This article on helmet tagging was published on the 5th of July 2023 by Equestrian Sports New Zealand and answers a range of frequently asked questions.
All competing riders will need to make sure their helmet is yellow tagged as meeting the Quality Mark safety criteria, in order to be eligible for all ESNZ events and activities from 1 August 2023.
We have compiled a few common FAQs to answer any questions you may have in regards to helmet tagging.
What is the main difference from red taggable to yellow taggable helmets?
The red tags, which were first introduced in 2017, were able to be put on helmets bearing only the VG1 standard, which was an interim standard, and as a stand alone standard was commonly used by helmet manufacturers.
However, they did not carry a Quality Mark.
To be eligible for helmet tagging with a yellow tag, helmets must also carry a Quality Mark as well as one of the approved standards.
What is a Quality Mark?
A Quality Mark means the helmets are part of a continuous testing programme to ensure they are being manufactured to the correct standard. Initial safety testing is conducted to ensure that helmets meet one or more international equestrian safety standards.
All of the certification standards require approved helmets to pass an initial design test.
How can I tell if a helmet has a Quality Mark or not?
The currently accepted quality marks for our helmets are:
The BSI Kitemark (PAS015 and VG1) checks one of every 200 helmets from a batch of 800 to 3,200 before they will issue an approval label. If the helmets do not pass the standard, then the entire batch must be destroyed.
The ASTM SEI (Safety Equipment Institute, based outside Washington, DC) will test a batch every 12 months to ensure quality.
The SNELL E2016 is a more ‘extreme’ standard for riders looking for the upmost protection. The key differences in testing that sets SNELL apart include a higher drop onto a flat surface, a drop onto a metal ball instead of a sharp metal edge, and a measure of crush resistance that uses greater force.
Quality Marks will be found in the lining of your helmet, usually alongside the Standard and are compliant for helmet tagging.
What marks are not counted as Quality Marks?
The CE mark (the European safety certification scheme) – which is NOT a Quality Mark – does not require any further testing after initial approval unless the helmet is modified from its original design.
Likewise, TUV Rheinland is similar to the CE mark and ensures that a product, service, or process has been tested for safety and that it complies with the requirements of national, regional, and international regulations.
However, it is also NOT a Quality Mark so will not be included in the helmet tagging requirements for a yellow tag.
Also see the chart on our website: https://www.nzequestrian.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/24621-ESNZ-Pony-Club-Helmet-Tagging-Card.pdf
Why can’t my helmet get a yellow tag when it looks the same as the new one that can?
We are hearing comments that there is no change from some helmets, just an update/change in safety standard to comply – but we can assure you that helmets now carrying a Quality Mark have undergone batch testing which they were not subject to prior.
Therefore, in theory they are much safer.
How long will the yellow tags be used?
Good question, as nobody wants to spend money on helmets they can’t compete in longer term. So, ESNZ, together with NZPCA, have no immediate plans to update the helmet standards in the foreseeable future.
We are expecting a new EN1384 standard to be republished but this could be some time off and likely to fit within the yellow tagging system we have outlined above, provided it has a Quality Mark as well.
Who is available for helmet tagging?
ESNZ has a list of approved helmet taggers (on this page) – https://www.nzequestrian.org.nz/esnz-helmet-taggers/
Feel free to email someone in your area to arrange a time to have your helmet tagged – there should be no charge for this. Alternatively, some of our approved taggers will be setting up tagging sessions in saddleries, so keep an eye out for this service.
We do not permit helmets to be tagged prior to being sold (i.e. while on the shelf). ESNZ will also have taggers at our Events, so if you are unsure, contact the OC and make sure you set aside some time for this before your competition start time.
Zephania (owner of Oakridge Equestrian) is a Pony Club head instructor and available for helmet tagging.
If you need to update your current helmet, you can find a range of Kask helmets that are compliant with the new helmet tagging regulations here.