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Article on the Top Hat Helmet

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  • Article on the Top Hat Helmet

    on page 20 of the March 2010 Dressage Today. I hope I don't offend anyone at COTH, but I thought this article would be on interest given the recent threads.
    First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus

  • #2
    So do tell us what it says or else provide a link to it so we can find it?


    • #3

      While I applaud the rider's desire to wear a helmet, I have a few problems with the logic behind the custom top hat cover:
      1) She says that she didn't want the judge to think her horse was unruly because she was wearing a helmet. I think that printing this kind of information perpetuates something that simply is not true. I've scribed a lot, and I have never once heard a judge make such a comment about a rider wearing a helmet at any level. The judge isn't going to assume your horse is unruly because you are wearing a helmet, the judge is going to think your horse is unruly if it is acting unruly in the ring.
      2) The top hat helmet isn't fooling anyone. It is clearly not a regular top hat, and it looks more conspicuous than a regular helmet.

      I really hope that helmet manufacturers will continue to develop their technologies and produce a top hat helmet that is attractive, doesn't look like it belongs on the Mad Hatter, and costs less than the $500-1200 price tag quoted in the article.
      Amateur rider, professional braider.
      Save a life, adopt a pet.


      • #4
        I think helmets look great (I've worn one with a shadbelly, I'll try to find a photo to post) and I think tophats look great. I don't think you can make a helmet look like a tophat and have it look good.

        I don't believe the judge will have a negative opinion.


        • #5
          I would have no desire to show under a judge who would take points off because I chose to show in a helmet rather than a top hat.

          Likely, s/he would have no knowledge of my background and/or what inspired me to make this decision. It has NOTHING to do with the arena performance, and goes along with the "I must have an XX bridle and a YY saddle. And I can only wear ZZZ breeches.." train of thought.

          I wouldn't hook up the trailer to be judged by anyone to whom those trivial details would make a difference.
          Equine Photography in the Northeast


          • #6
            To me, the Top Hat Helmet looks like a cowboy hat. If it gets even one more person to wear a helmet while they're up on a horse, then I'm all for it-- but really? I think a nice, well-fitted helmet looks far more professional, sleek, and attractive.


            • #7
              I don't know.. That top hat helmet looks awful to me. It brings attention right directly to that thing and makes it looks bigger than it really is. I think a regular helmet looks way more attractive.
              Last edited by Gloria; Mar. 16, 2010, 04:58 PM.


              • #8
                When top hats were no longer allowed in hunter classics, people complained and then got over it. It would not take long for the dressage community to do the same if the top hat option was taken away.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ccoronios View Post
                  I would have no desire to show under a judge who would take points off because I chose to show in a helmet rather than a top hat.
                  Well, yeah, because said judge would be breaking the rules.

                  The first step to getting to where helmets are acceptable is educating ourselves that riding in one does not break any rules and should not subject us to any kind of discrimination. This is a *safety* issue and no governing organization is going to open themselves to the liability that will result if they say "nope, you are not allowed to protect your head." That excuse is dead; the rest is up to us. Just do it.
                  "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                  Spay and neuter. Please.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ccoronios View Post
                    I would have no desire to show under a judge who would take points off because I chose to show in a helmet rather than a top hat.
                    My point is that judges DON'T CARE if you wear a helmet. They are not going to mark you down for it. We need to get rid of this misconception.

                    If a judge did mark someone down, I would hope that the scribe, or whomever else witnessed them doing this, would fill out a USEF Judge Evaluation form, as this is a clear violation of judging rules.
                    Amateur rider, professional braider.
                    Save a life, adopt a pet.


                    • #11
                      Honestly I think a nice helmet looks much better than these weird attempts to make a top hat out of a helmet. And if you are into status and fancy, you can easily spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a trendy helmet already - see Hunter/Jumper section of COTH!

                      Maybe since part of the top hat thing is that it indicates a certain rank and status in dressage, they can replace that with something else - like certain colors on your collar or a special stripe or armband or something. Like karate belts.


                      • #12
                        Yeaaah... That looks silly. Just wear a helmet, it looks MUCH better than that contraption. Plus, it's obvious she's wearing a helmet, so if some judge really did want to think your horse was unruly because you're wearing a helmet (silly, but some pros who don't wear helmets 100% of the time admit they wear helmets more often on unruly horses in the ring...) the judge would still KNOW you're wearing a helmet. And I don't think many judges would or should think that way.

                        Anyway, a poster on the Jingles for Courtney thread mentioned just making helmets mandatory. I think some people would gripe (as in the hunters), but I'd be all right with it (even as someone who is still moving towards wearing my helmet 100% of the time). It would just make it the rules, so nobody could feel like they were being pressured into wearing a top hat because it looks better or more professional (it does look lovely with a shadbelly, but whatever, the judge doesn't care).

                        Yes, we should all be able to make our own decisions, but that was the argument made when it became illegal to not wear seatbelts, so maybe it's time.


                        • #13
                          I saw that article as well and the top hat helmet just looks tacky. That said, I really don't think a well-fitted helmet would ever look bad and can definitely see myself wearing one even as I progress up the levels enough to have the top hat option.


                          • #14
                            I saw that article and the accompanying picture. Sorry to be blunt, but she looks like a blame-ass FOOL in that thing. Wear a helmet!


                            • Original Poster

                              I don't know where I read it, either in the recent Dressage Today or a recent Practical Horseman, but some where there was a question for a judge asking about this very question and they quoted the rules and said a judge would never think negatively for a person wearing a hardhat versus a top hat (or bowler). I was trying to find it because I wanted to add it to the original post. Maybe it was in an older issues.

                              Anyways, with judges it is a non-issue and I think if there was any kind of comment made on your sheet that was not positive I'd be hoofing it to a TD in a heartbeat.
                              First, say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do. ~Epictectus


                              • #16
                                I've said it before ....

                                I love the way top hats look. I really want to wear one. If / when I ever get to that point, I will wear my helmet in the ring, come out, jump off and switch helmet for top hat. Then I will sashay through the showgrounds, impressing all and sundry who see me. No problem.
                                ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....


                                • #17
                                  See, I guess I'm just the only person on the planet that looks RIDICULOUS in a top hat. I look like I belong in Ringling Bros in the center ring...

                                  And no, I can't afford a really super fancy once that might (or might not) suit my face better...

                                  So I'm all for helmets. I'm probably the only one who was already planning on wearing it FOR fashion reasons. <shrugs>
                                  InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                                  Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by magienoire View Post
                                    I saw that article and the accompanying picture. Sorry to be blunt, but she looks like a blame-ass FOOL in that thing. Wear a helmet!
                                    Looks like one of those cowboy hats made of nerf-ball material. Sorry, a helmet will do just fine for me, should I reach the rarified levels of FEI. Perhaps I'll spring for a REAL expensive one (what are the GPAs?) rather than my microfibre IHR helmet, but that's about it.

                                    I do have a proper helmet that is velvet covered with leather straps that sits in its box and only goes to shows, while the micrfibre one gets used daily and granted, is looking a bit grungy, but what the heck, it does its job.


                                    • #19
                                      Looks ridiculous. Just wear a helmet.

                                      I really think you're going to start seeing more people wearing helmets with their shads - just head over to dressagedaily.com today and check out the first pic.

                                      With everything that's going on if a judge marks you down for wearing a helmet they're the ones who need their heads examined. It seems to me that the trend is starting to shift and no one will be looking down on those deciding to wear their helmets in the show ring. I know there's a lot of talk about what judges will think, but honestly, I've scribed A LOT and I've never heard a judge say anything negative about a helmet. I have heard comments about people wearing top hats below FEI... but nothing about helmets!

                                      Until horses stop being horses I'll be wearing mine - even when showing FEI this year.
                                      True North Dressage
                                      Select Cheval Canadiens for dressage and eventing


                                      • #20
                                        it's hideous. This contraption the size of a beach ball won't make anyone decide to wear it. Why does there have to be a "top-hat helmet"? What's wrong with a plain ol' helmet, period?