Monday, 25 January 2010

All Around My Hat

To allay the curiousity of several people who have queried the exotic oriental headgear I appear to be wearing while riding through China - it is actually a very nifty Pommie/Oz combination of my Charles Owen Pro II riding helmet with a Cutana helmet brim.

The Charles Owen helmet(made in Wales!) has been quite literally a life saver. I am convinced my fall in May 2009 could have been fatal without it, when you consider the severe body damage that I incurred, and that I also fell on my head. But all I suffered headwise was a very slight tender patch. Apart from being to the highest safety specifications, its distinctive gold crown is heat reflective, a boon in the hot summer months. I also found it comfortable as it is well padded, and I particularly like the soft leather chin strap.

The Cutana brim really is a 'wizard of Oz', fitting snugly on the helmet, and proving highly effective against sun burn and sun glare. My cousin Rowena who accompanied me on the first three weeks of the ride in October 2008, did not have a brim to her hat and suffered from sunburn even then. The brim also protected my face from rain - as I wear glasses, this was quite an important factor for me. It attaches with velcro tabs, so is easily detachable, and the company can also supply a hat band to cover the tabs. I could not manage without this product, and highly recommend it.

While I am on the subject, I will have a little preach about a personal hobby horse of mine. My accident really brought home to me the importance of wearing a good quality riding hat at all times when riding - although Zorbee is a livewire, accidents are possible with even the quietest of horses.

When I have quizzed people who rashly forego wearing a riding helmet on horseback, it is almost without exception a case of personal vanity and a " but I look silly in one" argument. This is in spite of the fact that they will look far sillier in hospital with brain damage after falling from their horse.

Take it straight from the horse's mouth (!) I undoubtedly escaped serious if not fatal injury by wearing my riding helmet on the day of my accident. If you are horseriding, don't be an idiot - make sure you wear a good crash helmet.

If you are looking for a good quality helmet, you can't go far wrong with a Charles Owen. They may not be the cheapest on the market, but their manufacturing safety standards are second to none. You pay for what you get, and when one's life is at stake, safety should come before price.

And on a lighter note, here is a rendering of 'Where did you get that hat' by the Cutana Helmet Company!

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