On Oct. 29 the U.S. Equestrian Federation released a statement banning riders from using helmet cameras in any USEF licensed or endorsed competitions. The decision is pending completion of an independent expert report on the safety of the cameras.
The decision comes shortly after The Dutta Corp Fair Hill CCI officials banned helmet cameras on courses there in response to a similar rule in British Eventing.
Malcolm Hook, a member of the USEF Eventing Technical Committee and former chair, an FEI eventing chief steward and USEF R-rated technical delegate, said that the pending study on Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher’s skiiing accident, in which he was wearing a helmet cam, is the reason behind British Eventing’s ruling.
“A report came out from a French journalist which indicated that it was believed that the helmet cam and/or the way he had it attached affected the structural integrity of his skiing helmet,” said Hook. “They said a report was to be issued ‘soon,’ but we have not seen the report yet. British Eventing picked up on that, and their attitude was, ‘There may be an issue here, and until we see the final report, we think they should be banned.’ ”
Hook said that the USEF sat down with their General Counsel, Sonja Keating, and decided to follow British Eventing’s lead.
“It’s been a concern for some time, but I haven’t worried about it a lot because even though I’m not an engineer, it seems to me that a rider falling whose helmet strikes a rock on the ground is going to be analogous, if the helmet cam is attached to an elastic band or something like that to the helmet, to the rider falling and the helmet cam striking the ground. But this is something we don’t know, and we’re going to wait and find out,” he said.