This proposal was first put forward by Horse Sport Ireland at the 2009 General Assembly in Copenhagen. At that time it was supported by the European Countries in Groups I and II but was referred for further discussion in the subsequent meetings between Groups I and II with the FEI President Princess Haya.
It has always been compulsory to wear hats in the ring but riders and grooms were allowed to ride on the show grounds without headgear. The new rule in Article 140 of the FEI General regulations states that:
"Beginning 1 January 2013, while riding on the show grounds the use of properly fastened Protective Headgear will be mandatory. In the competition arena venue and adjacent warm-up areas, as well as riding from one to the other and from the stables for the purposes of competing, the protective Headgear requirements are governed by the applicable Sport Rules. The use of cameras on athletes or equipment (such as on Protective Headgear, head covering or carriage) shall not be permitted, unless otherwise specifically agreed by the FEI. An athlete's decision to wear a camera while competing shall always be voluntary and at the athlete's own risk".Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Joe Walsh welcomed the ruling which he said would ensure that a good example was set by international riders.
"Every year after the RDS (Royal Dublin SHow) we received complaints from members of the public who felt that seeing top riders mounted without helmets set a very bad example to young people. It is important that this issue was dealt with as safety must be the priority in our sport," he said.