened…

“I have no recollection of the accident as such, apart from what witnesses have told me, as I lost consciousness and have no memory up to waking in the back of the ambulance.

It seems my 17hh normally placid horse spooked, went into bronching mode and ditched me in the main road. My head was the first part of me to make contact with the tarmac.

I had a CT scan which luckily showed no fracture but I sustained head swelling, a haematoma and concussion injuries, resulting in ongoing dizziness and nausea. I also have 8 stitches at the back of my head.”

Sue kindly sent her hat back to our technical team for inspection. What we found is yet another reminder to always, ALWAYS replace your hat after a fall.


Sue’s hat was produced to meet PAS 015 1998 in our Cardiff factory as part of Batch 42 in April 2009 has been inspected for damage and report is as follows.

(The latest PAS 015 standard is now PAS 015 2011 which has enhanced impact protection and crush resistance).

From the outside there are no signs apart from a mud stain on the left side that this hat had been involved in a fall.  There is a blood stain present in the head lining and lace.

Upon closer inspection it was noticed that there is a gap between the shock absorbing polystyrene liner and shell at the rear right side.

When the liner was removed along with the head lining it is plain to see that this hat has been involved in a high energy accident.  The polystyrene liner has been reduced in thickness at the lower rear right area from its original thickness of 19mm to 8mm.  The 8mm of polystyrene remaining is also very well crushed and is damaged to the extent of its protective capabilities.  (See Photographs).

From the damage found on this hat in my opinion you are probably quite lucky not to have suffered more extensive injury, or worse.


We’re grateful to Sue for returning her hat for inspection and we hope she completes a full and speedy recovery. Best of luck for the future Sue!


Sue’s hat, clearly showing the impact damage at the rear

Sue-Burrows-hat3 Sue-Burrows-hat Sue-Burrows-hat2


Sue and her lovely horse, thankfully showing his beautifully placid nature!

Sue-Burrows2 Sue-Burrows


Pippa Funnell’s Champion Ventair inspected by our safety experts

We’re delighted to see that Pippa Funnell was back in action at Rockingham International last weekend, after her bad fall at Withington Manor Horse Trials at the start of May which resulted in her withdrawing from Badminton Horse Trials. Pippa’s Champion Ventair helmet was sent back to our safety experts at our factory in Cardiff for inspection and this is what we found…


Ventair Deluxe Navy jockey  helmet  size 6 7/8 involved in fall returned for inspection.

Dear Pippa

We all at Champion hope you are on the mend after your fall?

Thank you for allowing us to inspect your hat. As you know we carry out extensive testing both in house and at the British Standards (BSI) but we can learn a lot more from hats such as yours that have been involved in real life accident situations.

The above hat produced in our Cardiff factory as part of Batch 10 in June 2015 was inspected for damage and report is as follows.

From the outside there are few signs hat had been involved in a fall apart from the small area on the Right side above the eye where the paint has come away from the shell.

Upon removal of head lining from the shock absorbing polystyrene liner it is plain to see that this hat has been involved in a high impact accident.  The polystyrene liner has been slightly reduced in thickness at the front right temple area, but more significant damage to the liner has occurred 50mm above this where it has been crushed between your head and the shell having made contact with a firm surface, there is a crack in the polystyrene approximately 70mm long.  (See Photographs).

Once again thank you for returning your hat for inspection we hope you are making a fast recovery and will be back in the saddle shortly.

Best regards

Tony Palkowski

Technical Eng.

Champion Manufacturing (SH) Ltd


What this inspection once again goes to show is that even if there is little outward sign of damage, your helmet should always be replaced if it has been involved in a fall. Pippa’s Champion Ventair did its job well, absorbed a considerable impact and helped protect her from more extensive injuries.

Always be safe rather than sorry – if in doubt, replace your helmet!

Riding hat standard withdrawal – what you need to know


You may have heard that the popular BSEN 1384 riding hat standard has been withdrawn by the governing body in charge of standard regulation. A number of our Champion hats are certified to this standard so we wanted to give you the low down to make it easy for you to understand the implications of this change.


First and foremost, it’s important to know that if you have a hat certified to BSEN 1384, it is still safe and will continue to offer you the same excellent protection it has given you since purchase, for much time to come. You can still wear hats to this standard in competition for the whole of 2015 and out of competition for as long as your hat remains in good condition


Safety standards, including BSEN 1384, are typically revised every 5 years, but not every revision results in significant changes. The review process for BSEN 1384 was underway for some years, but a deemed lack of progress towards consensus on whether the standard should be changed has led to the unfortunate situation where the standard has been withdrawn completely instead. We at Champion are dismayed that this has happened in this manner because we know for a fact that BSEN 1384 hats offer excellent protection and have lessened injuries and saved countless lives over many years. But unfortunately this was out of our control.


From the end of 2014 we will stop manufacturing hats to BSEN 1384.  A new standard is being drawn up to replace BSEN 1384 and once it is published we will recertify all our hats and helmets to this new standard. We have been manufacturing PAS 015 hats for over 20 years and will continue to manufacture our extensive range of PAS 015 hats and helmets as these are totally unaffected by this change. Your local wholesaler and retailer will still have stock of BSEN 1384 and these are perfectly good and safe to buy, as they always have been, as the withdrawal of the standard does not affect riding hats already available in the marketplace. It’s simply the case that manufacturers can no longer manufacture hats that are only BSEN 1384 from 2015, however wholesalers and retailers can continue to sell BSEN 1384 hats indefinitely and you can continue to enjoy the excellent comfort and protection they offer.

What it means for you:

Leisure riders

  • If you do not compete under affiliated rules, you will not be affected by this change.
  • Your BSEN 1384 riding hat is still safe and will continue to offer you many, many riding hours of comfort and safety.
  • You can continue to buy BSEN 1384 hats for as long as your local retailer has them in stock, as they can be worn indefinitely.

Competition riders

  • As far as the information that has been made available to us, governing bodies such as British Showjumping and British Eventing are allowing riders to continue to compete in BSEN 1384 hats for the whole of 2015. This means that if you ride in affiliated competition and your hat is certified to BSEN 1384, you can continue to compete in this riding hat until 2016. We do recommend you confirm this with the governing body under whose rules you compete.
  • If you own a BSEN 1384 hat, you can continue to wear and enjoy the comfort and protection offered by your BSEN 1384 riding hat out of competition while schooling, hacking and training indefinitely.
  • We recommend that if you are buying a new hat, buy one to PAS 015 standard as these hats are unaffected by this rule change and you can wear this in competition going forwards into 2016.

If you have any questions or concerns on this issue, we’re here to help. Please contact us on 0113 270 7000 or via email

Is your riding hat still safe?

A crucial question that you should always have in the back of your mind is ‘does my hat still provide me with maximum protection?’ If you have ever had a fall during which your riding hat sustained an impact the answer to this question is probably no and so your hat should be replaced.

The reason for this is simple. The design of riding hats is such that they absorb the impact of blow before it gets to your head. But what this means is that if you have a fall in which your hat sustained an impact, it’s already done its protective job. The hat may look fine on the outside, but the internal polystyrene shock absorbent liner may have been damaged and will not be able to provide the same level of protection in the future. Therefore, if your hat has suffered a severe impact, even if this is having been dropped off the top tack room shelf, your hat should be thrown away and replaced, even if there is no outward sign of damage.

It’s also important for riders to remember that riding hats should also be replaced every 3 – 5 years as the protective materials they contain will gradually deteriorate with exposure to heat and repeated use. After a long time of use on a warm, sweaty head or body, storage in a warm tackroom and exposure to sun, your riding hat will not offer you the same level of protection. We strongly advise riders to replace their hats every 3-5 years and ALWAYS after a fall in which the head may have suffered an impact. After all, it’s easy to replace your hat and there should be no compromise where your safety is concerned.