PDA

View Full Version : USEF Dressage Helmet Rule



silence_ridewell
Feb. 4, 2011, 02:40 PM
Since no one wants to take this on and I have posted on other threads....going to hit it!

Please do not reply if your knee jerk reaction is to protect everyone from everything. Only respond if you can contribute in a constructive way to this conversation.

For those unaware, USEF has enacted a new rule for riding helmets for dressage effective Mar. 1. Helmets for dressage have always been allowed through Grand Prix. Now all riders (regardless of age or competency) are required if they are showing in the national levels. If only riding FEI level (at a national rated show) they do not have to wear one...

This is the same organization who has tried to put into place competency requirements for riders to be able to move up the levels and has been "shot down" so to speak when members were outraged.

My comments are as follows:


Why stop with just dressage regarding the new helmet rule? Why not require it for all equestrian sports? How about those vaulters? They aren’t even claiming to be riders! What about when dressage is being offered at breed specific shows (i.e. Arabian, Morgan, Andalusian/Lusitano, etc.)? Are the competitors only supposed to wear helmets when they are warming up for their dangerous dressage rides? What about the claim that dressage horses represent the most highly trained horses in the competition world? Why would a rider need to wear a helmet on the most highly trained horse?

The ludicrousness of this requirement is on a par with the government telling McDonalds what to serve their customers. What has possessed USEF to implement such an inane rule? Is this new rule going to lower the insurance premiums for dressage competitions? Is this new rule going to make riding horses safer? Does this rule actually increase the liability exposure for competitions? It might actually, if one assumes wearing a helmet does indeed make the riders safer. Now, when they do get injured while riding, it must be due to management not providing a safe riding environment. The rule also requires the rider to have the harness fastened and properly adjusted. Does this mean the rider should go to the show Technical Delegate and ask them to properly adjust their helmet harness and thereby increase the show and the Technical Delegate’s liability? What about during the heat of the summer? What happens when a rider suffers heat stroke due to wearing a helmet as required?

The sad part of this is what it actually does, it silences dissidence by claiming the reason is for “safety”. No one wants to appear to be against safety. This is the same tactic politicians use when they are endorsing certain policies. For example, they say a policy to broaden governmental intrusion into people’s lives (and personal choices), such as the above mentioned McDonalds dilemma, is to protect children. No one wants to “hurt the children”.

It seems the main drive behind this decision/rule was the injury of US Dressage Olympian Courtney King-Dye. This is a case of an unfortunate accident which happened at her personal riding location. It did not happen at a competition and wearing a helmet may or may not have prevented or lessened the nature of her injuries. If one wants to hear expert testimony from doctors trained in the nature of her specific injury as to whether or not a helmet would have helped then we can have an intelligent conversation about helmets. Until then this is just a knee jerk reaction to a complex issue.

The fact of the matter is, unless USEF discloses the injury statistics for all recognized competitions and proves Dressage shows actually have a higher rate of injury, there is NO reason for this new rule. It is an adult choice to wear or not to wear a helmet and USEF unfortunately has taken a position of treating adults like children.

MeghanDACVA
Feb. 4, 2011, 05:44 PM
Just a "knee jerk response" to your comment about heat stroke while wearing helmets in the heat....
I event, and live in OK so compete in hot areas all summer.
We eventers have been required to wear approved helmets for eons in jumping. I have yet to see any rider collapse from heat stroke on cross coutnry, even in long formats.
Many of us have shown the dressage phase in approved helmets for years. Never seen a case of heat stroke.

Wimpy me never gets on a horse without a helmet, and I ride in triple digits, in the sun, in the humidity, and have never collapsed from heat stroke.

Helmets are ventilated :-) Oh, and you can put small ice packs in them to keep you even cooler than riding without one.

Ibex
Feb. 4, 2011, 05:52 PM
Clearly the OP has never never dealt with someone with a brain injury, OR been in a position of hosting an event where liability has come into play.

yaya
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:04 PM
It's not the helmets that give you heat stroke - it's the damn wool coats.

inca
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:13 PM
It's not the helmets that give you heat stroke - it's the damn wool coats.

That's exactly what I was thinking! Although around here they do waive coats when it is hot.

I figure we follow all sorts of arbitrary rules (white breeches, braided manes, etc.) so what is the big deal if we have to follow a rule that is actually based on safety.

I was always in the "it's my choice to wear a helmet or not" camp but did start to rethink things after Courtney's accident. I ordered a Charles Owen AYR8 and LOVE it. It is honestly NOT any hotter than riding in the baseball cap I used to ride in. It is very comfy and I actually wore it at the last 2 shows I did. So, no big deal to me - I will just keep wearing it at shows.

Janet
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:29 PM
What makes you think that the people who did not respond when you posted on other threads are going to respond now, just because it is a new thread?

dressurpferd01
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:34 PM
Waitwaitwait...there's now a helmet rule for the new season?! When the FRACK did this happen!?

dwblover
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:36 PM
I posted a response to you on dressage-news.com. I'm the first response under front page news USEF helmet rule-responses.

spirithorse
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:38 PM
Effective March 1, 2011, the following rules apply to Dressage Competitions and Regular Competitions holding Dressage classes:

1. Riders under age 18 must wear protective headgear, as defined by DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801, at all times while mounted on the competition grounds. This includes non-competing riders as well as those competing at any level.

2. While on horses competing in national level tests (Fourth Level and below), riders must wear protective headgear as defined by DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801, at all times while mounted on the competition grounds. This includes non-competing riders on horses competing in national level tests.

3. While on horses competing in USEF or FEI Young Horse Tests, and FEI Junior Tests, riders must wear protective headgear as defined by DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801, at all times while mounted on the competition grounds.

4. All riders competing in Para-Equestrian tests must wear protective headgear at all times while mounted on the competition grounds. Riders who compete in PE tests must wear protective headgear on every horse they ride, no matter the level or test.

5. All riders of any age while on non-competing horses must wear protective headgear at all times while mounted on the competition grounds.

6. All riders under age 18 and all riders while on horses competing in national level tests, who choose to wear Armed Services or police uniform, must wear protective headgear as defined in DR120.5 and in compliance with GR801 at all times while mounted on the competition grounds. Riders age 18 and over who wear Armed Services or police uniform on horses that are competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above must wear either protective headgear or the appropriate military/police cap or hat for their branch of service.

7. When a horse is competing in both national and FEI levels or tests (e.g. Fourth Level and PSG), the rider must wear protective headgear at all times when mounted on that horse on the competition grounds and during all tests.

8. While on horses that are competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above (including FEI Young Rider Tests, the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges Test and the USEF Brentina Cup Test), riders age 18 and over are not required to wear protective headgear in warm up or during competition. However, these riders may wear protective headgear without penalty from the judge.

9. In FEI-recognized (CDI, CDI-Y, CDI-J, CDI-P, etc.) classes, FEI rules take precedence and protective headgear is permitted but not required.

10. All riders while on horses competing in national level classes such as Equitation, Materiale and DSHB Under Saddle are required to wear protective headgear at all times when mounted on the competition grounds.

MelantheLLC
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:39 PM
This member is not outraged. Sorry. Non-issue. If you don't want to wear a helmet under these rules, you don't have to show.

Velvet
Feb. 4, 2011, 06:46 PM
Please stop feeding the troll.

dressurpferd01
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:32 PM
So does this apply to only juniors? Or is it applying to all of us?

inca
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:37 PM
It applies to everyone showing 4th level and below. USEF sent out an e-mail regarding this a week or so ago.

HenryisBlaisin'
Feb. 4, 2011, 08:52 PM
Clearly the OP has never never dealt with someone with a brain injury, OR been in a position of hosting an event where liability has come into play.

Apparently the OP is also independently wealthy if he/she doesn't mind paying inflated insurance premiums to cover medical expenses for uninsured people doing irresponsible things. Personally,I think helmets should be mandatory in all "High-risk" activities until there is legislation that releases insurance companies from paying their bills if they choose not to take the precaution of a helmet. Then it can be optional.

I applaud the rule. Yes, OP, even the most highly trained horses in the world are still HORSES. They trip, they spook, they suffer catastrophic illness or injury and go down. They aren't machines. Accidents happen, and a catastrophic brain injury is not a broken bone that will knit in six weeks-some people NEVER recover.

It's hot here in the summer. HOT hot. But I don't know anyone who has half a brain who has suffered from heat related issues solely related to wearing a helmet. We use common sense and take proper precautions.

spirithorse
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:17 PM
EVERY time I get on a horse the helmet is atop my head. Safety not fashion. One concussion taught me.

So if you do not wear a helmet, be prepared for the consequences and don't whine when it happens.

SPatterson
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:20 PM
I am normally a lurker, but my four previous concussions--two of them obtained while riding "highly trained" horses!--and I just wanted to come say hi. ;) OP, it's not gonna kill you to wear a stupid helmet. You can even buy a super duper special dressage helmet now! They have wider brims, or something. I don't know but they're purty and they cost eleventy billion dollars. Have at it!

I too shouted the McDonalds comparisons from the rooftop until I cracked my oh-so-cool ball-capped head for the fourth time. I am really lucky to be alive and well and typing this.

Also not to play oversimplified devil's advocate, but don't you kind of lose some credibility as an athlete when you spend a whole bunch of paragraphs whining about not getting to wear your pretty hat?

Sorry if I'm out of line here. Must be the post-TBI migraines making me grouchy. :p

kdow
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:40 PM
Sorry if I'm out of line here. Must be the post-TBI migraines making me grouchy. :p

... TBIs can give you migraines?

I need to go and make sure I have at least two extra helmets on hand at all times Just In Case so I never have to be without one.

(I already get migraines - miserable miserable things. Do not want them to be any more frequent.)

dghunter
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:49 PM
Wait, wait, wait, there's a helmet rule?! Helmets are required?! :lol::lol:

On a more serious note, I've had some experiences with a person who suffered a TBI. I ALWAYS wear a helmet and my trainers always wear one at home but not at shows. Now they'll be wearing ones at shows too and hopefully I'll have less cause for concern. I NEVER want to see another person with a TBI as long as I live. It's absolutely devastating to everyone involved. It's not just yourself you're effecting, it's all of your family and friends as well. I learned that first hand when my old trainer's son was in a car accident. It hit us all and I'll never forget it as long as I live.

Are helmets going to protect against everything? No. Can they hurt you in certain instances? Sure in a very few select instances. However, studies have proven time and time again that helmets do protect you. I've seen numerous accidents where the helmet cracked but the rider was fine. We also opened up a helmet once after a girl fell and hit her head :eek::eek:

Janet
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:49 PM
Waitwaitwait...there's now a helmet rule for the new season?! When the FRACK did this happen!?
At the USEF meeting.

RAyers
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:50 PM
The ludicrousness of this requirement is on a par with the government telling McDonalds what to serve their customers. ...

What about during the heat of the summer? What happens when a rider suffers heat stroke due to wearing a helmet as required?

...

If one wants to hear expert testimony from doctors trained in the nature of her specific injury as to whether or not a helmet would have helped then we can have an intelligent conversation about helmets. Until then this is just a knee jerk reaction to a complex issue.

The fact of the matter is, unless USEF discloses the injury statistics for all recognized competitions and proves Dressage shows actually have a higher rate of injury, there is NO reason for this new rule. It is an adult choice to wear or not to wear a helmet and USEF unfortunately has taken a position of treating adults like children.


My knee jerk reaction is that you present a bunch of false and misleading ideas disguised as solid justifications. To whit:

The McDonald's case was a civil action and as such nobody from the "government" told anybody anything.

Have you ever worked in a steel mill or metal foundry? When we do a steel or aluminum pour we are working in a furnace that runs about 1500 F in full leathers and aluminized suits, and, oh, yea, helmets. It makes 90 F summer riding look like cake walk. The key is good hydration and paying attention to your body. In my safety lectures it is pretty easy to get the point across and we have not had any heat stroke cases even after spending 2-3 hours in full get up.

Expert testimony? How about decades of PUBLISHED SCIENTIFIC and CLINICAL data showing the benefits of helmets in HORSEBACK riding (references provided upon request).

I absolutely agree with the USEF. When you try to hold an unconscious person still while they seize after a fall and their helmet was tossed to the side, or hearing a friend killed due to a head injury when their old hunt cap crushed... well then you can come and talk to me.

I too refused to wear a helmet but a wonderful woman told me that if I want to date her I had no choice but to wear one every time I ride. That was 7 years ago and I still do (date her and ride in an approved helmet). Of course when I did the FEI divisions I would wear a dressage cap or top hat. But now I am happy to wear my helmet instead and happily retire my top hat to the trailer and will bring it out for pictures.

Reed

dwblover
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:04 PM
LOVE your post Reed! I am proud of USEF for taking a stand on this one!!

asterix
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:30 PM
You guys! With your logic, and data. Geez.

Didn't you read what the OP wrote? Dressage horses are the "most highly trained in the competition world."

Therefore, helmets are superfluous! Nothing could possibly go wrong, no horse this highly trained will ever trip, spook at a bulldozer (or an errant leaf), or have a brain aneurysm.

It's a sport. It's not like other sports, um, require...safety gear...in case...some highly trained athlete...

oh, never mind.

meupatdoes
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:15 PM
Wow, a veritable treasure trove of logic flaws here.

Let's see...


Since no one wants to take this on and I have posted on other threads....going to hit it!

Please do not reply if your knee jerk reaction is to protect everyone from everything. Only respond if you can contribute in a constructive way to this conversation.
ie if we agree with you?

For those unaware, USEF has enacted a new rule for riding helmets for dressage effective Mar. 1. Helmets for dressage have always been allowed through Grand Prix. Now all riders (regardless of age or competency) are required if they are showing in the national levels. If only riding FEI level (at a national rated show) they do not have to wear one...

This is the same organization who has tried to put into place competency requirements for riders to be able to move up the levels and has been "shot down" so to speak when members were outraged.

My comments are as follows:


Why stop with just dressage regarding the new helmet rule? Why not require it for all equestrian sports?
why not? what exactly is your logical point here?
How about those vaulters? They aren’t even claiming to be riders! What about when dressage is being offered at breed specific shows (i.e. Arabian, Morgan, Andalusian/Lusitano, etc.)? Are the competitors only supposed to wear helmets when they are warming up for their dangerous dressage rides? What about the claim that dressage horses represent the most highly trained horses in the competition world? Why would a rider need to wear a helmet on the most highly trained horse?
those showjumpers hopping over 5'+ oxers aren't trained? are dressage horses not as trained because they don't jump?

The ludicrousness of this requirement is on a par with the government telling McDonalds what to serve their customers.
are you referring to calorie counts? because those just compel Mickey Dees to PROVIDE INFORMATION about what they are serving. do all those nutrition labels on everything in the grocery store bother you too? or do you like to know what you're eating?
What has possessed USEF to implement such an inane rule? Is this new rule going to lower the insurance premiums for dressage competitions?
possibly
Is this new rule going to make riding horses safer?
yes, marginally, if the person now wearing the helmet is one who otherwise would not have. if the person would have been wearing a helmet anyway the rule did not change their behavior, so those guys will be equally as safe as they were before.
Does this rule actually increase the liability exposure for competitions? no
It might actually, if one assumes wearing a helmet does indeed make the riders safer.
no, actually. your logic completely flew off the tracks there.
Now, when they do get injured while riding, it must be due to management not providing a safe riding environment. no, it could be due to any number of reasons. when someone falls off a horse and doesn't hit their head but breaks their hip, does this mean the footing is good because they weren't wearing a hip protector? when somebody who is wearing a boot with a heel injures their pinkie, is this because management didn't provide a safe riding environment?
The rule also requires the rider to have the harness fastened and properly adjusted. Does this mean the rider should go to the show Technical Delegate and ask them to properly adjust their helmet harness and thereby increase the show and the Technical Delegate’s liability? What about during the heat of the summer? What happens when a rider suffers heat stroke due to wearing a helmet as required? what happens when a rider suffers heat stroke because they are wearing a top hat and tails as required?

The sad part of this is what it actually does, it silences dissidence the word you are looking for is "dissent" by claiming the reason is for “safety”. No one wants to appear to be against safety. This is the same tactic politicians use when they are endorsing certain policies. For example, they say a policy to broaden governmental intrusion into people’s lives (and personal choices), such as the above mentioned McDonalds dilemma, is to protect children. No one wants to “hurt the children”.
plenty of people have no problems being against safety. the week after Columbine the NRA held a gun ralley. lots of people showed up to cheer.

It seems the main drive behind this decision/rule was the injury of US Dressage Olympian Courtney King-Dye. This is a case of an unfortunate accident which happened at her personal riding location. It did not happen at a competition and wearing a helmet may or may not have prevented or lessened the nature of her injuries. If one wants to hear expert testimony from doctors trained in the nature of her specific injury as to whether or not a helmet would have helped then we can have an intelligent conversation about helmets. Until then this is just a knee jerk reaction to a complex issue.there is no requirement that the USEF's new rule be directly correlated to CKD's accident, though it is likely that it was influenced by her accident. influence =/= a requirement of direct and scientifically verified correlation

The fact of the matter is, unless USEF discloses the injury statistics for all recognized competitions and proves Dressage shows actually have a higher rate of injury, there is NO reason for this new rule. the statistical comparison that is apposite here has nothing to do with a comparison between the disciplines. the reason for the new rule is that, overall, regardless of discipline (with the exception, some say, of vaulting) there is a lower risk of injury when a participant in equestrian sport is wearing a helmet. meanwhile, if USEF wants to require all dressage riders to wear pink tutus, they can do so at whim, regardless of whether it makes riders more safe, less safe, or no difference. their sandbox, their rules.
It is an adult choice to wear or not to wear a helmet and USEF unfortunately has taken a position of treating adults like children. nobody is forcing you to show at USEF shows. i personally hate the stock tie. feel free to have your own shows at your place. hire a judge, put pamphlets up at the tackstore and if you want to require all participants to ride entirely naked, it's your show and your rules. no one is making you come play in USEF's sandbox.

katie+tru
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:41 PM
While I am mildly disappointed at the disappearance of many top hats (sorry, but I just love the image) I am not that peeved with this. I look at it as "protecting people from themselves". There are some real loonies out there who, while they can compete at the FEI levels quite well, are NOT trainers. They do not know how to ride a horse that isn't finished, but instead is squirrely, jumpy, and quite unpredictable. You fall off these horses much more easily then a finished FEI master. It happens. That's life. But some people don't realize that. They believe that if they can ride a GP test than they can get on any horse, without a helmet, and me a-okay. Not so, no so. There's a reason why many top level riders and "trainers" actually have another person breaking and doing the first rides on youngsters... because they can't.

Helmets protect us from our how "human-ness". As humans, we make mistakes, we make bad calls. It happens. But it can kill us. Wearing a helmet is just a little buffer for those moments when the human factor kicks in.

BetterOffRed
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:49 PM
Wow. this stupid helmet rule for dressage just seems to be spreading like wild fire. I just can't imagine why????

http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/newsdisplay/viewPR.aspx?id=6594&star=true

http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2011/02/04/us-makes-protective-hats-mandatory

horsefaerie
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:05 AM
Well, considering injuries suffered in auto accidents, I think whenever you drive, you should wear a helmet.

Professional drivers do, why not us?

I have to say western classes just wouldn't look the same with helmets.

Watching bull riders in helmets would be interesting too.

Saddleseat will take on a new look as well.

Driving classes! What a new and interesting look that will be! I wonder what sort of clothes these other disciplines will start to wear.

Oh, wait! It is only for dressage riders.

I have to say, I somewhat agree with the OP. I just do not like an organization treating its members like they have no say.

Not that I want to see anyone hurt or lives devastated or anything else.

Having a difference of opinion does not make someone a troll.

SPatterson
Feb. 5, 2011, 08:30 AM
Well, considering injuries suffered in auto accidents, I think whenever you drive, you should wear a helmet.

Professional drivers do, why not us?

Helmets might not be the best parallel--but you are, in fact, required by law to wear a seat belt when you drive.

I have to say western classes just wouldn't look the same with helmets.

Psshh. Put some silver on 'em, they'll look fine.

Watching bull riders in helmets would be interesting too.

I don't know much about bull riding, but I know I remember seeing some major televised events where the bull riders were in helmets and protective vests. Definitely didn't look weird. Getting on a giant bucking bull without anything on your head but a cowboy hat? THAT's weird. :yes:

Saddleseat will take on a new look as well.

A low-profile velvet helmet isn't gonna wreck anyone's aesthetic. But I have seen a LOT of people in the gaited community wreck their heads. (grew up riding at a TWH show barn)

Driving classes! What a new and interesting look that will be! I wonder what sort of clothes these other disciplines will start to wear.

I'm pretty sure I've seen helmets in driving classes before. It's really not even a noteworthy difference in appearance.

Oh, wait! It is only for dressage riders.

I have to say, I somewhat agree with the OP. I just do not like an organization treating its members like they have no say.

Like they don't have a say about restrictions on bits, boots, breeches, coats, glove color, whip length, etc.? Really?

Poody
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:04 AM
horsefaerie
Well, considering injuries suffered in auto accidents, I think whenever you drive, you should wear a helmet.

Professional drivers do, why not us?
If you drive a little compact, maybe a helmet would be a good idea



Watching bull riders in helmets would be interesting too.

Many bull riders DO wear helmets, along with face grills..so do many bronc riders. Of course if more dressage horses would dump their riders and then turn around and come back to trample them... helmets would have come along years ago !

Personally, I prefer to ride with a ball cap and tennis shoes..in all disciplines including jumping... however as an adult, and someone who other people look up to ( not to mention now having kids want to watch become adults) I wear the helmet/boots every.single.ride. and keep an assortment of helmets at the barn just incase someone "forgot" theirs or a guest is here.. no helmet no ride...trust me that includes world class riders.

Court is not the first rider I know that was on a horse walking,that tripped and left the rider in a coma. She is the 4th. Accidents can happen to anyone,at anytime.

A helmet doesn't make you ride worse or make your horse less talented. Save your topper for nice photgraphs and portraits. Evolve.

ToN Farm
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:06 AM
Oh, wait! It is only for dressage riders. It's mostly because of CDK, whether people want to believe/admit that or not. There were probably some rule change proposals out there before her accident, but I don't believe the rule would have ever passed if it had not been for her accident.

I think it will be quite a while before the other equestrian disciplines require helmets. It depends on who is on their committee. I'll bet if the western and saddle seat riders voted right now, it would be against helmets.

There are just so few dressage show accidents involving TBI's (are there any? any statistics on this?). What has more risk, a dressage rider getting a TBI at a show riding w/o a helmet, or an event rider getting seriously injured wearing a helmet and a vest? You know it's the latter. Maybe we should just ban eventing and prevent all those injuries and horse deaths. It's getting that ridiculous with all these rules.


I have to say, I somewhat agree with the OP. I just do not like an organization treating its members like they have no say. I've questioned that before. As far as I know, the usef/usdf members do not have a say (vote) in rule change proposals. I think we should. I still think the helmet rule would have passed, because the majority of members are low level riders that wear helmets.


Having a difference of opinion does not make someone a troll. It seems to on this board. It's a shame that someone has to create an alter when they have a very unpopular opinion.

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:36 AM
I don't really see what the big hoopla is about - some equestrian disciplines already require protective headgear (Combined Training, Jumping, etc), personally I do think they should move toward requiring it in all equestrian sports and have NO problem with the dressage change.

Yes, I do think it will help with liability costs for host facilities. Will it eliminate liability costs - no way, but anything that helps, even a little bit, is a positive step. And heat stroke? Its already been said - those crazy dark wool jackets (and tall boots) are a bigger issue then a helmet. I live in a hot climate - we often see temps over 100 in July and August - helmet doesn't bother me at all - the newer helmets are lightweight, ventilated, and they fit so well, I sometimes forget I'm wearing a helmet.

If you don't like the rule - you have an option - don't show! If you are going to show, follow the rules - which require certain dress and equipment rules.

Things can go wrong quickly on a horse - even the best riders have falls. A helmet can mean the difference between life and death - or between a concussion versus severe permanent brain injury. If you don't want to wear a helmet at home, that is your choice, but the minute you step foot on show grounds (or clinic grounds), you follow someone else's rules.

Knee jerk? Sure, but really, so is the OP's post...

horseaholic
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:49 AM
In my humble opinion. The helmet rule is a slow inching toward up dating the attire to become more sporty and athletic. It appears that the biggest objection to helmets is "the look". The market will emerge with a classical helmet. They just need to sponsor a BNT.
I also agree with YaYa. It's the rest of the attire that causes the heat strokes.

Bethe Mounce
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:54 AM
My comments are as follows:
Why stop with just dressage regarding the new helmet rule? Why not require it for all equestrian sports? How about those vaulters? They aren’t even claiming to be riders! What about when dressage is being offered at breed specific shows (i.e. Arabian, Morgan, Andalusian/Lusitano, etc.)? Are the competitors only supposed to wear helmets when they are warming up for their dangerous dressage rides? What about the claim that dressage horses represent the most highly trained horses in the competition world? Why would a rider need to wear a helmet on the most highly trained horse?

Dressage horses represent the most highly trained horses in the competition world? I think the jumpers might dissagree as well as the eventers...

Heat and humidity differ geographically in this country. Jackets are always waived when temps become less than stellar.


The sad part of this is what it actually does, it silences dissidence by claiming the reason is for “safety”. No one wants to appear to be against safety. This is the same tactic politicians use when they are endorsing certain policies. For example, they say a policy to broaden governmental intrusion into people’s lives (and personal choices), such as the above mentioned McDonalds dilemma, is to protect children. No one wants to “hurt the children”.

As a trainer and coach, there is thing thing called liability insurance. Every one of us are about safety first and foremost. A horse is an unpredictable animal-his self preservation trumps all. Would you prefer that a tragedy, which could be prevented, happened all because one of my riders chose to not wear a helmet? On my watch? It is common sense to do whatever it takes to lessen the odds.

What happened to Courtney was tragic. As a big name in dressage, she has used this opportunity, as most celebrities do, to promote the wearing of helmets. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me: "could you just climb on this horse for 5 min," I would be quite wealthy. Anytime anyone gets on a horse, they are taking their lives in their own hands. USEF has decided to implement a rule to lessen the odds of another Courtney accident happening.


The fact of the matter is, unless USEF discloses the injury statistics for all recognized competitions and proves Dressage shows actually have a higher rate of injury, there is NO reason for this new rule. It is an adult choice to wear or not to wear a helmet and USEF unfortunately has taken a position of treating adults like children.

Horseback riding, the last time I checked the stats, is the leading cause of head injuries.

Perhaps some time in the ER at a hospital might cause you to re-contemplate your position.

There are rules for every sport...if you don't like them, then don't compete at USEF sanctioned shows. The rule is here to stay. Horses and riding them is an inherent risk.

Whether or not you have ever had a head injury as a result of riding is irrelevant. There are people in your life who care about you and who would be terribly affected if something were to happen to you. Instead of thinking about yourself, think about them first. If you were laid up due to an injury from a horse, what would be the fallout? Wouldn't you want to do everything you could to lessen the odds of something happening to you while riding?

No matter how much someone paid for a horse, no matter how well trained he is, no matter how old he is, no matter how well you know your "pookie," he is a horse...inherently dangerous, unpredictable and his self preservation is more important that your brain or your feet! He could care less if you live or die so long as he stays safe. In his mind, he comes first, not his rider.

This rule can be debated until the cows come home, it is here to stay...no amount of complaining about it is going to change USEF's mind...

ToN Farm
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:10 AM
I don't really see what the big hoopla is about
Of course you don't, because you wear a helmet and prefer to snark at those who don't.


And heat stroke? Its already been said - those crazy dark wool jackets (and tall boots) are a bigger issue then a helmet. I live in a hot climate - we often see temps over 100 in July and August - helmet doesn't bother me at all - the newer helmets are lightweight, ventilated, and they fit so well, I sometimes forget I'm wearing a helmet.
I think you are dead wrong, and I'd welcome scientific evidence to prove what you are saying. Heat escapes mostly through the head. Just do a test yourself. Ride with a jacket and not helmet and then ride with a helmet and no jacket. Tell me which one is hotter. I've done both, and I know the answer. When I ride in heat w/o a helmet, I wear a sweat band which is soaked when finished, as is my hair. This is the most wet part of my body, even riding in a tank top. Use whatever support your want for helmets, but to say they are not as hot as a jacket is ignorant.


If you don't like the rule - you have an option - don't show! Arrogance

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:13 AM
ToN, we don't have a VOTE, but we have a say - you can comment on any rule change proposals. I've done it, as have several others on this board.

There are many valid studies on injuries and equestrian sports. We are pretty high up there in TBI - motorcyles have us beat. My mother use to work in a hospital, and there was a higher incidence of boat accidents (inthe Summer) and motorcycle accidents (all year long), but in spite of the smaller population of equestrians, we were a noted statistic in hospital admittance.

Last time I had a bad accident, the trauma unit doctor told me the helmet saved my life. That was enough for me... Prior to that, I only wore one when "convenient".

ETA - snark? Really? Not sure where that came from!

By the way, didn't Debbie McD just have a bad fall, brain saved by a helmet?

RAyers
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:16 AM
...

Watching bull riders in helmets would be interesting too.

....



Obviously, you don't go to many real rodeos. Does the name Tuff Hedeman ring a name? Three time PRCA all round World Champion but let's see what he wears:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12034145@N08/2337317901

It looks to me like a HELMET and flak jacket. Many bull riders nowadays wear similar get ups. Why? They are tired of having their faces smashed (Oh, I forgot that according to ridewell's father, the skull can take the impact). They too ascribe to the idea that why not dress like a real sport instead of holding to a foolish tradition. Sure, many bull riders don't wear this but this is becoming less common.

http://www.usrodeosupply.com/Shop-Rodeo-Gear/Helmets

Reed

Perfect Pony
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:47 AM
Heat escapes mostly through the head. Just do a test yourself. Ride with a jacket and not helmet and then ride with a helmet and no jacket. Tell me which one is hotter. I've done both, and I know the answer. When I ride in heat w/o a helmet, I wear a sweat band which is soaked when finished, as is my hair. This is the most wet part of my body, even riding in a tank top. Use whatever support your want for helmets, but to say they are not as hot as a jacket is ignorant.

This is absolutely NOT TRUE. It's an old wives tale. There is nothing special about heat loss from your head than any other part of your body. And riding in the hot sun with a vented helmet is much more likely to keep you from heat/sun stroke than riding bare headed, as keeping the sun off of your head and face keeps you cooler and helps shield you from sunburn.

BTW, a quick nyt article about the studies
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/health/26real.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec/17/medicalresearch-humanbehaviour

ToN Farm
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:58 AM
This is absolutely NOT TRUE.
BTW, a quick nyt article about the studies
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/health/26real.html All those studies have to do with cold conditions. I've read them before. A completely different set of criteria. Fine one done in the summer. Better yet, do the study yourself and be honest with your findings. There is no doubt in my mind, that helmet keeps you hotter than show coat. NO DOUBT. It's not just that it's a hat, but it's a 'tight' hat.

2ndyrgal
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:15 AM
though I admit that Juan's ride on Fuego might have lost a little something, it was the total picture at that moment. And anyone who saw the big spook and several other pretty impressive ones at WEG would have to agree that it might have ended badly.

Here's why I agree. I'm just begining, after years of the h/j thing, foxhunting, etc, to return to dressage. I rode for 7 days, across country, in France, on a horse I didn't know, that had just gotten off the race track. Wearing, wait for it.. a ball cap. No problem, but really not smart.

This last summer, my bombproof big horse, did a trip, spook, buck in less time than it took to read this. Because, and only because sis was riding in the arena with me that day, and is ANAL about me wearing a helmet (she's seen me knocked unconsious in a bad wreck while NOT wearing one) did I put one on.

I was thrown about 12 feet into the air, and did a complete somersault while saying, apparently out loud, "damn, this is gonna hurt." It did, but when my head hit the ground, I had on an approved CO helmet. Got up, shook it off, got back on.

I've had my share of concussions and after skull surgery as an infant, head injuries are NOT what I'm supposed to have.

That fall, coupled with having wittnessed Ralph Hill's long recovery and CKD fall changed my mind. A lot of people depend on my brain, I technically could do my job from a wheel chair.

At my very first dressage show this fall, my bombproof (and I'm rethinking that description) wasn't. I was glad I was wearing a helmet, but hoping I didn't look like a rookie rider.

If everyone has the same gear, and God knows conformity is the name of the game, then that's one less confidence issue or peer issue to worry about.

I was a die hard, you all aren't going to tell me I have to wear a helmet girl.

But after now riding with one at home all the time, without it is more unfamiliar.

Personally, I wish all the pot stirrers on this BB would give up the "oh it's so unfair, I'll never get to wear a top hat now" crap and go picket in front of a bar or something and rant against drunk driving.

Perfect Pony
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:24 AM
All those studies have to do with cold conditions. I've read them before. A completely different set of criteria. Fine one done in the summer. Better yet, do the study yourself and be honest with your findings. There is no doubt in my mind, that helmet keeps you hotter than show coat. NO DOUBT. It's not just that it's a hat, but it's a 'tight' hat.

Well first, quit telling me what is and is not the case with me. Because you experience or believe that a helmet keeps YOU hotter than a coat in summer does not make it true.

The studies are what they are. There is no difference between a head and anything else. I am much more comfortable and much less likely to suffer heat or sun stroke in summer wearing my Tipperary helmet vs not wearing a helmet. Keeping my core (the largest area on your body) cool is KEY.

There are also many clothing items to keep one cool when riding. If it is that much of an issue, head on over to http://www.coolmedics.com/ and get some nice cooling gear. It works.

alicen
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
For all of those concerned about the "non-traditional look" of helmuts, a reminder that these were once the looks: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/2849289/Hulton-Archive
http://ridingaside.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html
http://www.artisticdressage.com/images/pluvinel2.jpg

Go Fish
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:41 PM
The H/J set moaned and groaned with the implementation of the helmet rule. We got over it.

Change looks a whole lot better when everybody's doing it.

kdow
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:45 PM
Well, considering injuries suffered in auto accidents, I think whenever you drive, you should wear a helmet.

Professional drivers do, why not us?

Helmets might not be the best parallel--but you are, in fact, required by law to wear a seat belt when you drive.


And check out the specs on most cars these days - front and side-curtain airbags are becoming standard; effectively, the 'helmet' is built into the car, to deploy in the event of an accident.

ETA: And rather than an ER, I suggest that anyone who is brushing off the possibility of a TBI spend some time in a nursing or residential care home which houses younger people who have suffered TBIs and now require 24/7 care because they aren't able to look after themselves, but didn't die.

Sunsets
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:52 PM
It's not just that it's a hat, but it's a 'tight' hat.

You just haven't found the right helmet, then. There are so many on the market today, there is one out there that won't squeeze your head. Most of them are vented now, too, which really helps with the heat.

Oh, and I ride in Houston. I sweat so much in the summer it doesn't matter if I'm wearing a helmet or not. And the brim is very nice for keeping the sun off my face. My schooling helmet is light-colored, and I think it actually helps keep me cooler, as it reflects some of the sunlight away from my head!

As far as the "goverment regulations" argument, that, frankly, doesn't hold water. The USEF can set any rules it likes regarding competition at its shows. Lots of organizations do this.

For instance, I play ice hockey. USA Hockey is the umbrella organization that most of the rinks operate under. We pay $35/year for membership (that includes supplemental insurance should something catastrophic happen) or we are not allowed on the ice. We also have to follow their rules, including wearing helmets with properly fastened chin straps. I've seen players booted from the game for not having a chin strap.

One can argue until one is blue in the face that such regulations aren't worth it, that we're adults and we can decide to take on the risk of not having a chin strap or not, but in the end, we live in a ridiculously lawsuit-happy society. The rules are there to reduce the risk to the rinks and the hockey organizations, and to keep the liability insurance low enough so we can afford to play! I suspect a similar economic incentive is at least partly responsible for USEF helmet rules.

horsefaerie
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:54 PM
TBI by Age1
Children aged 0 to 4 years, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.
Almost half a million (473,947) emergency department visits for TBI are made annually by children aged 0 to 14 years.
Adults aged 75 years and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.
TBI by Gender1
In every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than for females.
Males aged 0 to 4 years have the highest rates of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Doesn't sound like the typical dressage rider is at risk at all.

I don't know, I think some folks just like to tell others what to do without being asked. Makes them feel all powerful and important. I still think it is wrong.

Most showgrounds have required helmets while mounted for a long time. I guess saying that until you reach fourth level you are an incompetent irks me.

Just another way to make the sport more elitist.

suzy
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:58 PM
Sorry, Horsefaerie, but without any information regarding what activity these people were engaged at the time of their TBIs, these statistics are meaningless.

poltroon
Feb. 5, 2011, 12:59 PM
The irony of the whole "helmets are hot" argument is that the vented, harnessed helmets are cooler and far far more comfortable than the item of apparel hats.

I remember as a little girl having my helmet have to fit exactly right so it would stay on with no chin strap, and I for one am grateful those days are gone.

horsefaerie
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:03 PM
The CDC doesn't tell you what they were doing. But if they are young males they are not riding dressage as a rule. Over age 75 ditto. 0 to 4 years of age not likely.

2ndyrgal
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:12 PM
Let's just say for the sake of no argument, that you are right.

So what?

We're talking about a rule that's already been passed and you can fling and numpf all you want, but your opinion makes no difference. And largely, no sense. Seat belts didn't used to be mandatory and I'm sure there are several around here who remember riding around loose in the back of the family pickup trucks back in the day, I'm horrified when I see it now. Our mothers smoked, drank and took drugs to help them cope with life. We survived mega doses of penicillin and chicken pox.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't wear seat belts, be careful about what we consume while pregnant and belt our kids in.

For the record, I hate change, loathe my cell phone, hate email and don't text. I don't have an ipod or any of that junk. I like books and newspapers. Hell, I'm a republican for Christ''s sake.

I'm wearing my helmet even when I'm not showing. It's not just my choice, it's a smart choice.

Do what you want, but hey, Darwin might have been right.

MelantheLLC
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:12 PM
What we need now is an elegant headgear design that still provides protection. We need fashion forward UL riders who look damn good in an elegantly styled ASTM helmet. Doubtless there's a limit to how thin they can be and still provide protection, but frankly top hats are just leftover fashion from the early 19th century. It's not the top hat per se that defines UL dressage, it's the elegant look.

Every sport has its demands that define the equipment. Then the most perfectly elegant and efficient equipment is adopted and considered beautiful BECAUSE it's the best solution. Saddles are beautiful because they do a good job at the same time they're well-designed and crafted.

It's time for dressage headgear to do BOTH jobs. Be protective and be beautiful. Pressure the helmet manufacturers to come up with something that meets OUR demands.

This is the 21st century, can't we manage that? I'll bet Apple could. Where's Steve Jobs when you need him?

Go Fish
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:18 PM
It's time for dressage headgear to do BOTH jobs. Be protective and be beautiful. Pressure the helmet manufacturers to come up with something that meets OUR demands.



The original approved helmets looked like you were wearing a salad bowl on your head. There have been SOME improvements...:lol:

Sunsets
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:19 PM
MelantheLLC, you've just described a perfect challenge for "Project Runway!"

Hampton Bay
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:45 PM
... TBIs can give you migraines?

I need to go and make sure I have at least two extra helmets on hand at all times Just In Case so I never have to be without one.

(I already get migraines - miserable miserable things. Do not want them to be any more frequent.)

Absolutely a TBI can, and in many cases does, cause migraines or other types of headaches. I've had a continuous headache for going on 5 years now from a TBI where I was wearing my helmet. I likely wouldn't be alive had I not been wearing one. It was purely chance that I decided to buy a nice helmet 3 months prior to my fall.

MysticOakRanch
Feb. 5, 2011, 01:51 PM
I remember as a little girl having my helmet have to fit exactly right so it would stay on with no chin strap, and I for one am grateful those days are gone.

Oh, I love the good ol' days - we use to stuff kleenex in the helmets to "make them fit". And did you ever "deconstruct" one of those helmets? They had cardboard inside. Mine had no chin strap too. I look back and laugh - how did we survive? Of course, I never had a serious fall as a kid, mostly sliding off the pony the wrong way (bareback of course)... And I remember those baggy old breeches too - remember when they FLARED out at the thighs - how beautiful was that?:lol:

kdow
Feb. 5, 2011, 02:35 PM
Absolutely a TBI can, and in many cases does, cause migraines or other types of headaches. I've had a continuous headache for going on 5 years now from a TBI where I was wearing my helmet. I likely wouldn't be alive had I not been wearing one. It was purely chance that I decided to buy a nice helmet 3 months prior to my fall.

Forget TBIs that leave you a drooling wreck for the rest of your life - I suspect if some people who are anti-helmet had to suffer regular migraine headaches for a period of time as a 'trial run' (and not just the "oh, I have a bad headache, it must be a migraine, take a Tylenol and it's gone" variety, I'm talking a legit full-on experience of MISERY,) they'd change their tune in a hurry.

I know plenty of people who are way worse off than me when it comes to migraine severity and frequency (I know people who've had to go to the ER for pain control) and I've still had migraines where the experience was so bad that 1. I was afraid I was dying and 2. maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing because at least then my head would STOP HURTING.

Hampton Bay
Feb. 5, 2011, 04:07 PM
At one point I spent a solid month shut in a dark room, two blankets over the windows because the blinds and curtains didn't block out enough light.

I've been on every headache medicine they make, at one point or another, and none of them have helped much. Some of them, the side effects were so disabling that I didn't function in any way. Think sitting in a chair unable to speak, just stare at people.

I was never a helmet-nazi before my accident, and I am BLESSED compared to some people who have had one too many smacks on the head. But after the last 5 years, there is just no excuse not to wear one. As for overheating, I am so sensitive to the heat now that I had heat stroke at 80 degrees. I'm actually cooler in a helmet than without, to the point where I will leave my helmet on to hose the horse and clean up my gear. Even my CO skull cap, that had some poor ventilation and was black, was cooler than no helmet.


Forget TBIs that leave you a drooling wreck for the rest of your life - I suspect if some people who are anti-helmet had to suffer regular migraine headaches for a period of time as a 'trial run' (and not just the "oh, I have a bad headache, it must be a migraine, take a Tylenol and it's gone" variety, I'm talking a legit full-on experience of MISERY,) they'd change their tune in a hurry.

I know plenty of people who are way worse off than me when it comes to migraine severity and frequency (I know people who've had to go to the ER for pain control) and I've still had migraines where the experience was so bad that 1. I was afraid I was dying and 2. maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing because at least then my head would STOP HURTING.

asterix
Feb. 5, 2011, 04:28 PM
I wish that people who spout statistics had even the smallest idea of how to understand them. I have only the smallest idea myself, and even I can see the dually-sized hole in the TBI stats horse faerie quoted.

Those numbers are utterly meaningless without an understanding of the population size. What percentage of the US population rides dressage? Let's agree that it is tiny. So telling us that the majority of TBI patients are not dressage riders? Useless.

You would need to start by comparing the percentage of the total population reflected by those TBI stats to the percentage of the dressage population suffering TBIs.

However, I doubt it was a wave of TBIs at competitions that prompted this rule. More likely a belated realization, probably sparked by CDK's fall, that serious falls can and do occur to even the best dressage riders, combined with liability/insurance issues.

Touchstone Farm
Feb. 5, 2011, 08:13 PM
I'd say it was your choice as an adult when you can show me your bank account that proves you can pay for your medical bills and rehab due to a head injury. Otherwise, we're all paying for your "choice" in higher medical costs.

I personally don't think the helmut rule has gone far enough...as in...I guess FEI riders don't have heads that can be crushed. :-) That time will come. In the meantime, I wore my helmet riding Intermediare I a week or so ago. Even my trustworthy, highly trained horse could trip and fall.

I really don't find my helmet that hot. It may be 100 degrees out, but I like the brim for protecting my face and the vents help with air flow. Mine is really comfortable too. It's just a matter of getting use to it. Putting on my helmet is as much second nature as it is to put a saddle and bridle on my horse).

As I said on another post, when you think about it, top hats (and black coats or tails and WHITE breeches) are kind of goofy for what we wear riding a horse at shows. Maybe if we're posing on a carriage to take us back to the days Charles Dickens wrote about. It sure doesn't conjure up images of being athletes!

Boomer
Feb. 5, 2011, 09:19 PM
I like my helmets. One probably saved my life oh-so long ago when I got dumped off my trusty hunter "packer" as a teen.

It just feels weird to get on a horse without a helmet.

Mississippi is no walk in the park in the summer - it's hot, steamy and miserable. But for me, what's on my torso has more effect on how hot I am than my head. My helmet helps keep the sun off my face and head. My brain is worth it - I only have one.

Modern helmets have different head shape choices too - which helps with fit and comfort a lot.

I do wish we had a more modern outfit - helmet, boots, and gloves no problem - but breeches of different color, sharp-looking shirts in a color other than white (yawn) - and ditch the jacket.

It's ironic that I wear a suit during my athletic performance but go to work in comfortable safety shoes, pants and a polo shirt.

horsefaerie
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:07 PM
I did not type "I don't wear a helmet" or "I don't want to wear a helmet" or any such thing.

Regardless of what people were doing when they suffered TBI if the logic by most posters here would be followed, whatever they were doing should require a helmet! Going without, at home, in a vehicle etc where I would suspect a large number of these injuries would occur, then a helmet should also be required there.

Hurtling down they road at up to 70 miles an hour in a vehicle, even with a seat belt should require a helmet.

Jungle gyms, ladders, all those things that can result in a TBI which has such a catastrophic set of consequences for friends and family, makes those things just as unsafe as riding.

For me, limited logic presents a problem. Where does it stop?

MelantheLLC
Feb. 5, 2011, 10:24 PM
Weeelll, let's see. A very quick search of the CDC site on "equestrian" comes up with this at the top:


Current Trends Injuries Associated with Horseback Riding --United States, 1987 and 1988 (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001626.htm)


Each year in the United States, an estimated 30 million persons ride horses (1). The rate of serious injury per number of riding hours is estimated to be higher for horseback riders than for motorcyclists and automobile racers (2). The following report uses data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to describe the epidemiology of horseback-riding-associated injuries in the United States during 1987 and 1988.

and


Although no national estimates exist for the number of fatal injuries associated with horseback riding, a review of state medical examiner records from 27 states for 1976-1987 identified 205 such deaths (6); head injuries were associated with more than 60% of these deaths.

So, we have head injuries causing more than 60% of riding related deaths, and the rate of serious injury higher than motorcyclist and automobile racers.

Maybe it's got something to do with not having a great big car around your head in the first place, and being belted into that car with the airbags n all. Maybe they'll come up with an airbag saddle.

kdow
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:03 PM
Jungle gyms, ladders, all those things that can result in a TBI which has such a catastrophic set of consequences for friends and family, makes those things just as unsafe as riding.

Dunno if you've noticed, but most playgrounds around me have specialized material on the ground - some kind of padded or shock-absorbing surface, I've seen various types - and I suspect it's specifically so that if a kid DOES fall and hit his head, the damage is reduced - in this case, you're not putting a helmet on the kid, you're effectively putting the helmet on the ground.

Also, all of the recently built playgrounds I've seen (in public/commercial use, like parks and schools) have MUCH larger diameter poles than they did when I was a kid. I suspect this is because the larger pole helps to spread the impact area. (They may also be designed to 'crumple' or give under certain forces, like a head smacking into it, which would, again, have the same sort of effect as wearing a helmet.)

It is, in fact, not really practical to try to protect against Every Little Thing out there. You'll make yourself nuts trying; at some point you have to say "I can't live my life like that, it isn't worth it" and draw a line.

I have personally yet to hear any compelling evidence as to why it's reasonable to draw a line in the sand regarding helmet use, however. With the huge variety available today they aren't heavy, many of them are quite breathable so they're not terribly hot, and thankfully for those of us with weirdly shaped heads, there are even enough head shapes being catered to that you can find something that actually fits. They're not even necessarily that expensive.

Go Fish
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:30 PM
Hurtling down they road at up to 70 miles an hour in a vehicle, even with a seat belt should require a helmet.

Jungle gyms, ladders, all those things that can result in a TBI which has such a catastrophic set of consequences for friends and family, makes those things just as unsafe as riding.



None of those activities involve piloting a somewhat dim-brained, 1500 pound, potentially explosive, flight animal with a mind of its own.

spirithorse
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:35 PM
None of those activities involve piloting a somewhat dim-brained, 1500 pound, potentially explosive, flight animal with a mind of its own.

What the heck?????
Most horses are smarter than their riders, unfortunately they are at the mercy of the rider.

Seems that there quite a few dim-brained riders on the back of these independent animals.

dressurpferd01
Feb. 5, 2011, 11:55 PM
What the heck?????
Most horses are smarter than their riders, unfortunately they are at the mercy of the rider.

Seems that there quite a few dim-brained riders on the back of these independent animals.

You're the biggest troll on the dressage board, and I look forward to the day you get banned.

gldprimr
Feb. 6, 2011, 12:31 PM
Unfortunately helmets are a lot like seatbelts. I find it inconvenient to wear them, but always put them on as it's just NOT worth the risk.

There are always more people impacted when head injuries occur than just the injured person. As this happens to be a case where it is quite easy to simply wear a helmet to improve your odds/help minimize the risk of TBI I really don't understand what all the fuss is about.

I've done essentially all my riding in Louisiana & Mississippi where it gets very hot & is very humid during the summer months yet wear a helmet every time I ride as the protection afforded more than outweighs the inconvenience.

I will admit that having seen one accident where the person would have had a significant TBI without the helmet (shod hoof impacted helmet directly over ear, breaking out a significant portion of helmet) & another where a friend died as a result of their head hitting a tree while riding without a helmet shapes my thoughts about wearing head protection while riding....

poltroon
Feb. 6, 2011, 12:42 PM
What I think is interesting is that all of OP's arguments against helmets apply to the old rule as well.

RAyers
Feb. 6, 2011, 01:16 PM
Hmmm, the heat argument against helmets is a major red herring. If soldiers can wear full battle gear in 130 F temperatures, then I am pretty sure those "athletes" can condition and train to be able to wear a helmet during a show. We wear full body armor and helmets for more than an hour (used to be that just for the 3 phases on the long format) warming up and going on XC. I spend plenty of time acclimating to the conditions in my training because that is what we have to do. If one wants to be considered and athlete then one must act like an athlete. Of course one can remain a stereotypical DQ and just complain about how unfair things are.

Reed

Go Fish
Feb. 6, 2011, 01:38 PM
Most horses are smarter than their riders,

Well, I'm sure yours are.

seeuatx
Feb. 6, 2011, 01:51 PM
Well, if we want to stick to the "traditional" look and not change the look based on safety and/or style, why are women running around at dressage shows in Top Hats and Tail coats? Isn't that traditionally <gasp> men's wear? I'm sure the first women to sport those manly fashions got some very sour looks before it became a RULE at the upper levels. Funny how that works.

I like some of the looks, but I don't have a problem with the helmet rule. Then again, I grew up in Pony Club and was required to wear one, and then in college (once I was 18 and might have had a choice) I was required to wear one too. It's a habit now, and I feel naked without it. Change can be good.

dotneko
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:40 PM
I find the helmet rule problematic, also.

The USEF needs to apply safety rules across the board.

They are implying that dressage horses are inherently
less safe than reiners, tennesee walkers, saddle seat,
western pleasure or any of the other non-jumping disciplines.

I really think they are opening themselves up to a
liability issue.

Go Fish
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:47 PM
I find the helmet rule problematic, also.

The USEF needs to apply safety rules across the board.

They are implying that dressage horses are inherently
less safe than reiners, tennesee walkers, saddle seat,
western pleasure or any of the other non-jumping disciplines.

I really think they are opening themselves up to a
liability issue.

The USEF can only govern shows that they sanction. They can't enforce a helmet rule if it's not a USEF show.

It's an interesting question, though. Doesn't the USEF govern Morgan and Arabian shows, for example?

I'm quite certain that the USEF has no authority over the NRHA, NCHA, the APHA or the AQHA, as another example.

poltroon
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:49 PM
I find the helmet rule problematic, also.

The USEF needs to apply safety rules across the board.

They are implying that dressage horses are inherently
less safe than reiners, tennesee walkers, saddle seat,
western pleasure or any of the other non-jumping disciplines.

I really think they are opening themselves up to a
liability issue.

The obvious difference for dressage is that protective headgear is already commonly worn and is similar to the headgear that has already been required for years.

Within the USEF rules, there are already dramatic differences in the sorts of safety precautions required between the disciplines that does not particularly correlate to risk.

BTW, if those gold-medal winning reining riders had real guts, they'd start competing in a helmet. :D

Janet
Feb. 7, 2011, 01:52 PM
I find the helmet rule problematic, also.

The USEF needs to apply safety rules across the board.

They are implying that dressage horses are inherently
less safe than reiners, tennesee walkers, saddle seat,
western pleasure or any of the other non-jumping disciplines.
Paso Finos already use the same helmet rules as hunter/jumper.


I really think they are opening themselves up to a
liability issue.
This was addressed extensively at the USEA meeting. One of the lawyers (I think on the BoG) had done extensive research on that specific point, and could not find a single case that would support your claim.

Velvet
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:08 PM
Janet, then I would think that would cut both ways and imply that by not having a helmet rule they are NOT opeing up themselves to lawsuits. Especially since they don't promote it across all types of showing that fall under the USEF. So why bother pushing for it with dressage riders?

Once again, are we back to it being done in the heat of the moment due to a top riders accident?

poltroon
Feb. 7, 2011, 02:20 PM
So why bother pushing for it with dressage riders?

Maybe because we want to have enough GP level riders healthy to be able to send a team in 2012?

Frankly, I see no downside here. It's a simple thing, you have to wear some sort of dark hat no matter what, and so it might as well be protective.

And given that Dressage is the discipline where people freak if they have to ride in a ring with more than two other horses, it seems very appropriate.

dotneko
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:25 PM
For the sake or arguement,

A child is injured riding in a non-helmet requiring discipline
(say Saddleseat). Couldn't the parent (or their lawyer) say
'My governing body, the USEF, did not require helmets for
Saddleseat, but they do require them for Dressage. Does that
not imply an inherent risk for Dressage riders that does not
exist for Saddleseat riders? I used the USEF rules as my authority,
and since a helmet was not required, my child did not wear one.
My child was injured as a result.'

In terms of trying to preserve a team by requiring helmets-
showing is a fractional percentage of the riding done by the
average professional. What they do at home sometimes bears
little resemblance to what is done at shows. None of the falls
injuring our top riders occurred at a show. I hardly think the
helmet rule will impact the health of our team one bit.

Dot

S A McKee
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:38 PM
For the sake or arguement,

A child is injured riding in a non-helmet requiring discipline
(say Saddleseat). Couldn't the parent (or their lawyer) say
'My governing body, the USEF, did not require helmets for
Saddleseat, but they do require them for Dressage. Does that
not imply an inherent risk for Dressage riders that does not
exist for Saddleseat riders? I used the USEF rules as my authority,
and since a helmet was not required, my child did not wear one.
My child was injured as a result.'



Most rule changes do not originate with the USEF, they come from the discipline association. For example, USEA sponsored the helmet rule for their discipline and USEF credits them for that.
Maybe the other groups, saddleseat for example, simply aren't enlightened enough to move a rule change like this forward.

But it does look like something is going on with Morgans etc. There are a bunch of new rule change proposals that seem to indicate those groups 'think' they are governed by the new Dressage rules. Their proposals seek to exempt their breeds/disciplines from the rule unless showing in a Dressage division or show as opposed to a breed show or class.

USEF site has this:
"Release: February 04 2011
Author: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, KY – The Executive Committee of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) will meet to consider Extraordinary Rule Changes to clearly define the implementation of the Federation’s new helmet rule to breed competitions that offer dressage classes. The committee will meet later this month to discuss the changes, which will clarify the rule in the Andalusian, Arabian, Friesian and Morgan divisions of USEF Licensed Competitions."

dotneko
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:50 PM
Well, that sounds like a nightmare in
the making. When does 'warmup' for
dressage begin? Are there now going to
be separate warmups at Morgan shows,
for example, for dressage so that the
TD can tell who is warming up for what?

Or, if they exempt the breed shows entirely-
Riding a Morgan in a breed show that holds
dressage classes is somehow
more safe than riding the same horse at
a dressage only show?

Sonesta
Feb. 7, 2011, 03:57 PM
I too refused to wear a helmet but a wonderful woman told me that if I want to date her I had no choice but to wear one every time I ride. That was 7 years ago and I still do (date her and ride in an approved helmet). Of course when I did the FEI divisions I would wear a dressage cap or top hat. But now I am happy to wear my helmet instead and happily retire my top hat to the trailer and will bring it out for pictures.

Reed

Reed, that same lovely lady (and a couple more of the ladies here) are also responsible for ME wearing one every time, every ride as well!

ToN Farm
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:01 PM
Well, that sounds like a nightmare in
the making. When does 'warmup' for
dressage begin? Are there now going to
be separate warmups at Morgan shows,
for example, for dressage so that the
TD can tell who is warming up for what?

Or, if they exempt the breed shows entirely-
Riding a Morgan in a breed show that holds
dressage classes is somehow
more safe than riding the same horse at
a dressage only show?
They rushed this rule through without thinking of all the ramifications.

S A McKee
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:01 PM
Well, that sounds like a nightmare in
the making. When does 'warmup' for
dressage begin? Are there now going to
be separate warmups at Morgan shows,
for example, for dressage so that the
TD can tell who is warming up for what?



Separate warmup areas are already used. In the H/J world the GP jumpers don't warm up in the same ring as Short Stirrup Hunters. LOL
In some cases a separate schooling area is required for each ring.
When we got the helmet rule in H/J years ago there were many of the same objections which turned out to be groundless.
We got over it, moved on and now we have really cool helmets !!

Janet
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:25 PM
Well, that sounds like a nightmare in
the making. When does 'warmup' for
dressage begin? Are there now going to
be separate warmups at Morgan shows,
for example, for dressage so that the
TD can tell who is warming up for what?
They already handle that issue quite comfortably for the differences in tack requirements (especially bits) with a separate warm up area. It should be no big deal to expand it to handle the helmet requiremnt as well.

Janet
Feb. 7, 2011, 04:30 PM
Janet, then I would think that would cut both ways and imply that by not having a helmet rule they are NOT opeing up themselves to lawsuits. Especially since they don't promote it across all types of showing that fall under the USEF. So why bother pushing for it with dressage riders?
I don't think "protecting the organization from lawsuits" was the primary motivation of USDF, the USEF Dressage Committee, USEA, the USEF Eventing Committee, or the USEF BoD.

But they did look into it to make sure they were not INCREASING the risk of lawsuits.

Also, the USEF did not "push it" on dressage riders. The rule change proposal originated with the Dressage Committee and the USDF, not the USEF as a whole, nor even the USEF safety Committee.

Are you suggesting the Dressage Committee should "push it on" the other disciplines?

poltroon
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:04 PM
Well, that sounds like a nightmare in
the making. When does 'warmup' for
dressage begin? Are there now going to
be separate warmups at Morgan shows,
for example, for dressage so that the
TD can tell who is warming up for what?

Or, if they exempt the breed shows entirely-
Riding a Morgan in a breed show that holds
dressage classes is somehow
more safe than riding the same horse at
a dressage only show?

I'm sure it begins at the same time that the rules that say you can't warm up a dressage horse in draw reins begin. (Not to mention the other bit and saddlery rules.)

Driving is prohibited in the warmup of a dressage competition too. Somehow the Morgan people have worked this out at the breed shows. :)

This is not some sort of new and novel problem.

dotneko
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:09 PM
Well, I have judged at a few Morgan and Arabian
shows in New England and I can tell you that
I have seen horses in western tack, curb bits,
native costumes and more warm up in the same
area as dressage riders. Maybe it is a New England
phenomenon, but the warm up areas at breed shows
are often not well delineated.

Janet
Feb. 7, 2011, 05:18 PM
I'm sure it begins at the same time that the rules that say you can't warm up a dressage horse in draw reins begin. (Not to mention the other bit and saddlery rules.)

Driving is prohibited in the warmup of a dressage competition too. Somehow the Morgan people have worked this out at the breed shows. :)

This is not some sort of new and novel problem.

The existing Morgan rules say


MO 197.14.a(4) When cross entry is permitted between Dressage and other Morgan classes at
a competition, DR121 applies only to the designated Dressage warm-up and competition
areas, or when exhibitor is actually warming-up for Dressage class.
DR 121 is Saddlery and Equipment.
The new Helmet rule is in DR120, Attire

All they need to do is change the text so it says
... DR120 and DR121 apply only to ...

But they DO need to make the change.

The process for enforcement, and determining when an "exhibitor is actually warming-up for Dressage class" would remain the same as it is now for saddlery.

Same for the other breeds that run Dressage in conjunction with breed calsses.

MelanieC
Feb. 7, 2011, 06:36 PM
Well, if we want to stick to the "traditional" look and not change the look based on safety and/or style, why are women running around at dressage shows in Top Hats and Tail coats? Isn't that traditionally <gasp> men's wear?

And wouldn't split skirts or the like solve the "I hate what I look like in white breeches" problem for everyone? (I guess they're more western -- but I always thought they looked kind of cool.)

I have a big head for my body (5'1", 105 lbs, but I wear a size 7 3/8) so I'm the last person who looks good in a helmet. I look like a bobblehead in a helmet. And I did ride dressage for a few years with no helmet, and it was comfortable and blissful and I totally understand why people hate wearing helmets. But after wiping out when one of the most highly-trained horses I have ever ridden tripped and fell while we were doing a perfectly civilized collected canter, and being REALLY lucky not to be hurt because I wasn't wearing a helmet at the time, I will never get on again without one.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 09:41 AM
I don't think "protecting the organization from lawsuits" was the primary motivation of USDF, the USEF Dressage Committee, USEA, the USEF Eventing Committee, or the USEF BoD.

But they did look into it to make sure they were not INCREASING the risk of lawsuits.

Also, the USEF did not "push it" on dressage riders. The rule change proposal originated with the Dressage Committee and the USDF, not the USEF as a whole, nor even the USEF safety Committee.

Are you suggesting the Dressage Committee should "push it on" the other disciplines?

I'm suggesting the USEF act like the overarching equestrian federation that they are and when imposing rules meant for rider safety, that they do it for all or for none. I think that while the dressage committee proposes these rule changes, since the entire federation has to approve the rule book, then they need to be fairly applied to all or to none.

Janet
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:14 AM
I'm suggesting the USEF act like the overarching equestrian federation that they are and when imposing rules meant for rider safety, that they do it for all or for none. I think that while the dressage committee proposes these rule changes, since the entire federation has to approve the rule book, then they need to be fairly applied to all or to none.

So you ARE suggesting that the Dressage Committee impose their rule on all the other disciplines.

If the rule change ORIGINATED with the Safety Committee, then it should apply to all disciplines. But it didn't. It originated with the Dressage Committee.

There is no more reason to impose Dressage's headgear rules on the other disciplines than to impose Dressage's bit rules on the other disciplines.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 11:26 AM
So you ARE suggesting that the Dressage Committee impose their rule on all the other disciplines.

If the rule change ORIGINATED with the Safety Committee, then it should apply to all disciplines. But it didn't. It originated with the Dressage Committee.

There is no more reason to impose Dressage's headgear rules on the other disciplines than to impose Dressage's bit rules on the other disciplines.

No, I'm saying that the USEF needs to look at how it reviews rule changes and for what reason those changes are being made--and not simply at a committee level. If this is a rule that is for safety, then the entire USEF needs to look at it across the board, and set a new standard. If it's for simple attire, then they cannot state in any rule, under any of the sports, that it must be approved.

That just makes common sense when they are the governing body and representative to the FEI for our horse sports.

If all they do is rubber stamp something that comes from the USEF and then through their own committee, it's a crock. Once again, if it's supposed to be related to riding safety.

horsefaerie
Feb. 8, 2011, 11:42 AM
I think that was part of the OP's reason for starting this thread.

Heavy handed actions by a few, using a high profile accident as leverage, is not leadership. It is no different than political nonsense outside the horse world. I am not somehow less intelligent than any other rider of any other discipline and do not need this sort of action by people no more or less informed than myself.

Everyone has an opinion, especially on the internet, but your opinion does not make you right or better than anyone else.

I do not like HOW it was done.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 11:44 AM
I do not like HOW it was done.

Yep, especially when it's done as more of a PR move than anything else.

Well, there are those who pushed it through to "save people from their own stupidity." :lol: I give more credence to those who feel it should be done to save insurance premiums. :eek:

Janet
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:04 PM
Then your complaint is with the Dresage Committee, not the USEF as a whole.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 12:10 PM
Then your complaint is with the Dresage Committee, not the USEF as a whole.

Janet, for some reason you keep missing the forest for all those trees. ;)

I'm saying that while it CURRENTLY is only the dressage committees responsibility to propose changes, it is still (in the view of the horse world) the USEF responsibility to represent the interests of all the sports governed by it. In that case, they need to review safety rules as WHOLE and not as something only one committee that represents a single sport can alter. They should have a safety committee that addresses all of the horse sports under their rules.

That's my point. If they allow individual committees to present the rules that apply to safety and all other aspects, then why do we require the USEF at all? They should then only be allowed to enforce FEI rules in our country and should have nothing to do with any other level of horse sports.

The USEF has a job to see to the welfare of the horses and riders it governs as WHOLE. Not as individual pieces. If our sport is that dangerous, then maybe they should mandate that all riders in all horse sports wear not only approved helmets, but also vests. For horses, they can madate any other safety gear they choose as well.

But to have it be a "safety" issue and knowing that any horse can trip and fall would mean that they need to mandate approved helmets across the board, including reining and saddleseat.

poltroon
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:30 PM
There are plenty of discipline-specific rules with respect to safety, addressing problems that are important to that individual discipline.

Note that the Paso Fino group elected for protective headgear. Was that a problem for you?

Other safety-related issues are about things like footing, what can be done in the warmup, the size of warmups, etc. In eventing, warmup jumps are flagged - for safety. They are not flagged for hunters or jumpers. Who has to bend to who's will on that?

Disciplines also choose which medication rules they compete with, whether to be no foreign substance or whether to allow theraputic substances. Yes, they are all still horses.

Frankly, the request that the rules be uniform across everyone creates bureaucracy and really a mess, because who am I to decide how the Paso Fino group runs their shows when I've never attended one?

Janet
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:03 PM
Janet, for some reason you keep missing the forest for all those trees. ;)

I'm saying that while it CURRENTLY is only the dressage committees responsibility to propose changes, it is still (in the view of the horse world) the USEF responsibility to represent the interests of all the sports governed by it. In that case, they need to review safety rules as WHOLE and not as something only one committee that represents a single sport can alter. They should have a safety committee that addresses all of the horse sports under their rules.

That's my point. If they allow individual committees to present the rules that apply to safety and all other aspects, then why do we require the USEF at all? They should then only be allowed to enforce FEI rules in our country and should have nothing to do with any other level of horse sports.

The USEF has a job to see to the welfare of the horses and riders it governs as WHOLE. Not as individual pieces. If our sport is that dangerous, then maybe they should mandate that all riders in all horse sports wear not only approved helmets, but also vests. For horses, they can madate any other safety gear they choose as well.

But to have it be a "safety" issue and knowing that any horse can trip and fall would mean that they need to mandate approved helmets across the board, including reining and saddleseat.
OK, so you want the Safety Committee to propose approved helmets for all breeds and disciplines.

I have two somewhat cliched responses. But they have some validity.

"Pick the battles you can win."

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

spirithorse
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:23 PM
Just make helmets 'optional' in all venues....!

Janet
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:35 PM
Just make helmets 'optional' in all venues....!
They already are. See GR801.4

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. The Federation recommends that the vest meet or surpass the current
ASTM standard or be certified by the Safety Equipment Institute.

spirithorse
Feb. 8, 2011, 04:40 PM
OK; then making them mandatory for anyone over 18 in any event is illogical......we cannot eliminate ignorance with rules........

poltroon
Feb. 8, 2011, 05:07 PM
In eventing they specifically changed the rules at one point to make a shirt mandatory. Not merely mandatory for those under 18. :D

dghunter
Feb. 8, 2011, 05:11 PM
In eventing they specifically changed the rules at one point to make a shirt mandatory. Not merely mandatory for those under 18. :D

As in they have to wear a shirt? People really weren't wearing shirts?! :eek:

poltroon
Feb. 8, 2011, 05:36 PM
As in they have to wear a shirt? People really weren't wearing shirts?! :eek:

Exactly so.

They did have to wear body protectors, and they were. But some skipped the shirt.

Velvet
Feb. 8, 2011, 05:47 PM
I'm guessing it was all those Floridians who go x-country in the middle of summer. :D

manentail
Feb. 9, 2011, 09:16 PM
Most of the heat escapes out of your head. If you cover it, of course your going to overheat.

S A McKee
Feb. 9, 2011, 10:16 PM
Most of the heat escapes out of your head. If you cover it, of course your going to overheat.

I wear a ballcap in the summer to keep the sun off my head. Using your logic I should overheat by doing that but instead, it keeps me cooler.

poltroon
Feb. 9, 2011, 10:27 PM
I'm guessing it was all those Floridians who go x-country in the middle of summer. :D

Here in California I saw it with my own eyes. (Didn't care, though, and thought it was funny that someone cared enough to do the rule change.)