Dressage’s new headgear rules have been under scrutiny during the first meeting of the FEI Board ahead of the weekend’s online General Assembly.
Two petitions regarding a rule voted in at the 2019 FEI General Assembly, requiring dressage riders to wear protective headgear at all times at FEI events as of January 1, 2021, have been sent to the FEI. One of the petitions, from the members of the International Dressage Riders’ Club (IDRC), requests to maintain the option to use top hats in senior international competitions. It urged the FEI to table the topic for discussion at this year’s General Assembly.
The other petition is from a group of physicians, calling for the rule to be implemented as planned at the start of 2021.
The FEI said it had also received unsolicited support for the Protective Headgear Rule from several other equestrian athletes.
After discussing the issue, the FEI Board voted unanimously to maintain implementation on January 1, 2021. Its support for the rule was based on safety grounds and the fact that a full consultation process had been conducted before the vote at the 2019 General Assembly. It said that there was “a clear and transparent process for Rules revision”.
“As the FEI did not receive any request for change during the lengthy 2020 rules consultation process, neither from the IDRC nor National Federations, the item has not been included on the FEI General Assembly 2020 agenda for a vote.”