Focus on rider head protection at symposium

Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro are ranked 18th after the opening day of Dressage competition on August 2 at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Canadian dressage rider Jacqueline Brooks, riding D Niro at London 2012, made history by being the first in the discipline to wear a hard hat during competition at an Olympic Games. © Cealy Tetley,

Rider safety will be in the spotlight next month at the Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

The symposium, sponsored by Tipperary, Charles Owen, Troxel, GPA, One K, Ovation and High Visibility USA, is bringing together representatives from various corners of the equestrian world to discuss the importance of wearing helmets, rider safety and education, and to improve helmet designs and more.

The event will provide a series of short lectures and panel discussions throughout the day. Many in attendance will also sit on the panels, including equestrians, helmet manufacturers, equestrian organizations, and neurosurgeons. The chair of the meeting will be Lyndsey White of Riders4Helmets.

“We are very excited to be hosting the 4th Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium and to see it continue to expand not only into other equestrian disciplines but all aspects of equestrian safety,” White said.

“The symposia are a fantastic opportunity to bring together many individuals, organizations and associations all in one place, to continue important discussions regarding equestrian safety.”

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.

Speakers at the February 2 event include champion barrel racer Megan Sparks, Olympian Courtney King-Dye (via video) and Darren Chiacchia, national champion cowgirl Tammy Sronce, champion reiner Lyndsey Jordan, and equestrian mental skills coach Tonya Johnston. A neurosurgeon will also join the lineup.

The Craig Ferrell M.D Equestrian Safety Awards, named after former USET Physician and Chair of the FEI Medical Council Craig Ferrell, will be presented at the symposium. Mrs. Lorraine Ferrell will be in attendance to observe the recognition of individuals who have been nominated by equestrians, as being exceptional role models for helmet wearing, or equestrian safety.

White said an international equestrian safety summit, to be held in Britain, was being planned for later this year.


Attendance to the symposium is open to the public, but individuals must pre-register in advance to avoid the $10 on the day entrance fee. To pre-register, go to

Symposium topics will include:

•    Traumatic Brain Injuries and Concussions: The Latest Research, Long Term Effects and Revolutionary Technologies
•    Helmets in the Western World
•    Educating Our Youth
•    Helmets On The Trail
•    In Memoriam: Cheryl Strong-Camilleri
•    Gaining Acceptance In The Equestrian Community For Helmet Use
•    We Are All Role Models: Setting An Example
•    Safety Incentives: Thinking Outside The Box To Get Helmets Introduced Into Non-Helmet Wearing Disciplines
•    Helmets And The Breed Organizations
•    Current Helmet Rules: Clarification Across The Disciplines
•    Riders4Helmets: Three-Years On


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