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Spinoff: CAN an elegant protective helmet be designed?

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  • Spinoff: CAN an elegant protective helmet be designed?

    I'm gonna copy myself from the other thread, cause this has been a thought of mine for some time, and I'd like to hear other opinions:

    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?
    Are we doomed to clunky headgear? Do any of you fashionistas, artists, helmet makers, designers or just smart people have ideas for elegant protection?

    Why CAN'T we move forward on this? Ten years ago there was no iPhone or iPad or ereaders, now there are beautiful gadgets that do a serious job. But where to start, how to get there?
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.

  • #2
    Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
    I'm gonna copy myself from the other thread, cause this has been a thought of mine for some time, and I'd like to hear other opinions:



    Are we doomed to clunky headgear? Do any of you fashionistas, artists, helmet makers, designers or just smart people have ideas for elegant protection?

    Why CAN'T we move forward on this? Ten years ago there was no iPhone or iPad or ereaders, now there are beautiful gadgets that do a serious job. But where to start, how to get there?
    Huh?
    When the helmet rule went into effect for Hunter Jumper riders the choices were slim. A large bowl on your head comes to mind.
    But since then the number of styles has been expanded year after year. Helmets are available now that are similar to the original 'hunt cap' style but with a harness. They come in black just like the original hats.
    They also come in the GPA jumper type styles. You can get them in black with a vent down the middle or skull cap style. Troxel makes a bunch that look like bicycle helmets. Lots of colors, lots of black, lots of grey.
    The variety is huge. Take a look at Dover or Stateline for examples.

    Not 'clunky' by any means. LOL

    Because the hunter Jumper crowd has to wear them the manufacturers have designed them with that market in mind.
    But now that Eventers and Dressage have to use them I'd bet that you see a bunch more styles that will be marketed to those groups.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think this would be lovely, minus the bug eyes:

      http://www.shoclothes.com/images/dre...-helmet-lg.jpg

      Although when I think back to the astronaut-worthy clunkers I wore as a lesson kid, I have to admit that helmet styling has already made some progress in a more elegant direction.

      Comment


      • #4
        Helmet protection is in dire need of an upgrade, just look at football. Did you know the average NFL player is lucky to ever see 60yrs old? I think once the NFL addresses the issues on their field, the equestrian world can mooch some of that technology
        www.destinationconsensusequus.com
        chaque pas est fait ensemble

        Comment


        • #5
          Helmet design, from an engineering POV, is very difficult. It could be possible to design a thin helmet that has effective protection but it will weigh between 10 and 20 times more than what you wear now.

          The key is energy dissipation. The more mass, the thinner the material needed (e.g. steel and titanium are used as shock absorbers in bridges etc.). The thinner the helmet the less volume upon which to dissipate the impact energy and thus the necessity of heavier materials.

          A valved water or air bladder system such as being tested in the NCAA and NFL (Xenith helmets) may be the answer.

          http://www.xenith.com/football/innovation/


          Reed

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I'm sure it's difficult, or it would already have been done.


            Originally posted by S A McKee View Post

            Not 'clunky' by any means. LOL

            Because the hunter Jumper crowd has to wear them the manufacturers have designed them with that market in mind.
            But now that Eventers and Dressage have to use them I'd bet that you see a bunch more styles that will be marketed to those groups.
            I suppose clunky is in the eye of the beholder. Still, there aren't any that are truly elegant. (I've looked.) They're just not quite clunky. Yes there are velvet hunt caps but the point is something that can replace the uniqueness of the top hat at UL dressage, not just copying hunt caps.

            I guess I'm thinking something that doesn't try to copy the "traditional" (archaic) styles, but makes use of what is required for protection in a fashion-forward way. Not something that people put up with wearing because they have to, but WANT to wear. Like tall shiny black boots--they may not be comfortable but one suffers for the look.
            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


            • #7
              Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
              I suppose clunky is in the eye of the beholder. Still, there aren't any that are truly elegant. (I've looked.) They're just not quite clunky. Yes there are velvet hunt caps but the point is something that can replace the uniqueness of the top hat at UL dressage, not just copying hunt caps.

              I guess I'm thinking something that doesn't try to copy the "traditional" (archaic) styles, but makes use of what is required for protection in a fashion-forward way. Not something that people put up with wearing because they have to, but WANT to wear. Like tall shiny black boots--they may not be comfortable but one suffers for the look.
              I think there is a difference between "elegant" and "fashion forward." I can't say I've ever thought of the dressage ring as a "fashion forward" place. IMO, the outfits are heinous and not very flattering on most people. Stock ties are stuffy-looking and buns are just gross.

              When I think of an "elegant" helmet, this one comes to mind: http://www.irhhelmets.com/ROYALE-COT...met-ID-16.html it has a clean, flattering profile and is probably one of the best ASTM versions of a hunt cap you'll find. I also think the silver diamond-shaped emblems on the new CO helmets look nice.
              "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Just thought I'd add this from my other post, LOL

                www.hideahelmet.com

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Those are cute, pfb! While some of those are a bit flamboyant, I think what that shows is that there may be potential in styling the brim in ways that minimize the bulk.

                  MG, I'm just using "fashion-forward" loosely--my shorthand for something that the cool people would want to wear. (The closest I ever get to that myself is watching FTV!) But I think that there are indeed design tricks and styling that can help make the useful also beautiful.

                  I understand the pull of the traditional, but what's "traditional" changes all the time.
                  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


                  • #10
                    I personally always thought top hats looked dumb on a rider...not elegant.

                    So I think it may be somewhat your perspective.

                    Here is an eventer who wore her helmet in dressage at Rolex (and got a top knotch score).

                    I think she looks better in the helmet than in the top hat. Looks more like an athlete. Of course I also dislike shadbelly's....and have never understood why we still dress like that for dressage (or jackets for jumping).

                    http://blog.smartpakequine.com/2010/...er-on-helmets/
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This one is pretty close. It could be tweaked for Dressage folks.
                      http://www.nationalbridle.com/product-p/1-6906.htm
                      Some days the best thing about my job is that the chair spins.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        {Meaty takes a $10 bill and lays it on table} - I am betting Troxel and possibly others are already working on this. Troxel makes the helmet with the western hat cover - http://tackwholesale.com/product_info.php?products_id=2470{21}4359 and I believe they also make the derby version linked above. Guessing dressage top hat version will be out soon considering the new rule.

                        I agree there has been an explosion on the helmet market, and I expect that those who are complaining that they absolutely can't find anything suitable are still going to complain when other options are available (unless of course they do come out with the Star Wars forcefield invisi-helmet). Some people just can't help themselves I guess!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          shadbelly's are far more elegant than a regular riding coat

                          and i personally shudder to think of losing the traditional look of the Olympic disciplines of jumping 3DE and dressage.

                          helmets ok - but, all sports have their traditional look.... why do we need to lose ours?

                          (and superprix comes to mind if we do)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just want more washing and padding options for my helmets. Only troxel seems to understand that people's foreheads sweat and it's disgusting. Too bad I hate their dial systems. I also don't understand why one can't buy replacement adjustment/fitting pads. They sell them with the helmet and then expect them to last its lifetime (just an fyi but they seldom last a full summer). I think this is a helmet conspiracy expecting people to just buy another helmet. Leaves people wearing poorly fitting helmets instead.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mg View Post
                              I think there is a difference between "elegant" and "fashion forward." I can't say I've ever thought of the dressage ring as a "fashion forward" place. IMO, the outfits are heinous and not very flattering on most people. Stock ties are stuffy-looking and buns are just gross.

                              When I think of an "elegant" helmet, this one comes to mind: http://www.irhhelmets.com/ROYALE-COT...met-ID-16.html it has a clean, flattering profile and is probably one of the best ASTM versions of a hunt cap you'll find. I also think the silver diamond-shaped emblems on the new CO helmets look nice.
                              That's the one I have, and it is a flattering helmet.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                There are regular helmets that work fine for hunter and eventing, agreed. But this is not the same as the UL dressage look. That should be something particular and defined. It should compliment the shadbelly and tails, create a cohesive look that is--yeah, sorry--elegant. That's still the best word!

                                It should be the badge that UL riders have earned, and delight in wearing. And still be a protective helmet.

                                So far, though, it seems that all helmet makes have done to create a brimmed version is to slap some sort of cover on a standard helmet (western, derby, etc.) As long as it's something like that, people will tend to ridicule it.

                                PFB's link shows that a styled brim can help, but perhaps a slightly different shape to the helmet itself might still provide protection while creating the illusion of a thinner wall. The essence of fashion is illusion, drawing the eye to flatter the silhouette, creating a silk purse out of...well you know.

                                I'm challenging the helmet makers to address this! Hello, Troxel, IRH, and friends! Have a contest or something, just get the juices flowing, start at the drawing board instead of just slapping a cowboy hat or derby on top of a helmet.

                                The cooperation of USDF and USEF would help, although they can't stop anyone from wearing a protective helmet, they could specify which styles could be worn for FEI levels, same as they do now.
                                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


                                • #17
                                  Well, people keep pointing out options, and you just keep repeating yourself. What do you expect? Protection that's only as thick as the top hat? Because that's just not possible. There has to be somewhere to fit that shock-absorbing material. There is simply no way to make an approved helmet that's only as thick at the felt of a top hat.

                                  So if you want the look of the top hat, then it's going to have to go over the top of the helmet that actually protects your head. Or just buy an FEI horse, learn to ride it, and skip the whole mess.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    I agree I'm repeating myself. (Seems to me that people are repeating that there are already available helmets.) Sorry about that, but the challenge isn't to make the shock absorbing material go away, it's to disguise it better. But yes, I agree, I'm repeating myself. Repeat. Repeat.

                                    I wouldn't ride an FEI horse without a helmet, thanks.
                                    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


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by WB Mom View Post
                                      This one is pretty close. It could be tweaked for Dressage folks.
                                      http://www.nationalbridle.com/product-p/1-6906.htm
                                      Oh god thats horrid!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
                                        Just thought I'd add this from my other post, LOL

                                        www.hideahelmet.com
                                        HAHAHAHAHAHAH!! If I saw someone wearing one of those in real life I don't know what I would do!! I couldn't find how much they cost, It would be a great secret santa gag gift!

                                        Comment

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