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View Full Version : No Helmets in the Upper-Level Dressage Phase of Eventing



Neets
Jan. 9, 2010, 01:26 AM
This is just something I've been very curious about for a long time. I personally choose to wear a helmet every time, every ride, but I don't ever preach to people about how they should wear a helmet and I don't push my beliefs on people who choose to not wear one. I believe that everyone has the choice to wear (or not wear) whatever they like on their head.

I know, though, that there has to be at least one upper-level eventer (I mostly mean Advanced level riders) that shares my mentality that helmets are a daily necessity. My question is, why is there not one Advanced rider that chooses to wear a helmet in the dressage phase?

I understand that wearing a top hat and tails is an honor, and I could understand the argument that it shows respect to the judge. But is there really not one rider out there who feels that they can put their own safety above that and wear one during their test, if they do every single ride at home and believe that they're necessary? I just find it incredible to believe that a true helmet "Nazi" could find it acceptable to forgo the use of a helmet for just one ride every month or so.

The first thing I did was look up the rules for dress during dressage; I thought it might be compulsory to wear the tails and top hat at Intermediate and above. It's not. EV114, Section 5b, says that protective headgear may be worn even at those levels. Obviously, there would be a lot of talk if someone like Karen O'Connor or Phillip Dutton showed up wearing a helmet in the dressage phase, but they wouldn't be eliminated.

Sure, the likelihood of one of these great riders falling off their horse, even if the horse spooks, is probably slim. Still, there are always freak accidents and anyone who really wanted to wear a helmet should! Is it simply because their would be many people who might look down on them for not wearing the traditional dress that they don't? Would that kind of choice reflect negatively on their dressage scores?

I would love to be corrected and have someone show me an Advanced level rider wearing one in their test, or hear from a rider who wears a helmet 100% of the time at home who neglects to wear one during the dressage phase. It would also be interesting to hear from the lower-level eventers who wear a cap during dressage instead of a helmet.

Thanks for humoring me :)

RiverBendPol
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:09 AM
Heh. I have had the same thoughts. I am a devoted helmet-wearer, and have worn my crash-hat for every dressage ride from BN through I for 23 years. However, I did find myself at my last CCI* (full format) wearing my top hat. I was more nervous about my head-wear than any other aspect of the event! I did get through the test without getting a concussion but it really did make me fretful. I don't know the answer. I would hope that by the time we're competing at the upper levels that the beasts under us will behave for the hour that we're in a felt and cardboard hat but there is no telling what might happen. An unexpected flip-out is ALWAYS possible!

KMErickson
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:45 AM
I ride with Gina Miles and while she does wear a hunt cap/top hat for actual competition she wears an ASTM approved helmet for absolutely every other ride. It was a truly refreshing change from some other professionals I have worked for, who have told me point blank that they "have become good enough riders to not need a helmet" ... even over fences on rank young horses.

And Polly I remember the exact same feeling!! The very first time I wore a top hat I had NEVER been on a horse without approved head gear in my life. I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke (and it didn't help that the d*** thing was borrowed from Suzi so of course it didn't fit at all and kept blowing off in warmup!).

smokescreen
Jan. 9, 2010, 09:00 AM
I am not a helmet natzi, but I do wear a helmet at home, mostly because I ride alone on green beans. I wear my hunt cap in my dressage no matter what level I ride or how green my horse is. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. Maybe because when I started riding all we had were hunt caps. I remember my mother getting after me for wearing my cap to school in, she didn't want it to get dirty, lol, how thing have changed. Upper level dressage riders don't wear a helmet when they show either, and "classic" in the HJ world wears a top hat over fences, as does most if not all side saddle OF and flat classes.

Bobthehorse
Jan. 9, 2010, 09:15 AM
^ classics in the Hunter world does not mean a top hat over fences. They wear tails with a real helmet. At least Ive never seen one in a top hat.

Firefox
Jan. 9, 2010, 09:27 AM
Ever since college when I had two friends get seriously injured due to hunt caps not doing thier job I have worn approved helmets. I have played with wearing just a cap for dressage and wasnt comfortable in it and decided that it was too much trouble to pack 3 helmets for a competition :) At the CCI* last spring I worn a dressage coat and a ASTM black helmet, the pictures look great I think :) Doubt I will ever go above the prem level.

Irishrose261
Jan. 9, 2010, 10:14 AM
^ classics in the Hunter world does not mean a top hat over fences. They wear tails with a real helmet. At least Ive never seen one in a top hat.

Only because of the 'new' helmet rule. Before that passed (2007? 2008? I dunno, I'm too poor to horse show), everyone wore top hats with their shads over fences in classics.

RAyers
Jan. 9, 2010, 10:46 AM
Sadly, I was told by my trainers (both dressage - USEF "S" judge - and eventing - rode Rolex and was selected for the Olympic team) that if I wanted to play at that level, I needed to look the part. No, helmet during the competition for the reasons you present. It is a hard ingrained tradition that hopefully will change. In the meantime, I feel that I have to play the game as established or be indirectly penalized. Hence why I wear a hunt cap in dressage and not a helmet as well at the lower levels.

And yes, I wear one 100% of the time at home. But for me I think I have a different background. I grew up in a time of NO real hard hats (plastic shells with a bit of foam and no chin strap). We jumped out in our XC field all the time without a helmet. It wasn't until I was in my late 30s that I started to wear a helmet always when mounted. Now, I do feel "naked" without it on, even while hacking.

I think Nina Fout rode with a helmet during the Olympics or Pan Am games?

Reed

Beam Me Up
Jan. 9, 2010, 11:08 AM
In the meantime, I feel that I have to play the game as established or be indirectly penalized. Hence why I wear a hunt cap in dressage and not a helmet as well at the lower levels.

Are you saying that dressage judges (indirectly, subconsciously, of course) penalize for helmets at lower levels?

I'm not suggesting they don't--I'm really curious.

RiverBendPol
Jan. 9, 2010, 11:20 AM
Are you saying that dressage judges (indirectly, subconsciously, of course) penalize for helmets at lower levels? .......


Hey! Maybe that's why I get crummy dressage scores!!!!!!!:lol::lol:

My horses can be quite naughty, in the ring and out. I will never get on a horse without a helmet, chin strap done up. Except when I'm wearing a shadbelly! I grew up in the day when we wore a hunt cap to show, nothing the rest of the time. The only reason I started wearing a helmet was when my best friend gave me her 3 year old TB homebred she looked me in the eye as she handed me the lead shank and said, "If I ever hear of you getting on this horse without a helmet on your head, with the chinstrap done up, I will take him right out from under you and that will be the end of it."
That was in 1989. She agreed to the top hat when we were going Intermediate or FEI, but any other time I had to be in the real thing.

deltawave
Jan. 9, 2010, 11:20 AM
I will never, ever ride at the upper levels, but if I did I would GO OUT OF MY WAY to be seen riding in my big old musroom-head helmet, tails or no tails. I would consider THAT an honor, to show the world that yes I do consider my brain more important than my "look".

I am also past the point of preaching to someone else what they ought to do with the contents of their skull. But I would think 1000x MORE of someone who had the intestinal fortitude to strap on their helmet for dressage, no matter what the venue.

RAyers
Jan. 9, 2010, 11:26 AM
Are you saying that dressage judges (indirectly, subconsciously, of course) penalize for helmets at lower levels?

I'm not suggesting they don't--I'm really curious.

I have no idea at the lower levels.

I am only speaking for my experience at the UPPER levels. The judges pool etc. is so small that regardless of where you are, you find that you ride for the same person consistently. They get to know you as a rider and if they have the wrong initial perception then you have a problem. Just like a professional interview, you only have a few seconds to make the correct impression.

I find that judges who know me outside the ring tend to give me better scores, consciously or not.

Reed

RunForIt
Jan. 9, 2010, 11:53 AM
I will never, ever ride at the upper levels, but if I did I would GO OUT OF MY WAY to be seen riding in my big old musroom-head helmet, tails or no tails. I would consider THAT an honor, to show the world that yes I do consider my brain more important than my "look".

I am also past the point of preaching to someone else what they ought to do with the contents of their skull. But I would think 1000x MORE of someone who had the intestinal fortitude to strap on their helmet for dressage, no matter what the venue.

I have absolutely NO DOUBT what the outcome of my injuries would have been when I got tossed 2 weeks ago as I landed head first...no helmet, there would not be a Lynda here typing... I for one, am happy I was on COTH back in the day when your signature line was a daily reminder ...many thanks! :cool:

Neets
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:26 PM
Thanks everyone, the replies have been enlightening! :)


However, I did find myself at my last CCI* (full format) wearing my top hat. I was more nervous about my head-wear than any other aspect of the event! I did get through the test without getting a concussion but it really did make me fretful.

Do you think you'll wear one next time, just so you aren't as nervous?



I am also past the point of preaching to someone else what they ought to do with the contents of their skull. But I would think 1000x MORE of someone who had the intestinal fortitude to strap on their helmet for dressage, no matter what the venue.

I agree completely, deltawave. I've got to say, what I've been hearing about Gina Miles lately has made her one of my favorite UL riders.


They get to know you as a rider and if they have the wrong initial perception then you have a problem. Just like a professional interview, you only have a few seconds to make the correct impression.

So a smiling, friendly rider with a helmet that presents themselves and their horse immaculately, precisely on time, rides a beautiful test, and does a nice salute at the end and thanks the judge for their time (not sure if that last part is possible at the UL) ... this rider would likely make a worse impression than one wearing tails and a top hat?

RunForIt, I'm glad you're alright! :)

S A McKee
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:31 PM
Only because of the 'new' helmet rule. Before that passed (2007? 2008? I dunno, I'm too poor to horse show), everyone wore top hats with their shads over fences in classics.

The rule requiring all mounted exhibitors to wear ASTM approved helmets passed in 2005. This means that even when not in a class an approved helmet must be worn on the show grounds.
Prior to 2005 the rule required protective headgear in any jumping class or when jumping on the competition grounds but the rule book still mentioned top hats or silk hats in the hunter classic section. But the Hunter Classic section also mentioned that protective helemts could be worn without penalty.

In 2007 vests were added to the rule to indicate there was no penalty for wearing one.

For Junior riders the ASTM approved rule has been in effect for I guess decades.

RAyers
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:51 PM
...
So a smiling, friendly rider with a helmet that presents themselves and their horse immaculately, precisely on time, rides a beautiful test, and does a nice salute at the end and thanks the judge for their time (not sure if that last part is possible at the UL) ... this rider would likely make a worse impression than one wearing tails and a top hat?...


You are adding more constraints than your original post. What I am saying is that if you take the same horse and rider at a level and had one in a shad and top hat and another in a helmet, the judge's perception, regardless of knowledge, will most likely go to the most complete classic picture. That means that those of us who are at the bottom of the upper levels have to go beyond what you list in order to be competitive against preconception.

You asked for experiences and I am giving you mine. I am not saying it is good/bad/indifferent. I am saying that this is what I went/go through. I am answering your original question directly. I wear a helmet every day, every ride, right up to the moment I get on to ride my dressage test in competition (at the upper levels). At the lower levels I wear my helmet or hunt cap. You wanted to know why we do this.

I absolutely agree with your intent and desire! But you also have to accept that the sport has its own set of unwritten "rules" at the upper levels that we riders sometimes must adhere to if we wish to be competitive.

There are certain battles to fight. In my case I trust my trainers. When they say something I tend to do it. Yes, I will go against them at times (e.g. veterinary care, some training techniques) but in this case it is not a battle worth fighting as they both have done dressage at the top FEI levels. They know the game. I don't.

Reed

JFS
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:58 PM
Ok guys, I remember going cross country with a flimsy hunt cap and an elastic chip strap, but today I always wear a helmet. A few years back I asked myself if I whore a helmet everyday why didn't I use one for dressage? So I bought a nice velvet Charles Owens and have been wearing one in dressage ever since and so have my kids.

I'm also a "R" evening judge and I would never hold it against anyone for wearing a helmet in dressage for any level. What I find much more annoying is someone who borrows a top hat that doesn't quite fit and the rider spends more time trying to push the hat down hard enough so that it will stay in place. In many cases the hat eventually falls off, bumps the horse in the rump and lands in a place that the horse spooks at it every time it passes it :)

Between you and me I have had my worse falls riding on the flat and most of those have been when relaxing on a loose rein :)

Jackie

Neets
Jan. 9, 2010, 12:59 PM
Thank you, Reed. Sorry if I seemed a bit argumentative. I appreciate your insight!

retreadeventer
Jan. 9, 2010, 01:19 PM
By "helmet" I am assuming everyone is meaning ASTM approved helmet with chinstrap fastened.
Because the hunt cap type helmet is actually, still, a helmet. Not approved and no chinstrap but technically a riding helmet.
Here's the deal:
I don't think it is fair to castigate upper levels for dressing properly and following the rules as they are written for attire at their levels. Dressage is not the whole of our sport, but it is a starting point for scoring, and it's important after you have worked for YEARS to get to the upper levels on a special, highly trained and loved animal, that you look as though you are proud and beautiful and belong there. Looking beautiful and riding a fit, sound, gorgeous animal dressed to the teeth is a wonderful thing to be able to do. I wouldn't begrudge any rider that picture. And I don't think that is a wrong message to send at those levels. (I am seeing Fair Hill International, etc. in my mind's eye here).

BUT.....
this is important....did you know that JUNIORS can ride in a hunt cap (non ASTM helmet) or derby or top hat in dressage at any time? Yes, it's true -- juniors are not required to wear ASTM helmets in recognized dressage shows. A fact I find horrifying. So it is hard for me personally to fault an upper level rider who wears one for all other phases, and knows the value of one, but not trainers or parents of junior riders who do not have to even wear them by the rules in recognized dressage shows. Begs question: why isn't there a rule for ASTM helmets for juniors in dressage? (Not even in eventing dressage by the way.)

jn4jenny
Jan. 9, 2010, 02:01 PM
I think Reed has very eloquently answered the question of "why", and the answer is not "because UL eventers don't value safety." But the more pertinent question would be what it would take to change the situation. Not that I would call changing the helmet rule for dressage even CLOSE to the safety priority for eventing today, but if you wanted to brainstorm...

One wonders why there hasn't yet been the creation of a helmet that is in keeping, aesthetically, with the tradition of the top hat. Over in saddleseat land, all it took was the suggestion of a saddleseat rider who had suffered a head injury to the Troxel helmet company, and they responded with this derby-style helmet:
http://www.troxelhelmets.com/products/features.php?ProductID=32

If they can do it with a derby, I can't see why they can't do it with a top hat. Make the harness system out of clear plastic, and voila.

A subtle change in culture might help too. What if some riders chose to do all of their exhibitions and hors concours performances in helmets? If there was enough visibility and enough subtle cultural shift over a period of years, things might change.

carrie_girl
Jan. 9, 2010, 02:45 PM
I have often wondered why they haven't made a top hat helmet too. I didn't know about that derby, but it's really cool. BTW, I am an "every ride, every time" gal myself, even at USDF dressage shows. However, I will never do the upper levels myself.

HelloAgain
Jan. 9, 2010, 03:08 PM
One wonders why there hasn't yet been the creation of a helmet that is in keeping, aesthetically, with the tradition of the top hat. Over in saddleseat land, all it took was the suggestion of a saddleseat rider who had suffered a head injury to the Troxel helmet company, and they responded with this derby-style helmet:
http://www.troxelhelmets.com/products/features.php?ProductID=32

OMG I want one! Of course, I don't ride Saddleseat... it just looks badass. :D

frugalannie
Jan. 9, 2010, 03:25 PM
Hmmm, if that derby-style helmet meets requirements, you could wear it in dressage and show-jumping now I think. Now THAT would make a statement.

Call me silly, but I think that top hat and tails is an anachronistic and distracting outfit for competition. I much prefer the look of a well-cut hunt/ dressage coat to tails flapping about as the horse canters. And so few people are actually complemented by a top hat, even in dressage world.

Not that I'll EVER ride at that level.

retreadeventer
Jan. 9, 2010, 06:16 PM
Hmmm, if that derby-style helmet meets requirements, you could wear it in dressage and show-jumping now I think. Now THAT would make a statement.

Call me silly, but I think that top hat and tails is an anachronistic and distracting outfit for competition. I much prefer the look of a well-cut hunt/ dressage coat to tails flapping about as the horse canters. And so few people are actually complemented by a top hat, even in dressage world.

Not that I'll EVER ride at that level.

Oh, FA, please, don't take away my vision of parading regally down centerline someday, thin, beautiful, (blond - maybe), on my perfectly trained horse in a top hat and tails. I have loved that dream most of my poor, un-financed, non-sponsored life! Even in my hunter equitation career never had chance to wear tails...always regretted it....would love to ....

Bobthehorse
Jan. 9, 2010, 06:48 PM
*cant wait to one day have a snazzy topper and tails outfit*

The derby helmet is cool, but did you see the cowboy hat helmet? Wicked.

Badger
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:06 PM
Here is a prototype of a Top Hat Helmet from Troxel:

http://forum.equisearch.com/forums/t/60522.aspx

I think I'll be sticking with a short coat and a velvet ASTM helmet for a while. This top hat looks like something a pilgram might wear.

Equa
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:38 PM
The sooner we get rid of the archaic top hat and tails look, the better. It is NOT technically a "classic" look - eventing was cavalry...and a top hail and tails are not service dress!

I have ridden in them and have invested in a lovely coat and a proper hat, which fits - so my opinion is not about sour grapes. However I sincerely believe that while the outfit is excellent in creating a homogeneous picture - male/female/old/young/fat/thin - it certainly detracts from the concept of the rider-as-athlete.

Here in Australia, most riders wear their crash helmet in the warmup, and put on the top hat just before going into the ring.

North Dakota
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:46 PM
I wear my helmet when i'm riding at home, but i love wearing my top hat and tails. I know it sounds silly but i love how they look.

deltawave
Jan. 9, 2010, 07:48 PM
parading regally down centerline someday, thin, beautiful, (blond - maybe), on my perfectly trained horse in a top hat and tails It's a great vision, and belongs firmly in the collective imaginations of riders. :) Picturing that same beautiful rider with a feeding tube, a trach, and a diaper after a devastating head injury is not so pretty. :no:

Neets
Jan. 9, 2010, 08:04 PM
BUT.....
this is important....did you know that JUNIORS can ride in a hunt cap (non ASTM helmet) or derby or top hat in dressage at any time? Yes, it's true -- juniors are not required to wear ASTM helmets in recognized dressage shows. A fact I find horrifying. So it is hard for me personally to fault an upper level rider who wears one for all other phases, and knows the value of one, but not trainers or parents of junior riders who do not have to even wear them by the rules in recognized dressage shows. Begs question: why isn't there a rule for ASTM helmets for juniors in dressage? (Not even in eventing dressage by the way.)

I do realize that lots of people wear huntcaps at the lower levels of both dressage and eventing. I was mainly focusing on UL riders because everyone at a certain point starts wearing the top hat and tails; at the lower levels, there's a good mix, although in my area I see more helmets than I do hunt caps.

I'm not sure if I would support a rule requiring juniors to wear the helmets until they turn 18. I definitely think small children, maybe 12 and under, should have to, but older than that, I think you should get to make your own choice, or have your parents make that choice for you.

That derby hat looks fantastic, although the prototype posted for the top hat was a bit... lumpy-looking. I'm sure they can make it look better than that!



The sooner we get rid of the archaic top hat and tails look, the better. It is NOT technically a "classic" look - eventing was cavalry...and a top hail and tails are not service dress!

I never really thought about that! I wonder when this attire became the tradition? I've often wondered why some crazy person decided that breeches for dressage should be white, ha ha! Not exactly flattering and very difficult to keep clean. Ah, well.

retreadeventer
Jan. 9, 2010, 08:43 PM
Actually the top hat and tails - shadbelly - IS classic dress attire for formal presentations, in just about any aspect of sport horse showing (hunters, dressage, saddle seat, fine harness, etc.). Since eventing dressage follows regular dressage rules in most instances the dress for this phase will follow the formal attire rules.

These rules trace back to the organization of the clubs and groups like the one that eventually became the American Horse Shows Association (today the USEF) in the mid 1800's, when animal husbandry, and both work, and sport with horses, was an important part of many American's lives. When they standardized rules they included standardizing attire to make sure that no one had an advantage by dressing in a way to get noticed over another.

That's the reason for the dark conservative colors, light colored breeches, black boots, gloves, etc. Essentially horse sport is conservative in nature, and top hat and tails are formal attire. Formal attire is still worn at social functions.

Sometimes there is a place for tradition, style, and sometimes there is a place for function and current fashion. Dressage is the "show" part of eventing, and that's to me the reason it should be formal and pay some respect to tradition. I like the way that riders have worn it for hundreds of years at the highest levels of competition. That's exciting to me, that we participate in a sport that retains something for over 200 years. I love the way tails look on a horse especially with good rider who rides elegantly and enjoys their ride. I hope they don't make any changes in the attire rules anytime soon, with the exception of the juniors in dressage - I think they should wear ASTM helmets until they age out of juniors. A junior under 18 is a minor and cannot make legal decisions so rules have to refer to minors under 18, not 12 or 16 or some other age. It's by legal age of consent. Hunter riders have to wear them even on the flat.

jn4jenny
Jan. 9, 2010, 09:05 PM
Here is a prototype of a Top Hat Helmet from Troxel:

http://forum.equisearch.com/forums/t/60522.aspx

I think I'll be sticking with a short coat and a velvet ASTM helmet for a while. This top hat looks like something a pilgram might wear.

According to her post, he helmet isn't "from" Troxel. She took an off-the-rack Troxel helmet and had a milliner create the top hat portion. Hence the pilgrim look. :lol:

The Troxel western/cowboy helmet actually looks closer to a Top Hat than the Derby. Just imagine it with a shorter brim and a clear plastic harness:
http://www.dailyequine.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6887

Equa
Jan. 9, 2010, 09:34 PM
Quote: Dressage is the "show" part of eventing, and that's to me the reason it should be formal and pay some respect to tradition.

I disagree. Dressage is not about "show". If it was, why do vastly more people come and watch XC and jumping than the dressage phase? Dressage is about testing the suppleness, obedience and training of the eventing horse, and it's function is also to "seed" the riders before going on to XC.

Respect for tradition can be shown in many, many more worthwhile ways than kowtowing to an anachronistic dress-code.

RunForIt
Jan. 9, 2010, 10:11 PM
It's a great vision, and belongs firmly in the collective imaginations of riders. :) Picturing that same beautiful rider with a feeding tube, a trach, and a diaper after a devastating head injury is not so pretty. :no:

thank you, because I love Miss Holly! :cool:

KMErickson
Jan. 10, 2010, 07:56 AM
It's a great vision, and belongs firmly in the collective imaginations of riders. :) Picturing that same beautiful rider with a feeding tube, a trach, and a diaper after a devastating head injury is not so pretty. :no:

I'm just curious here; what ARE the actual statistics of devastating head injuries occurring during the dressage phase of upper level competition (when top hat and tails are being worn)?

JFS
Jan. 10, 2010, 08:44 AM
Some states require Jrs. to wear ASTM/SEI helmets

Jackie

RiverBendPol
Jan. 10, 2010, 08:59 AM
I ADORE wearing my shadbelly. I have only had the opportunity about 8 times but man o man, I LOVE it. I also love watching people ride in their shadbellies. Elegant. It is too bad about the hat. I think that bucket shown in the link is just about the ugliest thing I've seen offered so far. Do you think it would actually keep the head safe? Yipes.

I guess if I do eventually get my Little Red One to the CCI levels that I'll wear the crash hat for warm up and make a quick switch to top hat for the test. Warm-up is always my most dangerous phase anyway! I will have plenty of time between now and then to ponder the question, however! :winkgrin:

JWB
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:32 AM
Some states require Jrs. to wear ASTM/SEI helmets

Jackie

This was overwhelmingly voted down in FL. It was proposed but did not pass, citing show tradition in western pleasure, saddle seat, etc.

I'm not sure what my opinion is on this as someone who respects tradition but understands the need for safety. I honestly can't understand why we have a law requiring helmets for kids on bicycles but not for kids on horses. I worked at a saddlseat farm for a bit and we required every youth to wear a helmet when they were mounted at the farm but they didn't wear them at shows.

purplnurpl
Jan. 10, 2010, 10:56 AM
I think Nina Fout rode with a helmet during the Olympics or Pan Am games?

Reed

LMAO.
I'd never get on a horse like Beans without a helmet. Good on her!

purplnurpl
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:01 AM
I'm just curious here; what ARE the actual statistics of devastating head injuries occurring during the dressage phase of upper level competition (when top hat and tails are being worn)?

everyone keeps referencing upper level competition.
But remember, we wear the non approved dressage hat at every level.

I ride young horses and I still wear my dressage hat. I remember two years ago, without thinking, I hopped on a flighty youngster and he began bucking in dressage warm up. I then remembered that I always wear my ATSM hat with this guy and thought mid buck, "well Kristen, that was stupid! Use your real helmet for this guy!!"

but most of the time, I have to play the part. I love dressage and I love dressing up. If I have a known silly monster I will use my ATSM hat.

Gryhrs
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:13 AM
Here's my plan for when hell freezes over and I am riding at a level that requires a top hat and tails. I will lie shamelessly and make it discreetly known (but not so discreet that it doesn't somehow get whispered to the dressage judge) that I must wear an approved helmet due to the metal plate in my head. If the judge is superficial enough to mark me down for lack of lemming attire then perhaps on the flip side I will garner a few sympathy points to the upside.

Badger
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:14 AM
Seriously, it has got to be a rare judge that gives a flying fig if a rider comes down center line in a velvet helmet or a velvet hunt cap. I've worn my helmet through fourth level and one star and the comments and scores always reflected my riding and the horse's performance. Period. Now, if I ever reach my goal of psg dressage I would love to wear a hard-earned shadbelly, and I really don't know if I will do so or not because I believe so much in helmets. I will cross that bridge if and when I get there. But I honestly believe it is delusional to think a helmet is going to impare your score and impression with any but a very rare and out-dated judge.

dkcbr
Jan. 10, 2010, 12:01 PM
I am an ASTM-SEI almost every time/every ride type. And I am an old fart who well remembers going fox hunting and doing combined training and jumpers in a useless hunt cap. Or schooling at home in no cap at all.

From a safety standpoint, wearing the non-protective headgear for those limited occasions in the fairly low key and time-limited dressage phase might be a risk-benefit tradeoff worth taking. Depending on my mood and a few other variables, sometimes I'll put on the ASTM for dressage classes and sometimes I'll put on the hunt cap. I don't imagine I'll ever need to decide about the top hat.

I'd hope that there are a miniscule number of judges who would not be able to see past someone's attire to properly score a performance. :no: I wouldn't use that as my criteria for deciding what to wear. I bet it's more inertia, a.k.a. "that's the way I've always done it" more than a conscious and realistic fear that performance would be penalized.

But I, too, am interested in statistical chances of ending up in feeding tube and diapers from an accident occurring in the few minutes that a dressage test takes, on excellent footing, in a relatively low-adrenaline, controlled environment. I'm betting it's way lower than most other somewhat risky things we do in our daily lives.

Beam Me Up
Jan. 10, 2010, 12:40 PM
I do know someone who sustained head injury and was ambulanced off in dressage warm-up (training level). Her horse reared up and went over on her, she was wearing a hunt cap. She recovered fine.

That is the only serious dressage warm-up accident I've witnessed in my career, though, and it was like 15 years ago, so I agree it pales in comparison to x-c.

I suspect that judges do get to know certain combos, especially at the upper levels, and that their knowledge of a pair in general might influence judging of a specific test, up or down. (And that this goes beyond attire--if Kim had ridden in with Dan in a helmet, I doubt anyone would have thought less of the test).

But I do understand that for those of us who are less recognizable and famous, looking the part in terms of turn-out probably does have some small impact. Do you show up looking like a pro, or an ammy?

I've honestly never owned an event horse at any level that I felt comfortable riding without a helmet--show or at home, flat or fences. But that's just me.

Badger
Jan. 10, 2010, 12:53 PM
Well, their is the horse that reared up and fell over dead in the dressage ring at the three day at Maui Jim a couple of years ago: the rider was not hurt but it certainly is proof that anything can happen any time on any horse.

Bobthehorse
Jan. 10, 2010, 01:01 PM
However I sincerely believe that while the outfit is excellent in creating a homogeneous picture - male/female/old/young/fat/thin - it certainly detracts from the concept of the rider-as-athlete.

See this is part of what I love about equestrian sports. Every other Olympic sport has year to year changes in the latest technical outfits, bright coloured spandexy looking stuff mostly. I have such disdain for modern looking clothing. I love my stuff vintage, and thats why I love the formal riding attire. I dont need any fancy technical aerodynamic fabrics to feel like an athlete.

SevenDogs
Jan. 10, 2010, 01:06 PM
I can only speak of the lower levels (both eventing and straight dressage), but I have worn both a hunt cap and approved helmet and don't think my scores have been affected one iota based upon my head gear.

I regularly wore a hunt cap through First Level dressage and during the dressage phase of eventing without much thought. I also rode dressage at home without any helmet during the summer months. Two close calls changed my mind that had very little to do with my very experienced, calm horse. I have worn an approved helmet at home for every single ride for the last ten years but still wore a hunt cap for shows.

Last year, I was attending a recognized dressage show at First Level on a experienced horse who occasionally has a small spook in him. I hadn't shown in awhile and the only approved helmet I owned was a GPA (I still had a beautiful hunt cap). Common sense prevailed and I went out and bought an ASTM velvet helmet, even though I didn't really want the extra expense.

In the warm-up, a person on a bicycle came zooming around a building and through the warm-up right at us, which was on an elevated pad with slopes all around. Horse spooked and ended up down the embankment. Luckily, he regained his composure and balance in time, because we were headed straight towards a truck parked at the bottom. As I was headed for a collision with the truck, I was extremely happy to have a real helmet on my head. No harm to either of us, but I realized that I will never wear a hunt cap again -- just not worth the risk.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 01:14 PM
I certainly cannot give chapter-and-verse statistics on the incidence of head injuries occurring during dressage tests at upper level events.

I'll make a guess, though--RARE. :)

BUT . . .

Most head injuries occurring to riders occur at the walk; I believe that statistic is valid.

AND . . .

It is not JUST a matter of protecting one's head during the six minutes one is in the ring. It is the culture of sloppy permissiveness--that safety is important but only if it doesn't interfere with a good "look"--that I find sad and disturbing. Not saying it's Problem Number One with the sport, but if upper level event riders have the 'nads to gallop to a six-foot-wide table at 570 mpm, wouldn't you think they'd have the 'nads to stick a helmet on, trot proudly down centerline and DEFY a judge to mark them down for being safe?

I know that when that day comes, IF it comes, that rider is going straight to the top of my list of heroes. :yes: And what bugs me the most is that there isn't ONE, not ONE so far who will do so.

I mean, are dressage judges really THAT scary? ;)

dkcbr
Jan. 10, 2010, 02:04 PM
Well, their is the horse that reared up and fell over dead in the dressage ring at the three day at Maui Jim a couple of years ago: the rider was not hurt but it certainly is proof that anything can happen any time on any horse.

Yes, but my belief is that head injuries in the dressage ring are statistically unlikely.

I hope no one interprets my comment(s) as saying this type of injury can't happen. Big difference there. :yes:

Neets
Jan. 10, 2010, 02:10 PM
It is not JUST a matter of protecting one's head during the six minutes one is in the ring. It is the culture of sloppy permissiveness--that safety is important but only if it doesn't interfere with a good "look"--that I find sad and disturbing. Not saying it's Problem Number One with the sport, but if upper level event riders have the 'nads to gallop to a six-foot-wide table at 570 mpm, wouldn't you think they'd have the 'nads to stick a helmet on, trot proudly down centerline and DEFY a judge to mark them down for being safe?

I know that when that day comes, IF it comes, that rider is going straight to the top of my list of heroes. :yes: And what bugs me the most is that there isn't ONE, not ONE so far who will do so.

I mean, are dressage judges really THAT scary? ;)

I couldn't have said it better! That's why I started this topic. Thanks for stating it so... eloquently ;)

And no one is suggesting (at least, I wasn't) that we abandon traditional dress altogether. I really do like how shadbellys look, and I hope an attractive top hat helmet will eventually be made. In the meantime, I would love to see a rider proudly wear a helmet in dressage.

dkcbr
Jan. 10, 2010, 02:11 PM
I
It is the culture of sloppy permissiveness--that safety is important but only if it doesn't interfere with a good "look"--that I find sad and disturbing. Not saying it's Problem Number One with the sport, but if upper level event riders have the 'nads to gallop to a six-foot-wide table at 570 mpm, wouldn't you think they'd have the 'nads to stick a helmet on, trot proudly down centerline and DEFY a judge to mark them down for being safe?

I know that when that day comes, IF it comes, that rider is going straight to the top of my list of heroes. :yes: And what bugs me the most is that there isn't ONE, not ONE so far who will do so.

I mean, are dressage judges really THAT scary? ;)

I don't think wearing traditional, if unprotective, head gear counts as a symptom of "sloppy permissiveness." :confused:

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 02:41 PM
That's your prerogative to think otherwise. I, on the other hand, DO think that the lack of an iron-clad, mandatory approved headgear rule in ALL phases of the sport for ALL riders is sloppy, permissive, and flies in the face of the sport otherwise proclaiming that safety is priority #1. And that a rider who preaches out of one side of their mouth that safety is a sacred obligation of eventers but who then puts on a cardboard hat to go riding (doesn't matter where or when) is being a little bit of a hypocrite. I don't hate that person, I don't get in that person's face, but I do think slightly less of them as paragons of safety, at least when compared to riders who put their money where their mouths are. And like I said, I haven't met one yet in the upper level ranks who apparently has the intestinal fortitude to defy the tradition of stupid, anachronistic headgear. I know plenty of lowly smurfs, however, who embrace the idea of safety over fashion. Do I think athletes ought to be held up as role models? Actually, I do not. But I certainly do admire athletes that demonstrate what I consider to be exemplary behavior on and off the field moreso than I admire the ones that behave badly, show disdain for the sport, or who act like fools. Not wearing a helmet when riding, IN MY OPINION, places a rider somewhere in the latter two categories. And it is opinion I no longer harp on very much, because I do believe we also have the right to make these risk/benefit calculations for ourselves. But just like I shake my head when I see someone smoking in front of a little baby and think less of them for doing so, so do I shake my head and cringe when I see a rider in a baseball cap. I can't help it. I think it's dumb and so unnecessary.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 02:44 PM
Once again, my apologies for horribly unformatted and run-together paragraphs. My browser at home seems incapable of formatting these last few weeks. :(

riderboy
Jan. 10, 2010, 03:15 PM
[QUOTE=deltawave;4610002]I certainly cannot give chapter-and-verse statistics on the incidence of head injuries occurring during dressage tests at upper level events.

I'll make a guess, though--RARE. :)

Yep, unless it's you, then it's 100%. I'm sitting here shaking my head indisbelief that this is even an issue. Helmets should be required when mounted , period. There are no good reasons, none, zero, nada, zilch for not wearing a helmet.

I hope I didn't beat around the bush too much.

jn4jenny
Jan. 10, 2010, 03:55 PM
Yep, unless it's you, then it's 100%. I'm sitting here shaking my head indisbelief that this is even an issue. Helmets should be required when mounted , period. There are no good reasons, none, zero, nada, zilch for not wearing a helmet.

I hope I didn't beat around the bush too much.

Let's imagine a utopic world where all the upper-level riders DID wear ASTM helmets for the dressage phase. What would be next? In 20 years, will we be on their butts to wear safety vests over their shads? And then it'll be safety release stirrups? And pretty soon we'll be mandating helmet replacement after every single fall regardless of head impact, we'll be sending the TD after a rider because they left their helmet in the 100-degree sun for an hour and now it's "ruined", etc. etc.?

I'm exaggerating, of course, but the point is that it's a slippery slope. One person's "obvious" is another person's "murky." To ME it is absolutely clear that helmets save lives and I won't get on a horse without one. But I wouldn't presume to have walked in an UL rider's shoes.

I think it's more productive to address the UL rider's "excuses" productively. A top hat helmet would go a long way toward that goal. So would policies that would make it difficult/impossible for the rider to fear a penalty due to attire. So would a well-established UL rider taking a stand on the issue and changing their behavior, which might set a precedent for others.

JER
Jan. 10, 2010, 04:05 PM
I, on the other hand, DO think that the lack of an iron-clad, mandatory approved headgear rule in ALL phases of the sport for ALL riders is sloppy, permissive, and flies in the face of the sport otherwise proclaiming that safety is priority #1.

and


I'm sitting here shaking my head indisbelief that this is even an issue. Helmets should be required when mounted , period. There are no good reasons, none, zero, nada, zilch for not wearing a helmet.

deltawave and riderboy are physicians.

Heck, I'm only an EMT and I agree with them.

Eventing is a sport and we should dress like athletes, not like Fred Astaire.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 04:52 PM
I think it's more productive to address the UL rider's "excuses" productively. A top hat helmet would go a long way toward that goal. So would policies that would make it difficult/impossible for the rider to fear a penalty due to attire. So would a well-established UL rider taking a stand on the issue and changing their behavior, which might set a precedent for others.

I can't argue with this! :) But I still have to giggle under my breath at the mental image of some tough-as-nails eventer being "afraid" of what a dressage judge might think of their hat. :D :D

dkcbr
Jan. 10, 2010, 05:05 PM
And I'm still not seeing where jumping a huge table out x-country is the same skill set as making some sort of statement in a dressage ring.

Also I'm not seeing which upper level eventers are demonstrably wearing traditional, nonprotective headwear because they are afraid of what the judges will think.

Again, lest you think I'm arguing against safe head gear -- I'm not. I'm simply saying that 1) traditional head wear worn for a few minutes in a controlled environment is unlikely to result in a negative consequence and 2) I don't see anything sloppy and permissive about sticking to tradition.

delta, can you provide some evidence of any tough, upper level riders who are "afraid" of the judges? :confused:

dkcbr
Jan. 10, 2010, 05:08 PM
In the spirit of full disclosure, I would be totally fine with requiring ASTM-SEI helmets at all times. :yes:

I just take issue with the statement that folks are sticking with their hunt caps from some sloppy, permissive, or "scared of what people might think" standpoint.

And sign me up for the safety stirrup requirement, too -- I have 'em! :)

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 05:15 PM
I'm JOKING about being afraid of dressage judges.

And I'm not talking about a "skill set" so much as a state of mind. But surely anyone brave enough to tackle an Advanced XC course has enough self-assurance to buck a silly fashion trend, no? It's not really a matter of actual, real, physical courage, of course--I was making a silly analogy there.

There is always a risk/benefit calculation to doing things with horse. OF COURSE there is "little" risk to doing W-T-C in a square box for six minutes. But what I really think is more important is the tacit dismissal of the importance of helmets in that environment for no other reason than fashion.

I know a lot of people really value "tradition" for its own sake. That's cool, I can respect that. But I am an iconoclastic type, who does NOT value keeping things the way they have always been for no other reason than . . . that it's the way they have always been. When there's a chance to make something better or safer with ZERO DOWNSIDE, I'm on board. If one considers the loss of an iconic "image" a downside, that's their right. I cherish a commitment to maximizing safety NO MATTER WHAT more than I do some image of nineteenth-century sartorial propriety. :)

It does not bear repeating, since so many people have the same story to share, but one of the worst falls I ever took in terms of doing something to my head happened when my horse was STANDING STILL. Of course it's unlikely to happen in dressage. But it's much, much more unlikely if everyone is wearing the best possible safety equipment. :yes:

riderboy
Jan. 10, 2010, 06:12 PM
and



deltawave and riderboy are physicians.

Heck, I'm only an EMT and I agree with them.

Eventing is a sport and we should dress like athletes, not like Fred Astaire.

Amen to that. Let's see, three health care professionals agree on this and I just bet if we talked to our colleagues it would be 100%. I try to find "shades of gray" in other issues because many times there are competing legitimate opinions. Not here.

Jazzy Lady
Jan. 10, 2010, 07:03 PM
I'm a wear my helmet every ride type of girl. Tonight I went to ride and it was -10C (14F). I was very very tempted to just skip the helmet and wear my cozy touque to ride since it was so warm and all I was planning on was walking (my horse has been out of work for a few months due to my business). Then I led my horse in from the field and about 2 steps from the barn he did the most impressive airs above the ground trying to escape the horse eating air apparently... so I decided I'd suck up the cold and put the helmet on. My horse behaved perfectly (suprise suprise) but karma dictates he probably wouldn't have had I had my touque on.

I do wear a hunt cap with him and my topper for dressage. I have never worn an approved helmet with him for dressage. I have and will with younger and greener horses however. It's my choice. I am well aware the risks. Does that make me vain and stupid? Quite possibly. But it is still my choice.

JER
Jan. 10, 2010, 07:56 PM
Tradition is important because it creates a FAIR and LEVEL playing field.

How exactly? Not all that long ago, there was a 'tradition' of extending voting rights to white men only. And a 'tradition' of burning witches at the stake. And a 'tradition' of using lead-based paint in houses.

And, in eventing, a 'tradition' of restricting the Olympics to men only. How's that for FAIR and LEVEL?

A fair and level playing field is the result of logical, thoughtful, evolving rules that are observed by and applied equally to all participants so as to ensure the enjoyment of the sport and the well-being of the participants.


There is pretty much always reasoned logic behind tradition;

Okay. So let's burn a witch!


Doing something different calls attention to your horse and can say to a judge, "I don't trust this horse to be civil today in the dressage ring for you, so I am wearing safety gear." IF I ever get there, I want every advantage. I'm not going to trot in (or canter in) and have a judge say, "oh. who is THAT wearing a safety helmet? can't she ride?"

A judge who thinks that way is an [edit] idiot. Why should a judge care about your choice of headgear so long as it's within the rules?


I trust tradition, not blindly, but because the people who spent 50 years building this sport aren't stupid, as you are all intimating.

They're not brain surgeons either. And I mean that literally. It's not like the study of medicine or the science of safety are frozen in time. We have safety devices at our disposal now that didn't exist 50 years ago. We know more about traumatic brain injury now than we did 50 years ago. Why not put that knowledge and those tools to use where we know they can prevent serious damage?


Most have one or two LIFETIME and go back to being US. I would not be so fast to criticize, were I in that position. It's rare and it's special.

So is your brain. And you only have one.


I think it is far more important, if one is even slightly interested in "safety", that we take a very hard and focused look at the horses bleeding on cross country FIRST before we worry about helmets in dressage, but that is just my TRADITONAL, misplaced concern I am sure.

These are two separate issues. It's not either/or. Wearing a helmet is a proven step toward safety in the sport -- so why not make the rule to cover all mounted riders at events?

Ajierene
Jan. 10, 2010, 08:17 PM
I plan on one day being Deltawave's hero....

...I will make no excuses and if anyone asks, I will simply state that I value my head above fashion. Statistically speaking, I will likely never fall off any horse in a dressage ring, BUT I DO NOT want to be that 1 in a billion freak accident.

...As far as retreadeventer's comments. The people who came up with dress for dressage when civilians were first allowed to compete did not have a safety helmet option. The people that came up with the original dress for football did not have the technology that we have today. For some reason, they have decided not to stick with tradition and go for technology, even for their kicker. When running started to be competitive, people wore the equivalent of work shoes. Technology changed and people jump on each and every new show that is supposed to help them out. Maybe not everyone, but you get the idea.

...Also, I agree with JER.

...Furthermore, in reference to retreadeventer. The issue of horses bleeding in cross country is a difficult one to solve. It will take years of research. Wearing a safety helmet opposed to a piece of attire that was fashionable a few decades ago takes about three seconds of thought. It does not change how you do anything other than survive a fall.

...For Jazzy Lady's final questions, I will relay a story. I was at my last horse trial with fiance, brother, sis-in-law and 6 month old niece. Someone rode by while I was watching someone doing the dressage test in the ring. I, in my troxel velvet low profile helmet, made this comment about the passing pro. "You see that hunt cap she's wearing? It looks exactly the same as mine - fits the same outwardly, except mine has a harness. The main difference is that hers is not approved and will not protect her at all in a fall, if it even stays on. Personally, I think that is very stupid. It makes no sense to wear something that looks exactly the same as something else that can also protect your head."

La Chasse
Jan. 10, 2010, 08:18 PM
Amen to that. Let's see, three health care professionals agree on this and I just bet if we talked to our colleagues it would be 100%. I try to find "shades of gray" in other issues because many times there are competing legitimate opinions. Not here.

I'm another colleague and I agree. Traumatic brain injuries are real and happen all the time.

Also, I have had 2 severe concussions- one NOT wearing a helmet and one wearing a helmet- but both doing flat work. Granted, I am not an upper level dressage rider, but I have been riding for about 25 years.

The first occurred when I was 19 and stupidly hacking without a helmet. You would think Pony Club would have beaten it into my head, but nope. When my horse wildly bucked and my saddle slipped, I was catapulted off and do not remember anything else. I am now permanently hearing impaired and have had 2 subsequent surgeries as a result.

The second time I was in a dressage lesson and the horse spooked, bucked and I flew off, landing obliquely on my head. My Charles Owen was securely strapped on, but I still had neurological complications. My CO was replaced and was subsequently replaced free of charge by the company.

When my patients mention to me they ride, my first question is "do you wear a helmet every time you ride?" Your brain could care less if you have risen to the ranks of competing at Burghley or riding your Shetland in the back yard. And really-- the pediatric population, who is not competing at UL dressage, has a better chance at more neuro recovery from a TBI than the average adult does.

I love the classical look of formal attire and understand the thrill of wearing something like that, but people (and the "Rule Makers") should love their brains more.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 08:54 PM
For my reply, kindly see JER's. Couldn't have said it better.

A funny looking HAT that is no longer used ANYWHERE in modern society is more important than a culture of safety? Really? THAT is the tradition that is sacrosanct. Oy vey.

And wearing a helmet sends a message to a dressage judge that "my horse is about to dump me?" REALLY? Do we give judges so little credit? :no:

It was a tradition in the NFL to get your butt back up off the ground and go back in for the next series after a hit that knocked you cold. There are still IDIOTS who cling to that tradition as a fine example of "how REAL football was played" and decry the evolution of sound medical reasoning as "sissifying" the sport. IDIOTS. :mad:


I think it is far more important, if one is even slightly interested in "safety", that we take a very hard and focused look at the horses bleeding on cross country FIRST before we worry about helmets in dressageBut why? Are we incapable of thinking about both? One issue dwarfs the other (unless your loved one is the one in a million with the brain injury) but not ONE DOLLAR has to be spent, nor ONE RIDER inconvenienced in the slightest in order for the USEA to make the rule change that would eliminate, once and for all, the angst that so many riders are apparently struggling with. Certified headgear all the time, every time. So simple a caveman could do it. Problem solved. And hello, there IS a lot of very focused work being done on bleeding and XC collapses. It costs money, it's going to take YEARS to figure that out, if it is even do-able. Helmet rule? Five minutes, finished. Rule changed, problem no longer in existence.

quietann
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:05 PM
It would help if the top level dressage riders started bucking tradition, but... in my dreams. In dressage, the higher level the rider, the more likely s/he will not wear a helmet when riding, ever. Drives me absolutely nuts.

AKB
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:29 PM
Years ago one of our pony clubbers was knocked unconscious as she got ready to go to the dressage ring of a local, recognized event, in her not ASTM/SEI approved hunt cap. Her older, reliable, horse was standing next to the trailer after she got on. Somehow, he slipped and her head hit the trailer. She was helicoptered out, and spent some time in the ICU. I don't remember if she lost a semester of college at her Ivy league school due to the fall. I hope her good brain eventually went completely back to normal. For a while, she had some intellectual deficits.

It is time for an upper level rider to show some guts and ride dressage in an approved helmet. Perhaps someone could put together a $500 award for the first rider to compete a dressage test at Rolex in an approved helmet. Maybe the Chronicle could take their picture and do a story applauding their innovative spirit and commitment to bettering our sport.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:32 PM
Heck, I'll put up the $500 to the rider who publicly and conspicuously trots (or is it canters?) down centerline at Rolex this year with an approved helmet on. :yes: If COTH will do the publicity part, I'll cough up the money. If anyone wishes to join in, we can sweeten the pot.

AKB
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:33 PM
I'll send in a contribution!

riderboy
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:34 PM
It would help if the top level dressage riders started bucking tradition, but... in my dreams. In dressage, the higher level the rider, the more likely s/he will not wear a helmet when riding, ever. Drives me absolutely nuts.

You are absolutely correct. Safety changes are driven by tragedy, as at Rolex. It's really too bad.

JER
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:40 PM
Heck, I'll put up the $500 to the rider who publicly and conspicuously trots (or is it canters?) down centerline at Rolex this year with an approved helmet on. :yes: If COTH will do the publicity part, I'll cough up the money. If anyone wishes to join in, we can sweeten the pot.

I'll join in.

Perhaps this is something to pitch to the helmet makers to offer as a sponsorship? I know Troxel tried several years ago to get pro barrel racers to wear their helmets in contests. Martha Josey (http://www.troxelhelmets.com/news/index.php?id=16) and her students took them up on their offer.

deltawave
Jan. 10, 2010, 10:22 PM
I like the idea of having helmet companies on board, unless having them would give an odor of self-promotion and detract from the message? But I haven't got a very good "head" for that sort of thing, if you'll pardon the pun. If anyone in the marketing or promotion field wanted to pitch in, some brainpower in the packaging end might help this to make a statement and take a hunk out of the immovable rock of anachronism.

TampaBayEquine
Jan. 10, 2010, 10:40 PM
We all spend countless hours and dollars learning how to ride, reading about riding, trying to understand and remember everything we can about horses and riding. We all work to get the theory and intellectual understanding to manifest physically into coordinated aids, improved balance and timing, and (insert your personal goals here)......Wearing a helmet, at the absolute barest of minimums, is a simple insurance policy on this investment, no? It is beyond me why one would choose to go without "insurance" on something so precious.

Ajierene
Jan. 10, 2010, 10:45 PM
Generally speaking, as far as I know, one of the best ways companies use to get athletic products interested in the market is to have an athlete use them.

So, there are two things a company like Troxel can do. They can develop an ASTM certified top hat and get a Rolex competitor to wear it, or they can make a minor change to another helmet (I vote for the velvet low profile) and introduce it as a 'new helmet' by the athlete wearing it.

A third option is to have Troxel make a public stance on safety, with the endorsement of some upper Level rider, through him wearing one of their hats in the dressage arena. I lean towards Troxel liking option one or two better, but I am not market guru, just a lady that knows some people that started their own product lines/companies.

poltroon
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:01 PM
Things can happen quickly in our sport. All it takes is for one top rider, maybe two, to decide to just go for it and wear the helmet.

Look at how quickly GPAs took off in hunterland. I mean, here you have a group that was very concerned about the look, terribly upset about even adding a harness, fought ASTM standards for years.... and then in about a two year period, GPA paid a bunch of top riders to wear their very expensive helmets, and suddenly they were the new in-thing even in the hunter and equitation rings. Today you'll come across young posters wondering if it would be OK to wear a plain velvet ASTM helmet, instead of the "traditional" GPA, or if they'll be penalized!

If Anky started wearing a helmet, everyone would be within 5 years. I swear it. :D

People like the look of the top hat because it is so slim. A top hat on top of a helmet does not have that same look - the proportions just scream how wrong they are. The example shown... well, frankly, I think I'd look more polished in my black Troxel Sierra. Or in a Tipperary.

I've also been interested to see the acceptance of the Tipperary helmet. It does not look like any traditional helmet, and yet it is being accepted in many disciplines (I see team penners wearing them around here; I've never seen anyone wear the Troxel western helmet). It looks more like a helmet for some Olympic speed discipline, and sometimes (as with food and diet restrictions) it's better to do something completely and totally different rather than attempt a poor imitation of something else that has certain preconceived expectations.

OverandOnward
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:09 PM
I never get on a horse without a helmet, ever. Over the years I've seen/heard of too many accidents ... crazy, unpredictable, unlikely ... there is no way to know which day is accident day ... and how easy to have the helmet in place, how many regrets if it were not. And the kind of horses often doing dressage/eventing are perhaps more reactive and more prone to the crazy, unpredictable and unlikely than some other types.

I will even chuck in 20 bucks to a fund that will truly go to the rider who wears an approved helmet in 2010 Rolex dressage. And another 20 to the fund for 2010 WEG dressage. Really will. :winkgrin:

But. However. This is still truth ...

Yes, but my belief is that head injuries in the dressage ring are statistically unlikely.

I hope no one interprets my comment(s) as saying this type of injury can't happen. Big difference there. :yes:

Of all the issues in front of eventing today ... this one is near bottom of my personal list. IMO the 20's would be far more useful in the study to better understand why horses are dropping dead on cross-country, without injury as a cause.

Western riders log many more hundreds of hours without helmets or falls, and a good bit of their riding is even more risky than dressage. Including cutting, reining and roping. I asked my reiner friend why none of the dozens of reiners at a show were wearing a helmet, and she said simply "reiners don't fall off." Honestly I had to consider my own horse sport and think about that ... :cool: Of course few if any of the reiners are on hyper-reactive TB's and TB crosses.

poltroon
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:12 PM
Let's imagine a utopic world where all the upper-level riders DID wear ASTM helmets for the dressage phase. What would be next? In 20 years, will we be on their butts to wear safety vests over their shads? And then it'll be safety release stirrups? And pretty soon we'll be mandating helmet replacement after every single fall regardless of head impact, we'll be sending the TD after a rider because they left their helmet in the 100-degree sun for an hour and now it's "ruined", etc. etc.?

I don't think it's slippery at all.

What we have is a situation where a significant number of riders would be very happy to wear the ASTM helmet but don't, because they worry that after years of hard work and hundreds of thousands of dollars, that it is a competitive disadvantage.

Changing the rule puts everyone in the same equipment and levels the field.

Of course, then there is the problem of the FEI rules being different. We can change it for national competition, but Rolex is not run under USEF rules.

OverandOnward
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:16 PM
Things can happen quickly in our sport. All it takes is for one top rider, maybe two, to decide to just go for it and wear the helmet.Yep - IF they wore it every single time. No exceptions, not for WEG, Olympics, a command performance in front of the Queen, nuthin - always always wear the approved helmet. And you are right, attitudes would start to change and more would find the courage to buck tradition. :)



The rule requiring all mounted exhibitors to wear ASTM approved helmets passed in 2005. This means that even when not in a class an approved helmet must be worn on the show grounds.Er, uh ... Know for a fact this is not consistently enforced in warm-up rings - dressage or eventing. Seen TD's looking right at a bare-headed dressage warm-up ride and nothing was said. Witnessed during 2009. Was wondering what the rule was at the time.

poltroon
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:17 PM
Western riders log many more hundreds of hours without helmets or falls, and a good bit of their riding is even more risky than dressage. Including cutting, reining and roping. I asked my reiner friend why none of the dozens of reiners at a show were wearing a helmet, and she said simply "reiners don't fall off." Honestly I had to consider my own horse sport and think about that ... :cool: Of course few if any of the reiners are on hyper-reactive TB's and TB crosses.

Of course they fall off and get badly hurt. You just don't hear about it because those aren't your people. In my own tiny valley, we had a woman severely injured and her horse killed during a drill team performance when one horse stumbled at the canter, causing a collision with another horse. The sequins on her shirt didn't help her out much, and for the next year she went around with one of those horrible neck braces that is pinned to your skull, and crutches.

A year later, my daughter and I were watching another drill team work in another venue and there was another stumble at the canter that caused horse and rider to faceplant about 20 feet from us. Thank goodness horse and rider, after some drama, walked away.

What I notice about the western riders is that their hats invariably fall off during the speed events, which creates annoying delays for the ring crew and oddly ends up creating a hazard while riding, as the rider tries to use a spare hand to hold the hat on while barrel racing and the like. I keep wanting to yell get a harness or leave it at home.

poltroon
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:21 PM
Yep - IF they wore it every single time. No exceptions, not for WEG, Olympics, a command performance in front of the Queen, nuthin - always always wear the approved helmet. And you are right, attitudes would start to change and more would find the courage to buck tradition. :)

Well, when your sponsor pays you enough, yes you do. It was fascinating to watch GPA's marketing. Truly a thing of wonder.

Now they have ALL the national teams riding in them in the Olympics et al, with helmets decorated to match the national flag. It's not even an issue any more.

JER
Jan. 10, 2010, 11:28 PM
Western riders log many more hundreds of hours without helmets or falls, and a good bit of their riding is even more risky than dressage. Including cutting, reining and roping.

I suppose you've run the numbers on this?

If not, this might interest you: Western Horseman Article: 'Protective Gear: Accident victims and experts alike make the case for wearing protective riding gear.' (http://www.troxelhelmets.com/news/index.php?id=17)

Or maybe western riders only fall on YouTube. Like here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hR6BjdpTcM). Or here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RZp_2a9gx8) (don't miss what happens at 0:40).

Riders fall off horses everywhere.

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:07 AM
IMO the 20's would be far more useful in the study to better understand why horses are dropping dead on cross-country

I would certainly not argue with this, and if someone had only $20 to send, I'd vote send it for research, always.

A lot of us are already sending some. :)

But the $500 Rolex Helmet Wager stands. I'm not quite sure how to get this ball rolling, but maybe someone at COTH would like to pick up the other end of the rope and help me to make it LOUD and PUBLIC? Who knows, maybe TEN riders will pony up. In which case we'll have a drawing for the cash--I've got hay to buy. :D I don't mind writing letters to Troxel or Charles Owen--maybe they'd provide one of their best certified helmets for the winner to continue to wear in dressage? ;)

I also think a very strong public statement from some of the "biggie" dressage judges proclaiming their absolute support for wearing helmets-and-tails as perfectly acceptable would be gigantic. This all could be put into a nice article, I'm thinking. With the donor being anonymous--this is SO not about me.

riderboy
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:10 AM
Yes, interestingly I was watching a preview for a program on cowboys "back in the day" on the History Channel and one of the leading causes of death -per the announcer-for these buckaroos were horse accidents. That's not very specific to any cause and I'm sure there were many. The point is , it was and always has been a dangerous endeavor. Hell, that's one reason I like it!

Badger
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:28 AM
Pot, meet kettle.

dilligaff2
Jan. 11, 2010, 01:48 PM
I just wanted to point out that last year in Canada there was a National Level dressage show that required ALL riders wear approved helmets--no matter what the level.

Guess what? We had Olympic Medalists doing Grand Prix tests in helmets.

I don't think their scores suffered one bit. ;)

poltroon
Jan. 11, 2010, 02:23 PM
I also think a very strong public statement from some of the "biggie" dressage judges proclaiming their absolute support for wearing helmets-and-tails as perfectly acceptable would be gigantic. This all could be put into a nice article, I'm thinking.

I would love to see this.

dixiedolphin
Jan. 11, 2010, 02:29 PM
I've also been interested to see the acceptance of the Tipperary helmet. It does not look like any traditional helmet, and yet it is being accepted in many disciplines (I see team penners wearing them around here; I've never seen anyone wear the Troxel western helmet). It looks more like a helmet for some Olympic speed discipline, and sometimes (as with food and diet restrictions) it's better to do something completely and totally different rather than attempt a poor imitation of something else that has certain preconceived expectations.

I sure wish they would catch on and be more accepted in the ring! I absolutely love my Tipperary helmet--most comfortable helmet I've ever worn, even if it does look somewhat non-traditional. I like that it's got more coverage going down the back of the head, too.

Wonder if I'd get points docked wearing that in a dressage test. Heh.

poltroon
Jan. 11, 2010, 02:30 PM
I suppose you've run the numbers on this?

If not, this might interest you: Western Horseman Article: 'Protective Gear: Accident victims and experts alike make the case for wearing protective riding gear.' (http://www.troxelhelmets.com/news/index.php?id=17)

Or maybe western riders only fall on YouTube. Like here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hR6BjdpTcM). Or here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RZp_2a9gx8) (don't miss what happens at 0:40).

Riders fall off horses everywhere.

Some choice quotes from that article:


For a severe head injury, the lifetime costs are more than $3 million, for moderate injury $941,000, and for mild trauma $85,000, according to an Emory University study published in 2002.


But one need not look outside the horse industry for convincing proof that helmets work. Racing organizations require helmets and, as a result, jockeys now suffer proportionally fewer head injuries than pleasure riders.

subk
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:12 PM
I certainly don't think not wearing an approved helmet is either permissive or sloppy. Maybe it's just someone exerting their rights to personal freedom--something I fear is growing smaller and smaller these days.

It makes me sad that people are all fired up ready to throw money in the ring and pressure corporate sponsorship to do the same about a problem that is such a non-problem. As a sport we have real problems that need research money and sponsorship and this ain't it.

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:30 PM
Ah, but one of the beautiful things about our supposedly fast-disappearing personal freedom is that we're all free to decide for ourselves what we are and are not passionate about. And we're also free to support or not support causes that we feel are important, even if others disagree. :)

I don't feel as though I have the "freedom" to choose not to wear a helmet. I'm the primary breadwinner for my family and can't afford to take unnecessary risks. Do I take a risk every time I walk down to the barn? Absolutely. Do I wear a helmet when I groom my horses? Nope. I suppose that I could. But I don't see wearing a helmet as an encroachment on my personal freedom. I see it as a responsibility to the people who depend on me. Interpretable many, many ways, I realize. :)

I don't work on brains for a living, but even my organ, which I feel is by far the coolest and smartest and most interesting, takes a back seat to the brain when push comes to shove. We wear pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness even though a huge majority of us will never be touched by breast cancer, but we won't wear "black velvet" for brain protection every chance we get even though I'll wager each and every one of us has taken or will take a fall off a horse at some point. Strange . . .

Black velvet ribbons for helmet awareness! :D :D :D

subk
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:37 PM
Ah, but one of the beautiful things about our supposedly fast-disappearing personal freedom is that we're all free to decide for ourselves what we are and are not passionate about. And we're also free to support or not support causes that we feel are important, even if others disagree. :)
It sounds like I have your blessing to persue my personal freedom in believing that focusing time, energy and money on an issue that has no statistical basis is sad as opposed to being on the side that is pursuing their freedom to limit the freedom of others. I'm good with that.

JER
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:42 PM
I certainly don't think not wearing an approved helmet is either permissive or sloppy. Maybe it's just someone exerting their rights to personal freedom--something I fear is growing smaller and smaller these days.

I thought the 'sloppy permissiveness' was about TPTB allowing a loophole in a safety rule. It's like allowing some cars to not have seat belts.

As far as the personal freedom argument is concerned, this is not about what you do at your own home or at the barn. This is a member organization requiring its members to adopt proven safety measures -- that do not impinge on the enjoyment of the sport -- when participating in competitions that are held under their auspices.

Promoting safety is a big part of promoting the sport, especially after the events of the last few years.


It makes me sad that people are all fired up ready to throw money in the ring and pressure corporate sponsorship to do the same about a problem that is such a non-problem. As a sport we have real problems that need research money and sponsorship and this ain't it.

I disagree that it's a non-problem. The mindset that 'sometimes' it's okay not to wear a helmet is a problem. It was a huge problem for me when one of my good friends fell off an old, slow horse at a standstill and suffered a massive TBI. She usually wore a helmet but 'usually' just wasn't good enough.

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:50 PM
I thought the 'sloppy permissiveness' was about TPTB allowing a loophole in a safety rule. It's like allowing some cars to not have seat belts.

As far as the personal freedom argument is concerned, this is not about what you do at your own home or at the barn. This is a member organization requiring its members to adopt proven safety measures -- that do not impinge on the enjoyment of the sport -- when participating in competitions that are held under their auspices.


Thanks again, JER, for being so much more clear than I seem to be able to manage! :)

riderboy
Jan. 11, 2010, 03:54 PM
I certainly don't think not wearing an approved helmet is either permissive or sloppy. Maybe it's just someone exerting their rights to personal freedom--something I fear is growing smaller and smaller these days.

It makes me sad that people are all fired up ready to throw money in the ring and pressure corporate sponsorship to do the same about a problem that is such a non-problem. As a sport we have real problems that need research money and sponsorship and this ain't it.

I respect your opinions subk but I must disagree with you here. Closed head injuries can be absolutely horrific. Any funding for research into making helmets safer and reduce the incidence of these injuries as well as research into other areas of reducing concussion like bite blocks or whatever is money well spent in my book. It's not as dramatic as a horse flipping over a fence but it's my guess that it is far more common. I've banged my head every damn time I've hit the ground, which is far too many times! Helmet on, fortunately. I think,(not 100%sure) that the one fall rule was instigated in part by research that showed that impairment from one fall with a good head bang was enough to result in loss of memory, and mild confusion. Second and third falls added to that. It is most definitely not a "non-problem"

quietann
Jan. 11, 2010, 04:20 PM
I sure wish they would catch on and be more accepted in the ring! I absolutely love my Tipperary helmet--most comfortable helmet I've ever worn, even if it does look somewhat non-traditional. I like that it's got more coverage going down the back of the head, too.

Wonder if I'd get points docked wearing that in a dressage test. Heh.

I also love my Tipp! I put a velvet helmet cover on it for showing, if it's not too hot, and it's fine.

SevenDogs
Jan. 11, 2010, 04:55 PM
Although, I am definitely in favor of helmets, I understand where SubK and others are coming from. Personal responsibility and choice are big for me too and I have not been in favor or many of the added "rules" that try to legislate personal responsibility (which rarely works).

But, I think the dilemma comes into play IF upper level riders truly believe they will be penalized for straying from the traditional tophat (whether or not this is truly the case). That means that someone who *would" choose to wear a helmet feels the pressure not to do so and therefore, is taking a risk that they would rather not be taking. That is a problem to me.

I would like to think that we have at least one non-conformist ULR out there that would take the lead (although it sounds as though Nina Fouts was a pioneer). The fact that we don't have anyone opting for the helmet makes me that think there are many riders who feel the pressure (the fact that Reed feels that way makes me feel that it is pretty widespread). That's the only real argument in favor of a rule change for me and, quite honestly, I would rather that the stigma was removed via another method and people retained the right to choose.

poltroon
Jan. 11, 2010, 05:01 PM
It makes me sad that people are all fired up ready to throw money in the ring and pressure corporate sponsorship to do the same about a problem that is such a non-problem. As a sport we have real problems that need research money and sponsorship and this ain't it.

Here's how I see it.

It's a simple thing, that is doable, costs no one anything. Indeed, it would save competitors the cost of a $250-$500 top hat that can be worn no other time but in the FEI dressage ring. Up and coming riders would probably have better uses for that money.

It encourages an attitude that good riders don't need helmets. Indeed, look at what Reed wrote. And that attitude affects the entire sport, down to the local levels.

Even though no one may be dying of head injuries in the dressage ring (though there can always be a first), this affects the warmup (where there are injuries) and it affects the whole sport and how people school and make their choices. They see their most awe inspiring riders wearing a top hat, they want one. They see their most favorite rider wearing a GPA, they want one.

The fact is that not only are helmets more protective, but they are also more affordable, more comfortable, and more practical. I am so much happier showing in a helmet in a harness than the bad old days of trying to get a velvet huntcap to fit precisely enough to stay on with my hair under it by friction alone. Getting a top hat to fit right is back to the same old problem.

So I'd be happy to leave it to personal choice if I thought people felt they had a choice. But what I hear is that people don't feel that they have a choice - that they're forced to wear an item of apparel to be competitive.

Janet
Jan. 11, 2010, 05:11 PM
I sure wish they would catch on and be more accepted in the ring! I absolutely love my Tipperary helmet--most comfortable helmet I've ever worn, even if it does look somewhat non-traditional. I like that it's got more coverage going down the back of the head, too.

Wonder if I'd get points docked wearing that in a dressage test. Heh.

This is what the rule book says

GR 801.4. Any exhibitor may wear protective headgear (ASTM/SEI) and/or a protective safety
vest, specifically designed for use in equestrian sport in any division or class without penalty
from the judge.

So no, the judge is NOT permitted to "dock" you.

flabbergasted
Jan. 11, 2010, 05:13 PM
I think there have been some incorrect assumptions made regarding the judges. My own dressage trainer, who is an O, would never think twice about a rider wearing an approved helmet, in or out of competition...and has been known to explicitly 'encourage' the wearing of one when riders on young or excitable horses enter her ring for a lesson.

SevenDogs
Jan. 11, 2010, 05:21 PM
So no, the judge is NOT permitted to "dock" you.

While that is true, I think the concern is that the judge might make certain assumptions that could lower their overall impression of the horse/rider and there is no real way to prove that it happened or to hold the judge accountable. I sure hope this isn't true, but it sounds like the fear is that it is enough to pressure some riders into NOT wearing a helmet.

It may be that the rule "allowing" riders to wear a helmet isn't really doing what was intended (which was to allow the rider free choice). It sounds like the "unwritten" rules are prevailing as some riders succumb to the pressure to wear the traditional top hat when they would rather be wearing a helmet.

It might help if we heard more from dressage judges that not only will they not penalize it, but they actually encourage it (if they do).

RAyers
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:26 PM
I think there have been some incorrect assumptions made regarding the judges. My own dressage trainer, who is an O, would never think twice about a rider wearing an approved helmet, in or out of competition...and has been known to explicitly 'encourage' the wearing of one when riders on young or excitable horses enter her ring for a lesson.

I too have taken many lessons with an "O" judge (Gary Rockewell). And, yes, of course they encourage us to ride with a helmet in a LESSON. We are discussing the competition arena.

The judges I work and talk with (10, including 1 "O," 4 "S," 3 "R," 2 "r"), all say they are not biased be it dressage or the hunters. I am sure they try not to be. But let's face it, when I follow Bruce Davidson Sr. wearing his classic topper with me wearing a helmet, there is a shift in perception, regardless of it being conscious.

Like I said, this is dealing with an "unwritten" rule where if one must be taken seriously, then they must play the game by those rules, along with the written ones. So, I would suggest that if somebody wants to give me a world beater event horse with 10 movement, then yes, I will wear a helmet in the ring. Until then I have to do everything I can to affect perception to give me any positive score in the ring. It doesn't mean it is right.

I know we all like to say, "I am not biased." but let's face it, when you interview for a job will you wear your best looking suit or just throw on your everyday clothes?


Reed

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:29 PM
I know we all like to say, "I am not biased." but let's face it, when you interview for a job will you wear your best looking suit or just throw on your everyday clothes?
Reed, I love you dearly, but that don't fly. When you present yourself as an ATHLETE, should you put on your athletic apparel, or try to make like a 19th century butler? :)

riderboy
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:34 PM
Reed; Dude, if I EVER got to ride behind Bruce Davidson Sr. I wouldn't care if I was wearing a French maid's outfit! With helmet.

RAyers
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:35 PM
Oh good gravy woman. ;) Butlers are way better dressed than any athlete. It is probably the best looking and dressed I will get in my entire life.

You are hitting on the crux of an issue that has been around for so long. Riders want to be considered athletes but there is also this inherent tradition that has so much inertia of a "dress code."

Face it, my world view is totally skewed. I find it absolutely strange to put on a tie and NOT ride a jumper round.

riderboy, it is the most surreal thing that has ever happened to me in competition. In my mind I was going, "Hey, I read about you all the time! You defined the sport for me. Shit, gotta get in the ring!"

Reed

SevenDogs
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:35 PM
Reed, I love you dearly, but that don't fly. When you present yourself as an ATHLETE, should you put on your athletic apparel, or try to make like a 19th century butler? :)

I think what Reed is saying is that as long as their is an option, there is a potential bias in favor of those in the traditional top hat. I don't hear him saying that he prefers the look of the top hat over the helmet like others have stated here.

deltawave
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:36 PM
Face it, my world view is totally skewed.

I just don't want it to be skrewed, buddy. Put your hat on! :)

SevenDogs
Jan. 11, 2010, 06:55 PM
What is really hilarious is that a helmet modeled after a hunt cap (usually velvet with a BOW) is the more "modern/athletic" alternative ... and it is! :)

Honestly, if it weren't for the "tradition" and symbolism of "I've arrived at the upper levels", NO ONE would aspire to wear a top hat anywhere, anytime! I remember my first introduction to the fact that those in our sport dressed that way.... um.... REALLY? ... and I was pretty accepting of the "hunt" type attire.

I do agree that I wish everyone would choose a helmet every time/every ride!

JER
Jan. 11, 2010, 07:03 PM
let's face it, when you interview for a job will you wear your best looking suit or just throw on your everyday clothes?

Let me just say this: neither will get you hired as a stripper.

You wear appropriate clothes for the job. :)

OverandOnward
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:01 PM
I suppose you've run the numbers on this?

If not, this might interest you: Western Horseman Article: 'Protective Gear: Accident victims and experts alike make the case for wearing protective riding gear.' (http://www.troxelhelmets.com/news/index.php?id=17)

Or maybe western riders only fall on YouTube. Like here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hR6BjdpTcM). Or here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RZp_2a9gx8) (don't miss what happens at 0:40).

Riders fall off horses everywhere.
I think you didn't read my post carefully. My sentence didn't say western riders don't fall. It said western riders do not fall nearly as often as riders of jumping horses. Yep, there are lots of numbers on that. You can find them if you care to. I've seen them before and am not interested enough to spend time hunting them up again for the purposes of this thread. But it doesn't matter what the numbers say anyway. People who prefer looking up individual incidents and recounting anecdotes are going to do that, and that's fine. :)

OverandOnward
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:21 PM
It makes me sad that people are all fired up ready to throw money in the ring and pressure corporate sponsorship to do the same about a problem that is such a non-problem. As a sport we have real problems that need research money and sponsorship and this ain't it.I agree. Statistically there are far, far more critical issues to support. Of course there are some heart-rending individual tragedies that could have been saved by a helmet. But in terms of the sport as a whole, there are other matters I'd hate to see deprived of funds if funds were put toward more wearing of helmets in high-level dressage.

No question the real issues are fashion and expectations. Everyone has the information about the good of helmets drilled into them, I doubt it needs repeating. The fashion/expectations thing is what to address. IMO



So I'd be happy to leave it to personal choice if I thought people felt they had a choice. But what I hear is that people don't feel that they have a choice - that they're forced to wear an item of apparel to be competitive.Very valid point. And re the many suggestions in this thread, a very, very low cost fix. It needs speaking up by riders, judges, officials; it needs BNR's wearing helmets not top hats; speaking up and more speaking up ... but not expensive studies and funding. IMO :)

Just do it, as the shoe company says. :winkgrin:

Meredith Clark
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:41 PM
It might help if we heard more from dressage judges that not only will they not penalize it, but they actually encourage it (if they do).

I know there's an "S" Dressage judge that posts on this board, maybe she will chime in.

I thought it was interesting... I was looking at Phillip Dutton's eventing camp (girl can dream right?) and it states that a rider MUST wear an approved helmet at ALL times when riding at his farm.

Oh also.. before I ever rode English (eventing or otherwise) I was really into Western riding. I did the QH circuit and Paint Horse Showmanship. The worst fall I ever had was off my QH gelding while pole bending (a speed event where you weave poles). He knocked over a pole and slipped on it.. it would have been BAD if i wasn't wearing a helmet...

Ajierene
Jan. 11, 2010, 08:46 PM
I think you didn't read my post carefully. My sentence didn't say western riders don't fall. It said western riders do not fall nearly as often as riders of jumping horses. Yep, there are lots of numbers on that. You can find them if you care to. I've seen them before and am not interested enough to spend time hunting them up again for the purposes of this thread. But it doesn't matter what the numbers say anyway. People who prefer looking up individual incidents and recounting anecdotes are going to do that, and that's fine. :)

I don't know...so far all I have found is an article from the early 90's that states that Oklahoma's largest contributor to sports related head injuries was horseback riding. How many do you think were riding English?

Here is something else in the same article:

24 patients (80%) were not wearing helmets, including all fatalities and craniotomy patients.

http://gift-estate.com/farm/horseinjury.htm

Then again, according to this, only 1.2% of all sports related injuries are horse related, and only about 1.7% of horseback riders overall visit the emergency room. Of the sports related injuries in Oklahoma, only 3% resulted in death. So why wear a helmet at all? Oh, right, because of that one in a million, I don't want to be that one, or rather, I don't want to be one of that three percent.

I can understand tradition and wanting a certain 'look', but I have yet to see a really valid argument for not wearing this particular piece of safety apparel. To compare, there are questions about the EXO safety vest and how it will effect your riding. I was originally resistant to wearing a safety vest because I worried about how it would effect my ability to ride my horse. It defeats the purpose if the safety item contributes to MORE falls. The helmet/top hat question is on of personal preference and preferring a particular 'look' over safety/personal health. It is like wearing heels for fashion all the time.....then having to have painful bunyon surgery because heels are NOT good for your feet.

Equa
Jan. 11, 2010, 11:10 PM
"I certainly don't think not wearing an approved helmet is either permissive or sloppy. Maybe it's just someone exerting their rights to personal freedom--something I fear is growing smaller and smaller these days."

Personal freedom is very important - but so is personal responsibility. The costs involved in treating and rehabbing brain injuries have to be borne by someone. As does research into brain injury, increased costs of insurance premiums, insurance carried by venues/clubs/organisations etc.

Maybe we should be careful what we wish our freedoms to be.

A few Years ago, the Equestrian Federation of Australia was unable to get insurance unless every rider, at every level wore an approved safety helmet. For about a year, we wore helmets with our tails - even at CDI levels (had to get permission from the FEI...). It did look odd at first, but we got used to it. These days, the rules have been softened, and we can wear a top hat in the ring.

A few of our eventers do wear a helmet at 2 & 3* level with their tails, in the ring. As a judge (and often also a scribe) I do not believe judges even notice! Christopher Burton was immensely sensible at the recent Adelaide 3DE in the 4**** dressage when he decided to not wear his coat in the ring - it was 40 degrees in the shade....he looked cool and rode brilliantly for a very good score. (Although he DID wear his top hat....).

The point being, what you wear in the ring is illusory - it is not relevant to performance except in terms of safety and comfort. There are very few competitions where I am wishing for a nice warm jacket!

riderboy
Jan. 12, 2010, 07:41 AM
=
Personal freedom is very important - but so is personal responsibility. , Yes; It's one thing to ride bareback and helmetless at home, but at a sanctioned show with rules and regulations it's a different matter. Besides just being the right thing to do, ( wearing a helmet ) it is also the respnsible thing to do. Lower level riders DO ape the upper level riders and take their cues from them, like it or not. They are examples for the rest of us.

meupatdoes
Jan. 12, 2010, 08:29 AM
Seriously, it has got to be a rare judge that gives a flying fig if a rider comes down center line in a velvet helmet or a velvet hunt cap. I've worn my helmet through fourth level and one star and the comments and scores always reflected my riding and the horse's performance. Period. Now, if I ever reach my goal of psg dressage I would love to wear a hard-earned shadbelly, and I really don't know if I will do so or not because I believe so much in helmets. I will cross that bridge if and when I get there. But I honestly believe it is delusional to think a helmet is going to impare your score and impression with any but a very rare and out-dated judge.

You do not have to give up the shad to wear a helmet.

Admittedly this is the 2009 version because 2010 is not up on USEF yet in PDF, but here is DR120:


2. For all tests above Fourth Level, the dress code is: a dark tailcoat with top hat, or a dark jacket with a bowler hat or hunt cap, and white or light colored breeches, stock or tie, gloves, and black riding boots. Spurs are mandatory for FEI tests (except as noted above under DR120.1). (See DR120.8)

Sounds a little ominous, but protective headgear is different from a bowler, hunt cap or top hat, so keep reading:


4. Riders at all levels of competition must wear one of the following: A hunt cap or riding hat with a hard shell, derby or top hat, military/police cap or hat, or protective headgear. Any exhibitor may wear protective headgear at any level of competition without penalty from the judge. Exhibitors choosing to wear protective headgear must wear a short, dark jacket, dark tail coat (only permitted for tests above Fourth Level), or Armed Services or police uniform (if eligible), dark hatcovers (where applicable) and must otherwise conform to DR120 (see
GR801).


The hatcovers thing is a little sad; I personally would like the look of a GPA over a shad better than a velvet cap but the GPAs and their more affordable knock offs come black on black these days.

I am doing everything in my power to get myself and the ottb ready to shoot for my silver in 2011 (come on, pony!), and if we make it I will gladly do so under a helmet.
Can't wait.

subk
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:36 AM
As far as the personal freedom argument is concerned, this is not about what you do at your own home or at the barn. This is a member organization requiring its members to adopt proven safety measures -- that do not impinge on the enjoyment of the sport -- when participating in competitions that are held under their auspices.
First off you're talking about what YOU personally see as your enjoyment and what would impinge it. Others have a perfect right to "enjoy" wearing a top hat. That you don't think that's worthy is your personal opinion not a general overview.

Second of all, we know all sorts of things in our daily lives that have "proven safety measures" that can reduce risk, but we routinely choose not to do them. Wearing helmets in cars is one. Do you wear one? It comes down to relativity. I imagine that most of you support laws making kids wear helmets when they bike. Here's what's interesting about that, if instead the promoters of those laws would spend their time, energy and money into laws requiring kids to wear helmets when they travel in cars the benefits to children would be 1000 to 10,000 fold greater than what it is when they bike.


I disagree that it's a non-problem.
See that's the deal. Can you give me any statistical evidence--based on upper level dressage riders--falling off, getting injured, getting a head injury--while competing and/or warming up that backs up that claim? I remember a lot of safety discussions in the last few years lamenting how important it is that we analyze and statistically understand exactly the essence of the problems we face with the issue of XC safety then make rules and adjustments accordingly, suddenly nobody cares about that? Show me compelling facts that establish the danger to UL riders doing dressage and I'll happily jump on board.


So I'd be happy to leave it to personal choice if I thought people felt they had a choice. But what I hear is that people don't feel that they have a choice - that they're forced to wear an item of apparel to be competitive.
Of course it's a choice, even if you think you're going to get dinged for it! Just about every event I go to I see riders on XC making safety choices and being willing to take penalties for it. If and when riders think it's a real issue they are happy to chose safety over a few points--or even not being competitive over being safe. So the question is why don't riders think it's dangerous--perhaps because there a few if any examples of UL riders ever getting hurt in dressage?

Here's my point. Let's spend our limited funds, energy and good will on the things that will give us the greatest returns. There comes a point when this helmet ideology is more evangelical than logical.

KMErickson
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:37 AM
I thought it was interesting... I was looking at Phillip Dutton's eventing camp (girl can dream right?) and it states that a rider MUST wear an approved helmet at ALL times when riding at his farm.



That is interesting, because when I was there looking at horses I'm pretty sure I was the only soul on the property with a helmet on. Everyone jumped with a helmet but flatwork and hacking, no way.

deltawave
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:53 AM
I thought it was interesting... I was looking at Phillip Dutton's eventing camp (girl can dream right?) and it states that a rider MUST wear an approved helmet at ALL times when riding at his farm. And I'm sure PD's farm/personal liability insurance premium (or that of any other trainer, not singling out PD) might be a lot higher if he didn't mention this, post it, and make at least a visible effort to enforce it. But I guess that doesn't apply to the riders themselves--maybe their health insurance underwriter doesn't care quite so much as the personal liability underwriters do. Which is another interesting thing to ponder.

mademoiselle
Jan. 12, 2010, 09:22 PM
It's a very interesting issue and one close to my heart. In June 2008, Riderboy was the first person on the scene of my accident at a HT. My horse trip over the #1 fence of the stadium and started to flip and in an effort to not collapse kicked me in the head.

Despite my approved helmet, I got a concussion and broke C7. I went to 2 events at the end of 2008 just to not end up on a bad note and decided that I would switch to dressage for a while.

I'm at a point now where FEI levels are not too too far in the future for me. Guess what ? Yep, I will ride with my approved helmet. One of my trainers who is a BNT, pressured me to start to wear a hat and she went on and on about traditions, and the look and the judges and the fact that I was going to stick out. She was really unhappy with me.
Scuse my French, but I don't give a s... I have 2 young kids, I have been bucked off on the flat more than over fences and with the history of having a concussion, I'm a prime candidate for a very serious close head injury. No Thank you.

And to be honnest, if the only thing the judge can find to lower my score is my headgear, I'm in a good shape:lol:.

I love traditions, but honnestly if we really want people to realize that horseback riding is a sport, it's time to start dressing up like athletes, not penguins going to a formal event.

Many people dream to wear a shadbelly and a top hat, like it's an honor. I'm dreading it.

And Riderboy is a good guy:yes::yes::yes: Listen to him, he has first experience with brain injuries ;)

JER
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:05 PM
First off you're talking about what YOU personally see as your enjoyment and what would impinge it. Others have a perfect right to "enjoy" wearing a top hat. That you don't think that's worthy is your personal opinion not a general overview.

I was using 'enjoyment' in the legal sense. Wearing a safety helmet doesn't change the essence of the sport. Headwear does not receive a score or convey a scoring advantage; all that's necessary is for it to be permissible under the rules governing the sport.


Second of all, we know all sorts of things in our daily lives that have "proven safety measures" that can reduce risk, but we routinely choose not to do them. Wearing helmets in cars is one. Do you wear one?

(No, usually just a top hat. Maybe you've seen me in Green Hills... :lol::lol::lol:)

Very appropriate question here. If I'm driving on the road, I observe the rules of the local jurisdiction. In the US, I wear a seatbelt, I don't use the phone, I wear shoes. But in New Zealand, I don't have to wear shoes but I do have to drive on the other side of the road.

However, if I go down to the local racetrack and join a motor sport organization, I follow their rules if I want to participate in their events or drive on their track. Which means I wear a helmet certified to whatever standard they require. Again, this is a member organization issue.


It comes down to relativity. I imagine that most of you support laws making kids wear helmets when they bike. Here's what's interesting about that, if instead the promoters of those laws would spend their time, energy and money into laws requiring kids to wear helmets when they travel in cars the benefits to children would be 1000 to 10,000 fold greater than what it is when they bike.

You're merging two different issues. Bike safety is bike safety; car safety is car safety. The people promoting bicycle safety are usually individuals and organizations who are interested in promoting bicycle safety. It's their choice, their freedom of choice, to promote the causes they feel are important.

(Bicycle helmets reduce the number and severity of head injuries by up to 85% (that's an accepted statistic but I may not be expressing it properly). Kids ride bikes in great enough numbers so that the local jurisdiction has an interest in protecting those kids when they are riding bikes.)


See that's the deal. Can you give me any statistical evidence--based on upper level dressage riders--falling off, getting injured, getting a head injury--while competing and/or warming up that backs up that claim?

Your argument is too narrow.

What studies show consistently is that most injuries to riders are caused by horses being horses. 'Horse behaviour', as it's called in the studies. This includes spooking (a major cause), bucking, bolting, kicking and all the other charming things horses do.

Studies also show that while about half of all horse-related injuries (that result in ER visits) are head injuries, less than 10% of those head injuries are to people wearing helmets. Which means wearing a helmet significantly reduces your risk of injury while riding a horse.

Studies also show that expert/experienced riders have more serious injuries when they are injured in falls, which would make a stronger case for protecting UL riders.

(The big missing piece here is that we really don't know how prevalent falling is. Most falls don't result in injuries; most falls are never recorded or reported to anyone, especially not nervous spouses or parents. So it very well may be the case that expert riders fall less often but when they do fall, it's a doozy. But no one really knows.)


I remember a lot of safety discussions in the last few years lamenting how important it is that we analyze and statistically understand exactly the essence of the problems we face with the issue of XC safety then make rules and adjustments accordingly, suddenly nobody cares about that? Show me compelling facts that establish the danger to UL riders doing dressage and I'll happily jump on board.

The argument is too narrow. What we do know is that riding a horse carries with it a certain amount of risk regardless of what you are doing on the horse's back. We also know that wearing an ASTM helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury while riding a horse. That is enough for a member organization to require a basic safety protocol for participants.


Of course it's a choice, even if you think you're going to get dinged for it! Just about every event I go to I see riders on XC making safety choices and being willing to take penalties for it. If and when riders think it's a real issue they are happy to chose safety over a few points--or even not being competitive over being safe. So the question is why don't riders think it's dangerous--perhaps because there a few if any examples of UL riders ever getting hurt in dressage?

You don't have to have a body count to decide that wearing a helmet is safer than wearing a top hat. You're on a horse, you're at a competition. The risk that presents is enough to require wearing a safety helmet, given the rate of risk reduction demonstrated by the safety helmet.


Here's my point. Let's spend our limited funds, energy and good will on the things that will give us the greatest returns. There comes a point when this helmet ideology is more evangelical than logical.

But this one saves $$$. Those top hats are expensive and you don't get much use out of them. Eventers already have safety helmets.

I agree with you that this is not a place to spend much time and energy. But I also agree with mademoiselle -- riders are athletes, eventing is a sport. Our attire and safety protocols should evolve beyond 18th century millinery.

riderboy
Jan. 13, 2010, 07:58 AM
.... But I also agree with mademoiselle -- riders are athletes, eventing is a sport. Our attire and safety protocols should evolve beyond 18th century millinery.[/QUOTE]

Mademoiselle's post brings it home. A talented, beautiful rider on a lovely horse and without a helmet a totally different outcome. Again, I really can't believe it's up for debate.

frugalannie
Jan. 13, 2010, 08:57 AM
It'll NEVER happen, but here's an easy way to let people choose which will encourage safer behavior:

For any rider at any level, deduct 5 penalty points from their dressage score if they are wearing an ASTM approved helmet in dressage.

Number of points is open for debate, but this would allow the die-hard (I use the term advisedly) traditionalists to wear their hats rather than protective helmets if they want, and remove any subconscious negative score bias against those who choose to protect their noggins.

In my case, even with this, I'd have to wear several helmets at once to have it materially effect my score.;)

frugalannie
Jan. 13, 2010, 08:58 AM
And Mademoiselle, your post really touched me. I salute your courage, your love of your family and your love of horses.

Badger
Jan. 13, 2010, 11:35 AM
Thank you, thank you, Meupatdoes! I thought the helmet would mean no shadbelly as I had never read beyond the first part of that rule! So if ever make into a psg test, I can wear a shad with pride at having earned the privaledge and a helmet with pride as I believe I have a brain worth protecting.

subk
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:05 PM
(No, usually just a top hat. Maybe you've seen me in Green Hills... :lol::lol::lol:)

OMG! That was YOU!?


You're merging two different issues...Your argument is too narrow.
Only you've missed the premise of my whole argument. Yes, it is safer to wear a helmet in dressage I certainly don't question that. But does it really make sense to spend time energy and money making/coercing UL riders to wear helmets in dressage, right now? When we were all hot an heavy talking about XC safety and wanting to DO something, there was a quiet contingency out there that just wanted and suspected that we'd be hot about it until we got distracted by something else and then XC could continuing on it's same old merry way. Well they are right and here's your distraction.

I don't think I can agree on your "too narrow" argument either. As riders we regularly access risks sometimes moment by moment on such narrow frame work as "how deep is that mud" and "how many degrees is that angle." "How many UL riders have gotten hurt in dressage" is a lot broader and a lot more germane and the simple fact that the answer is "next to none" plays a big role as why UL riders aren't wearing helmets.

JER we really do need to find lunch the next time you're in town. I might even be able to put you up on a horse if you want to have a ride. Of course it might mean you have to leave the tall buildings behind and drive beyond Green Hills... Oh yeah, at my place you will be required to wear a helmet. :)

deltawave
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:11 PM
Can you give me any statistical evidence--based on upper level dressage riders--falling off, getting injured, getting a head injury--while competing and/or warming up that backs up that claim?Not to pick on subk again, but . . . :) (I am using the generic "one" to indicate this is not about her) I TOTALLY GET IT that everyone here is for helmets. But I continue to perceive--maybe incorrectly--that a lot of people really don't care if the "picture" being presented by riders in bad hats is sending a message other than "wow, pretty". I get a very different message. It's "do as I say, not as I do" or "yeah, we care about safety, but not THAT much".

Face it, how many of our trainers wear helmets flatting at home? :no:

If one will only accept statistics in numerical form to change one's mind on something like this, one will probably forever protected from having to do so, because there will probably never BE statistics (meaningful ones) kept for this sort of thing.

But we don't really have statistics for jumping horses in bad footing, either, do we? Yet "everyone knows" it's risky and probably not a great idea.

Believe me, I'm all about statistics and data when they're available, and feel that good data are better than bad data, and some data are better than no data. But to argue that in the absence of data there is not any way of identifying something as risky or potentially risky is to set up a straw man.

If one wishes to go and jump their horse on rock-hard footing, that is one's choice. Same with wearing or not wearing a helmet when the rules don't mandate it. But one would not kid oneself (I hope) that the former is perfectly safe simply because nobody's published any statistics on jumping a horse on terrible footing. One would think twice, for the sake of their horse, yes?

I think we're losing track again of the statement that could be made and the impact this statement might have on the perception of the sport and on the up-and-coming riders by having ULRs wear safe headgear in dressage. No, we can't MAKE them at this point. But what a way to put one's money where one's mouth is! :yes:

FrittSkritt
Jan. 13, 2010, 04:16 PM
(I see team penners wearing them around here; I've never seen anyone wear the Troxel western helmet).

Possibly because Western people have the same mindset as our BNRs? http://www.troxelhelmets.com/products/features.php?ProductID=36

[Link above shows that Troxel has discontinued the production of the western helmet because of its "large appearance." :rolleyes:]


Here's a disturbing piece of information: a few years ago, a junior event (15 or 16) rider told me that now that she was going Prelim, her trainer told her she "had" (not can, HAD) to wear an unapproved hunt cap. And this coming from a trainer who has had three rotational falls, one of them landing her in the hospital for nearly a month. :mad:

SevenDogs
Jan. 13, 2010, 04:53 PM
Face it, how many of our trainers wear helmets flatting at home? :no:



Actually, happy to report that my trainer wears a helmet 100% of the time at home. He didn't always, but has consistently done so for the last eight of so years to the point of going and getting a helmet if he needs to get on a student's horse unexpectedly. Part of it is because our previous BO required it (good for them!), but even though we have moved to a different facility that no longer requires it, he continues to do so, because he knows it is the right thing to do and because of the example it sets. So, I guess sometimes it does take a rule to change a habit.

He doesn't currently have an FEI horse, but he did wear the top hat in the past and I suspect he will wear the top hat again in the future when his horses move up because "it is the thing to do".

Deltawave, I agree with you on the "set an example" thing both at home and shows, but right now, it appears that the pressure to conform to tradition is stronger than the setting an example thing, and that is unfortunate.

Mademoiselle: Good for you for insisting on a helmet at the FEI level and "bucking" your trainer's poor lead. Wouldn't it be ironic if it took the amateurs leading the way for things to change?

JER
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:36 PM
Only you've missed the premise of my whole argument. Yes, it is safer to wear a helmet in dressage I certainly don't question that. But does it really make sense to spend time energy and money making/coercing UL riders to wear helmets in dressage, right now?

But it takes nothing to do this. Just this: "All competitors must wear an ASTM helmet when mounted."

That alone will greatly reduce the risk of head injuries from falls (according to data on injuries caused by falls from horses).

Here's an analogy from motor vehicle safety. Kids under 14 riding in the back seat have a 40% lower risk of injury. It's the difference between telling your kids "Shut up and get in the car" and "Shut up and get in the back seat." Assuming you have a back seat, this safety measure doesn't cost anything or require any additional safety equipment.

Eventers in competition already have ASTM helmets. It's a one-line rule change. ULRs shouldn't have to be coerced -- if they want to compete, they have to follow the rules of the organization.


I don't think I can agree on your "too narrow" argument either. As riders we regularly access risks sometimes moment by moment on such narrow frame work as "how deep is that mud" and "how many degrees is that angle." "How many UL riders have gotten hurt in dressage" is a lot broader and a lot more germane and the simple fact that the answer is "next to none" plays a big role as why UL riders aren't wearing helmets.

But pro dressage riders do get killed riding without helmets. Ricardo Amaya, for example. You can call it a 'freak accident' if you like but there's nothing 'freak' about falling from a horse. It's one of the risks inherent in riding. And we know that wearing an ASTM helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injuries from falls.


JER we really do need to find lunch the next time you're in town. I might even be able to put you up on a horse if you want to have a ride. Of course it might mean you have to leave the tall buildings behind and drive beyond Green Hills... Oh yeah, at my place you will be required to wear a helmet. :)

Offer accepted. And, BTW, I'm no fan of Green Hills. It reminds me of LA with all that traffic and, well, all those people from LA. I was spooked the first time I went into Whole Foods there and saw the same people I used to see at the Whole Foods in Santa Monica.

OverandOnward
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:36 AM
Possibly because Western people have the same mindset as our BNRs? http://www.troxelhelmets.com/products/features.php?ProductID=36

[Link above shows that Troxel has discontinued the production of the western helmet because of its "large appearance." :rolleyes:]

...And of course the best thing about this "hat" as it is described: it doesn't look like a helmet. :yes: Troxel is so wisely not calling it a "helmet."

I salute Troxel for recognizing that this is the way people do think, regardless of the way people should think. If one wants to get non-helmet wearers into helmets, as Troxel clearly does, then addressing the look is the way to do it. Top hats are so cooler-looking than helmets. :winkgrin:

The next step in helmet looks is after the helmet comes off. If someone can think of a way to avoid Helmet Hair, I would expect the sales both riding and skiing helmets to take off among more casual participants. :yes: :D

Some people don't wear helmets because they think they are uncomfortable and hot. I think manufacturers have gone a long way to address those factors.

I rather suspect that not all that many people who regularly ride without helmets do it because they think helmets aren't needed. It's other reasons. People are interesting. ;)

Sightunseen
Jan. 24, 2010, 07:21 AM
I find this really interesting conversation as I grew up obsessively riding with a helmet, and the worst riding accident Ive had was during a dressage lesson (broken femur). I ride at a barn where there are western, HJ and event riders, so I see a lot of people ride without helmets, and I never understand it, and maybe thats because I have seen so many freak accidents that I dont understand why people even risk it. I was driving down the road with a friend and saw a "Click it or Ticket" sign, and her comment was, "i dont understand why you wouldnt wear a seatbelt, it doesnt inhibit anything you need to do while you are in the car and it can save your life" at which point I looked at her and said, "Thats how I feel about wearing helmets" this friend doesnt always wear a helmet when shes on a horse and gave me a look like I was kinda crazy, but I think its the same thing, yeah most of the time when your in the car you dont need your seatbelt, but if you do get in an accident you will be dam happy you had it on. That being said, I will ride in a top hat given the opportunity, I was always told half the battle is looking the part.

mademoiselle
Mar. 4, 2010, 12:49 AM
For those that still think that you can't get hurt just riding in dressage:(

Really sad :cry::
http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=247250

Ibex
Mar. 4, 2010, 01:05 AM
I saw my trainer in a similar accident last November. Well schooled, teenaged horse simply tripped, couldn't recover and landed on her. Then kicked her in the back of the head when he scrambled to get up. Thankfully she was wearing her GPA...

KellyS
Mar. 4, 2010, 09:49 AM
This may not be the time or place for this post but I never really understood just how bad even a simple head injury could be until last summer.

I was out in the barn with my husband; I'd had surgery 3 weeks prior (abdominal laparoscopy) and wasn't feeling that great. Next thing I knew I "came to" outside the barn, laying on my back. I had no idea what had happened...I just kept telling Aaron that I needed to go in the house and get a shower so I could go to work.

Turned out that I'd basically fainted and fallen out the front door of the barn. Aaron saw me start to go down and caught my arm but I still hit my head badly on a rock, slicing the back of my ear open. He said I was having seizures and stopped breathing. There was a moment when he was trying to decide what to do--run in the house and call 911 because he didn't have his cell phone on, or start CPR--and that's when I started to wake up.

He drove me to the hospital (in hindsight he should have called 911), mainly because I was bleeding from the cut and needed stitches. Well, 3 days later I finally got out of the ICU at a different hospital...I'd had a CT and spinal tap and the doctors were worried about a subarachnoid hemorrhage. So I'd been transported to the region's trauma center and was in ICU until they could do an angiogram.

Eight months later I'm finally feeling back to my old self...I had terrible vertigo, headaches, memory loss, and speech impairments that I struggled through during the rest of the summer and fall. And this was from a relatively "minor" head injury in the scheme of things.

I never ride without a helmet, but this drove the message home...why would I want to risk going through something like this when it could be prevented? It is so not worth it. Of course, I'm still getting the "you just need to wear a helmet all the time in the barn" jokes. Not that it's a laughing matter...freak accidents can happen at any time and anything you can do to avoid lasting trauma should be done.

asterix
Mar. 4, 2010, 10:12 AM
Very sad news about Courtney, thanks for posting that.
The folks on that thread are understandably touchy about the helmet question in that particular context, but I must admit I am very very interested in whether she was wearing a helmet.

I find it baffling that so many serious dressage riders consistently ride without helmets; this is NOT just about the top hat wars, but at home. We all know it happens; it seems almost the norm from my modest exposure to upper level dressage facilities.

Eventers can set an example at the upper levels. I wish they would.

Mademoiselle, I hope you will post pictures of your FEI debut. You are quite right; if all they have to complain about is your headgear, right on, woman!!!

whicker
Mar. 4, 2010, 10:31 AM
Back in the 70's-80's, a long time ago I know, most of the upper level riders wore frock coats or short coats with helmets. At the first 2 Ledyards, that was the norm. Princess Anne was the first one that I saw in the shadbelly and top hat. Of course, then we all wanted to look like her and maybe her good scores would rub off on us.

PonyGal08
Mar. 4, 2010, 11:16 AM
Very sad news about Courtney, thanks for posting that.
The folks on that thread are understandably touchy about the helmet question in that particular context, but I must admit I am very very interested in whether she was wearing a helmet.

She was not wearing one.

asterix
Mar. 4, 2010, 11:20 AM
Thank you, PG.

Eventer55
Mar. 5, 2010, 07:54 AM
I saw my trainer in a similar accident last November. Well schooled, teenaged horse simply tripped, couldn't recover and landed on her. Then kicked her in the back of the head when he scrambled to get up. Thankfully she was wearing her GPA...


Well, I thought I would never talk about this again, but I too saw a dressage trainer and friend of mine get bucked off, the horse landed on her and stepped on her head when he got up. Unlike Ibex's trainer, this girl was not wearing a helmet. Almost 5 years later she is a ward of the state and in a permanent vegatative state. she sustained no other injuries, not even a bruise.

If you don't wear a helmet in a competition you take a calculated chance, but to ride a green horse or school at home or at a show why not lower the odds and wear one?

It took me a long time to get the image of her and what happened to her head (there wasn't much left) out of my mind when I ride. You have to personally see this type of accident to understand.

I never tell anyone I ride with to wear a helmet, but I wonder why they don't.

retreadeventer
Mar. 5, 2010, 08:27 AM
It's not just dressage ULR's without ASTM helmets.

At the recent USET/Event squad training sessions, MANY eventing ULR's were riding without ASTM helmets. Including the coach of the team.

AND here's another point. You can get a concussion while WEARING an ASTM helmet. The helmet ****doesn't prevent injury, period****. (It may lessen it, but it doesn't prevent a concussion if you hit hard enough. I think this is an important point missing in this discussion.)

That is, in my opinion, one of the reasons that the rule will not be changed. It is also my opinion, that leads to reluctance of riders whose image is their bread and butter (sponsors?) to buck the system. Being "different" doesn't get you much, except perhaps a mention or two on a public bulletin board, but being a winner gets you sponsors, money, good horses, good owners and a chance at a team, and a chance at a medal, which is a lifelong goldmine.

I worry about wearing a helmet all the time. I wonder if it will protect me if I fall, and check mine all the time, and am always looking in catalogs at the new models to see if they might be more comfortable or protect better than what I have currently. I think it is the single most expensive thing I use when I ride, because I only buy boots once every 5 years, but I think I buy a helmet about once a year and have several. Every good rider I know does the same. I think most people are very responsible about helmets and I think most competitive riders "get the message".

BUT I KNOW it's just prevention, and not a cure.

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
Mar. 5, 2010, 10:04 AM
I guess we just assume that if you can make it around the upper level xc courses that you should be able to hold on in dressage :lol:....

But on a more serious note there is a risk associated with not wearing helmets because all horses can have a freak fall in dressage and the rider no matter how good may get hurt. But that is highly unlikely so :yes: I do know some people that choose to warm-up with a helmet then ditch it in the ring for their top hat on their more wild horses.

La Chasse
Mar. 5, 2010, 10:21 AM
Retreadeventer: you are correct about astm-sei helmets not preventing concussions- i sustained one last year while wearing my approved CO.

many people don't know about "second impact syndrome", where a person sustains another concussion before recovering from the first, setting them up for serious neuro complications or mortality. furthermore, multiple concussions over one's lifetime increase the severity & likelihood of perm. neuro deficits. this is why providers enforce return-to-play time frames, i.e. riding in any form, varying from a week to one month to several months, based upon sx, severity etc.

many people have shared horrific accidents, proving how delicate the balance between normal & morbidity/mortality, e.g. slipping and hitting head on a rock, spooky horse that tosses you onto your head. all of these are akin to physical abuse, shaken baby syndrome, near-drowning, basically any sort of anoxic, hypoxic, or traumatic event that f-s with your brain.

all of my patients get questioned about their sports safety attire during f/u or new pt appts, and i describe life as a vegetable if they don't wear it and get a TBI. when pts scoff, esp peds, i show them my bte hearing aid and explain my permanent unilateral hearing loss, severe vertigo, & hx of multiple concussions b/c of a severe head injury from a helmet-less fall. then i ask them, if they think that's cool, then what do they think of diapers, trachs & drool??

JER
Mar. 5, 2010, 10:21 AM
Quoting myself from earlier in this thread:


Studies also show that while about half of all horse-related injuries (that result in ER visits) are head injuries, less than 10% of those head injuries are to people wearing helmets. Which means wearing a helmet significantly reduces your risk of injury while riding a horse.

So while no helmet will protect you against all possible injuries, the numbers are very much in favor of wearing a helmet.

From Nancy Jaffer (http://www.equisearch.com/equiwire_news/nancy_jaffer/courtney_king_dye_injured_in_fall_030410/?imw=Y):


Courtney often wears a helmet, but she was not in this instance. Lendon said that for the last 15 years of her riding career, she wore a helmet and hoped she could encourage others to do the same, but helmets are rarely seen at a dressage show.

Another Grand Prix rider Heather Blitz has started a campaign that urges dressage riders to wear helmets, as she requires her students to do.

Citing the need for dressage riders to acknowledge the inherent risks of being on a horse, she said, "Courtney's accident reminds us all how vulnerable we are around horses.

"We cannot foresee these tragedies, but we can take measures to safeguard ourselves, not only for us as riders but for the sake of our loved ones. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Courtney and her family as she faces this medical challenge and we wish her a full and speedy recovery. As professionals in a sport we all love, we owe it to each other to learn from this and further promote safe practice."

Former U.S. dressage chef d'equipe Jessica Ransehousen said she spoke with dressage judges on the derby grounds today and they were recommending that people wear helmets.

Ravencrest_Camp
Mar. 5, 2010, 11:25 AM
There are certain battles to fight. In my case I trust my trainers. When they say something I tend to do it. Yes, I will go against them at times (e.g. veterinary care, some training techniques) but in this case it is not a battle worth fighting as they both have done dressage at the top FEI levels. They know the game. I don't.

Reed

Presumably, your trainers having done the top FEI levels would be well versed in veteriary care and training techniques.

Interesting that you would choose to go against them in these areas, but not in the area of wearing a protective helmet.

RAyers
Mar. 5, 2010, 11:54 AM
Presumably, your trainers having done the top FEI levels would be well versed in veteriary care and training techniques.

Interesting that you would choose to go against them in these areas, but not in the area of wearing a protective helmet.

Not really, I worked in veterinary hospitals as well as doing medical research. There are a lot of areas where I am way more up to date than my trainers, and in some cases even the vets.

As for training, I know my horse. There are times where I feel something that the trainer can not see. So I have to advocate for my horse.

Just because a person has ridden at the top FEI levels does not make them an expert in all aspects. However they do know the POLITICS of the sport and this was one area where I chose to give way. It also goes to the fact that while now I do wear a helmet whenever I ride, it wasn't until about 6 years ago that I started.

You may call me a hypocrite and be accurate. But as time goes I am changing.

Reed

JER
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:51 AM
From Robert Dover's blog (http://doversworld.com/blog/2010/03/06/palm-beach-derby-day-2/):


First, I want to say how much I admire Jacquie Brooks for her decision to ride both her Grand Prix tests with her crash helmet instead of her top hat today. And here is my prediction. Within a couple of months, some enterprising person is going to create and market a helmet cover made out of a nylon material over a semi firm but crush-able mesh which will fit over the helmet with velcro or elastic and will look like a top hat. the only difference will be that it will look a bit big andhave a chin strap. Men will be allowed to give a military salute which will be so much nicer when riding hot horses which don’t like to stand still easily. FYI, in case you are out there ready to create the prototype and want to make me a partner in the business, I’m ready to invest.


Too bad it takes a person in a coma to make this happen. But regardless, this is good news that someone is willing to take a strong stand for safety.

Also, both Robert Dover and Lendon Gray have been remarkably generous, honest and open in their remarks about CKD's accident and injuries. They are a huge credit to their sport.

alicen
Mar. 7, 2010, 06:28 AM
Mademoiselle wrote: "I love traditions, but honnestly if we really want people to realize that horseback riding is a sport, it's time to start dressing up like athletes, not penguins going to a formal event."


Yeah, I wish those who view dressage as an art or ballet on horseback would wear berets or tutus.

RunForIt
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:45 AM
For what its worth - 10 weeks ago I was ejected from Rasta like a lawn dart, landed on my head, broke my C2 vertabra on both sides, and DID NOT HAVE A CONCUSSION...I was wearing my helmet.

The argument can easily be made that some sort of luck or divine intervention played a role in both the following: no concussion and no paralysis. I prefer to increase the odds of health and happiness by wearing a helmet. Which reminds me, I need to send in my accident report to Charles Owen...

RunForIt
Mar. 7, 2010, 08:57 AM
:) I TOTALLY GET IT that everyone here is for helmets. But I continue to perceive--maybe incorrectly--that a lot of people really don't care if the "picture" being presented by riders in bad hats is sending a message other than "wow, pretty". I get a very different message. It's "do as I say, not as I do" or "yeah, we care about safety, but not THAT much".

Face it, how many of our trainers wear helmets flatting at home? :no:

If one will only accept statistics in numerical form to change one's mind on something like this, one will probably forever protected from having to do so, because there will probably never BE statistics (meaningful ones) kept for this sort of thing.

I think we're losing track again of the statement that could be made and the impact this statement might have on the perception of the sport and on the up-and-coming riders by having ULRs wear safe headgear in dressage. No, we can't MAKE them at this point. But what a way to put one's money where one's mouth is! :yes:

I've done just that, Lynn - put my money where my mouth is and at least in this instance - it worked.

Here's the short version of the story. Young ULR was schooling my horse on the flat - no helmet. I walked into her barn and brought out her helmit; she declined to put it on. I gently, but firmly told her that unless she wore the helmet, she would need to get off my horse and I was not going to pay her - there would not be any more rides. Helmet went on...money talks.

riderboy
Mar. 7, 2010, 09:56 AM
The psychology behind not wearing a helmet has really fascinated me. With this recent tragedy involving a popular, talented rider perhaps the bottom has been reached and people will break this incredible denial that it can't or won't happen to them. It just makes no sense at all,none,zero,zip nada to not wear a helmet.

UNCeventer
Mar. 7, 2010, 01:18 PM
The rule requiring all mounted exhibitors to wear ASTM approved helmets passed in 2005. This means that even when not in a class an approved helmet must be worn on the show grounds.
Prior to 2005 the rule required protective headgear in any jumping class or when jumping on the competition grounds but the rule book still mentioned top hats or silk hats in the hunter classic section. But the Hunter Classic section also mentioned that protective helemts could be worn without penalty.

In 2007 vests were added to the rule to indicate there was no penalty for wearing one.

For Junior riders the ASTM approved rule has been in effect for I guess decades.

Too bad ppl dont adhere to the rules. I was in Culpeper this past summer 2009 and there were more ppl without helmets, than with them. Not sure if they also put in that rule that the chin straps must be done up- they should.

Spartacus
Apr. 24, 2010, 02:30 AM
OK, EVERYONE--It's time to cough up the money! See pictures of Allison Springer wearing a helmet (and looking absolutely beautiful) at Rolex!!

deltawave
Apr. 24, 2010, 08:03 AM
Money is being coughed, never fear. :) See some of the other threads. Trying to make it more of a public thing, however, first. :yes: