Major equestrian safety helmet manufacturers and retailers are flocking to join an initiative next month to provide riders with discounted headgear.
The fifth Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness day is on July 12, and retailers around the world have until July 4 to join up.
An increasing number of top-level riders who have earned the “right” to wear a top hat in dressage competitions are going back to using safety helmets. One of those is promising young New Zealand eventer Lizzie Brown, who is now based in Britain.
Brown, who was part of the winning Kiwi team at the CIC3* Houghton Hall Nations Cup event, and who in 2013 won the CCI3* at Boekelo and two-star events and Blair Castle and Brightling Park, is one.
She said she started to wear a helmet for comfort reasons. “My Samsheild is so much comfier than my top hat. I didn’t initially like the ‘look’ but now I think top hats look old-fashioned and that times have changed. More and more riders wear them and in England on a cold day when my horses are feeling sharp I can’t imagine how I used to wear a top hat! Safety first!”
Last year, more than 700 equestrian retailers in the USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and New Zealand, were involved in the Riders4Helmets intitiative, along with 16 helmet manufacturers. More are expected this year.
The awareness day gives both manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to educate equestrians on the benefits of wearing a helmet.
Registered retailers receive a discount on helmet orders placed with participating manufacturers.
Riders4Helmets was founded in early 2010 after Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye was seriously injured in a riding accident. King-Dye, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and continues to undergo rehabilitation.
The goal of the Riders4Helmets Campaign is to educate equestrians on the benefits of wearing a properly fitted and secured, certified helmet.