Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Helmet Rules

In case you have not heard, there are a lot of new helmet rules in dressage and eventing. Without getting into all of the details, the rules basically state that if you are at a USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) rated show, you must wear a helmet.

A few exceptions are made to these rules. Grand Prix riders can still wear a top hat if they want, but for the most part, everyone is required to wear a helmet when mounted.

I think this is a really good rule. In light of the accident Courtney King-Dye had that has sidelined her dressage career, we all need to be more safety conscience. In the last year since Courtney's accident, two other dressage superstars had bad falls. Both were saved from more serious injury (although a broken hip is pretty serious) because they were wearing helmets in honor of Courtney.

I haven't always worn a helmet. For years I didn't wear one. I started wearing one more regularly when I kept John at a barn that had a helmet rule. But I didn't wear one at my parents barn. Then I started giving lessons and wanted to set a good example for the kids, so I wore a helmet more often at my parents. I stopped giving lessons a couple of years ago, but I still wear a helmet.

My biggest issue with helmets is that I have an odd shaped head (at least I think I do) so finding one that I don't look like a bobblehead in is difficult. I bought one of the IRH helmets three years ago. Its a great helmet (I'm wearing it in the pictures on the blog) but I look like a bobblehead. I bought myself a Tipperary for Christmas, thinking I would be less of a bobblehead, but so far I am not impressed with how that one fits either. I look like a bit less of a bobblehead, but I think I'm going to have a headache after 25 miles on the trail. So maybe one of my goals for this year is to find a helmet that I can wear and be happy in, so that I don't feel like I have a lot of extra weight on my head but I do feel safe.


  1. Actually, I had not heard that they changed the rules for dressage riders; it's been a long time coming. It'll be interesting to see if anything happens with the western riders now (although I doubt it).
    Oh, and is there anyone that doesn't look like a bobblehead in a helmet?? If there is, it certainly isn't me ;o)

  2. Haha, I am not sure if anyone doesn't look like a bobblehead. Maybe it is my mentality that needs to change!

    I would like to see the western riders wear helmets too, but I think it needs to come from the top. USEF changing the rule made it happen for dressage and eventing - maybe they will do the same for reiners?

  3. I remember seeing a cowboy hat that was actually a helmet; although I don't remember where. I will be amazed, however, if anyone can actually pull it off. Between those hefty male egos and glittering female vanities I just don't see it happening (guess we'll hafta see, won't we? ;o)

  4. Hey Jen - I totally agree that it will be a work in progress. I think if USEF can convince all dressage riders to wear helmets that reiners will be the only riders at World Equestrian Games not wearing helmets. Plus reining is being introduced at the Rolex Kentucky in April. If they can start pressuring them, it might bring about a slow change. But I'm thinking years here, not months! The American Morgan Horse Association wants USEF to make a rule that all leadline and walk trot riders need to wear helmets. It will be interesting to watch everything unfold for sure!