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USEF Dressage Helmet Rule

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  • USEF Dressage Helmet Rule

    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.

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

      Comment


      • #4
        It's not the helmets that give you heat stroke - it's the damn wool coats.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by yaya View Post
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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?
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

            Comment


            • #7
              Waitwaitwait...there's now a helmet rule for the new season?! When the FRACK did this happen!?

              Comment


              • #8
                I posted a response to you on dressage-news.com. I'm the first response under front page news USEF helmet rule-responses.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.
                  www.hartetoharte.org
                  Ask and allow, do not demand and force.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    Ring the bells that still can ring
                    Forget your perfect offering
                    There is a crack in everything
                    That's how the light gets in.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please stop feeding the troll.
                      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So does this apply to only juniors? Or is it applying to all of us?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It applies to everyone showing 4th level and below. USEF sent out an e-mail regarding this a week or so ago.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.
                              www.hartetoharte.org
                              Ask and allow, do not demand and force.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SPatterson View Post
                                  Sorry if I'm out of line here. Must be the post-TBI migraines making me grouchy.
                                  ... 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.)

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Wait, wait, wait, there's a helmet rule?! Helmets are required?!

                                    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
                                    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                                    For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                                    www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by dressurpferd01 View Post
                                      Waitwaitwait...there's now a helmet rule for the new season?! When the FRACK did this happen!?
                                      At the USEF meeting.
                                      Janet

                                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by silence_ridewell View Post
                                        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

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