for the love of hats

In the spotlight

I’m a lover, collector, wearer and admirer of hats. As a resident of our sun-burnt country it would be foolish not to don a hat when outside and with a fetish for all things with a brim my collection spans from many years. My husband and I have a wall in our house dedicated to hats; some are ripped, others mis-shapen or split, however we can’t bare parting with them as each and every one of them tell a story. 

With that in mind, I thought I would share some hat advice for those  planning their next horse riding safari/holiday.

Some factors to consider:

  • does it stay on your head at a gallop?
  • protect you from the sun?
  • easy to travel with?
N.B I recommend all my GT clients to ride in hard helmets but if they still choose to ride in a hat than heed this advice. 

I’ve road-tested my fair share of hats and I find these are the best for sun protection and will stay on your melon at a gallop or during a wild storm.

A lot of GT clients and friends are now floating around the globe with these hats perched on their head. Akubra, is an Australian rabbit-felt hat that has grown up with Australia and is synonymous with Vegemite and R.M Williams boots. The size of your hat has to be chosen carefully to make sure its a snug-fit, once fitted correctly it won’t blow off.
My Akubra has travelled to Mongolia, Brazil, Namibia and China, its has the sweat of my brow from a heart-in-your-mouth gallop after hyena, the smoky whispers of camp fires and has been taken off me by curious street kids and toothy-grinning Masai. I couldn’t bare part with. The only draw-back for some is you can’t squish it into your luggage to be pulled out at your destination. Steven and I trudge through the airports with our Akubra’s on.

 Argentinean Boiner
I discovered these traditional hats of the campo when I lived and worked on a remote estancia in Patagonia in 2005. They’re often confused with the French beret and look a lot like them. I own three boiner’s and are the best riding hats for a range of conditions and scenarios. A lot of gauchos will have two types of boiner’s; a winter  boiner made from pure wool and a summer boiner made from a lightweight cotton thread. My favourite brand is the Tolosa and is available at Arandu.
I’m curious to know what is your favourite sombrero for riding in? 
Side note: There is an unspoken rule that if your hat falls off while riding, heaven forbid it happens when confronting a buffalo herd, then you owe a carton of beer to your riding group as an apology for the inconvenience. 

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