British Dressage mulls safety helmet rule

April 15, 2011

British Dressage is asking its members whether safety helmets should be worn by all competitors in the sport.

The move follows recent rule changes in the US and Canada relating to the wearing of safety helmets.

British Dressage officials said they welcomed feedback and suggestions from those involved in the sport so that these can be reviewed before any decisions are made at the Rules and Fixtures Committee meeting in July 2011.

"There has been much publicity surrounding the decision of the USEF and Dressage Canada to mandate the wearing of safety hats for all competitors on show grounds and if they are competing at the equivalent of Advanced Medium and below," BD said.

Among the options being considered are:

  1. Mandate safety hats at all times for everyone riding at a BD affiliated show, whether competing or not, with a permitted exception for those who compete at Advanced or higher, who may wear top hats for the competition phase only.

  2. Mandate safety hats at all times for those competing at Advanced Medium and below with Advanced+ riders permitted to wear hats of their choice for both working in and competition.

  3. Mandate safety hats only for riders competing in Young Horse classes which, by their nature, are likely to have a higher risk.

  4. Mandate safety hats for younger riders competing in classes restricted to that specific age group. Note. It is not possible to mandate a hat rule for a specific age group in mixed competition where younger riders compete alongside adults.

  5. Continue to leave the decision as the responsibility of the rider and review when the FEI make a change to their rules.