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Why don't dressage riders wear helmets?

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  • Why don't dressage riders wear helmets?

    Obviously, that isn't true for everyone, but more often than not, when you see ads of riders on dressage horses, or photos of the pros, etc., the dressage rider is wearing a ball cap or a visor (or nothing) and not a helmet while schooling, etc. I'm just curious as to why this seems to be so prevalent in this sport.

  • #2
    You know, I've always wondered about that, too, and I think it's one of those "tradition" things. At least the hunter people (mostly) were used to wearing the old style hard hats, so it wasn't as much of a big deal to switch to helmets that were actually going to be useful. That or maybe dressage riders figure they'll never fall off??? :-)

    I ride western now, and always wear a helmet --- I'd feel nekkid without one!



    • #3
      well there is advertising and then there is the real world

      Most of the mainstream magazines ( dressage today for instance) do a good job in making sure demo riders in photos for articles wear helmets

      In reality, most people I know wear helmets at home at at shows.

      There will always be those who refuse, just as there are in hunters and all theother disceplines.

      Sometimes it takes a bad fall to "scare you straight". Age does it too. When you realize that normal aging is bad enough with memory, being able to get thru the day without an ache or pain. You discover that you best protect what few assets you have left
      -- * > hoopoe
      Procrastinate NOW
      Introverted Since 1957


      • #4
        because some people thought their riding is so dang good they will never fall off.

        In my opinion, it is just stupid. If I have my way, I would like to see FEI level requires riders to wear helmet as well.


        • Original Poster

          I notice this at shows and clinics too though. Your lower level riders typically wear a helmet, but everyone else is without. I know beyond 4th you wear a top hat anyway, but can still wear a helmet, it's just something I've noticed over the years and always wondered about.


          • #6

            I don't know about magazines but a very large number of riders wear helmets in my area. Twenty years ago it was unusual to see a helmeted rider of any discipline. Now, helmets are in the majority. Over here the WP people are slower in adopting helmet use vs. english type (dressage and HJ) or strict trail riders.


            • #7
              yeah I used to wear 'paper mache' style hunt cap. How stupid is that.


              • #8
                so when we fall off, we don't land on our heads and break our necks?
                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                • #9
                  Because it would mess up their hair and hide their diamond earrings!


                  • #10
                    Personally, I feel very vulnerable without mine. If I go anywhere now, where it looks like I even have a prayer of riding, I take my helmet along. It makes me very, very nervous to have trainers get on my horse without one. I've had 3 of them do it - and my mare has been know to buck at the canter. My most recent former instructor got on her 16 y.o., out of shape, former eventer, asked him for a canter, and he bucked her off. No helmet...because she NEVER rides with one. This from a woman who doesn't carry health insurance, either. Luckily, my current trainer refuses to get on any horse without one which puts my mind tremendously at ease should she ever need to get on my horse for any reason.
                    "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


                    • #11
                      because they are selfish.

                      allow me to explain. We know the person in question does not care if they fall off and bust their head. But maybe they should wear a helmet because no one in the family wants to spoon feed them for the rest of their pathetic lives.

                      My friend KileyC says she HAS to wear a helmet because her family would let her starve.
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                        allow me to explain. We know the person in question does not care if they fall off and bust their head. But maybe they should wear a helmet because no one in the family wants to spoon feed them for the rest of their pathetic lives.

                        My friend KileyC says she HAS to wear a helmet because her family would let her starve.
                        Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                        • #13
                          because they are uncomfortable

                          I hate helmets.

                          To do their job well, a helmet needs to fit tighter than I like, giving me a headache and making me irritable. Then I'm not riding well.

                          I wear a helmet when it's required.


                          • #14
                            I also joke about messing up the coif, but really, I think it's a bit of tradition, a bit of ignorence (I"ve been told so many times in the past that a good dressage horse will never mess up.. yeah right.. although haven't heard that one lately) and a lot of arrogance.

                            I've shown up around mainly dressage and western barns with my helmet on every time, and what do you know.. the focus shifts and I end up seeing more riders in helmets more times than when I arrived. I have to say (sigh hate to say), I'm not some glamorous bombshell in my helmet! Mine are traditionally big ugly and approved and I'm a tomboy.
                            I think it "just takes one" to alter people's perception enough for them to study the situation from outside their normal parameters and reach a wiser conclusion.


                            • #15
                              because a helmet is to protect the brain. How many horse people do you know that are right in the head?. I don't know anyone including myself
                              Every time you ride, your are either teaching or un-teaching your horse.


                              • #16
                                It is a bit of a fad over here as many of the big names warm up and in articles are always pictured hatless.

                                Younger riders copy them thinking it's cool to do what Carl et al do. Never thinking of the consequences of a fall.

                                Brain damaged and spending the rest of my life dribbling in a wheelchair is not cool.

                                Hence, never hatless.

                                "Chaos, panic and disorder. My work here is done"

                                ~Member of the "Addicted to Lessons" clique~


                                • #17
                                  Well, when you think about it, it isn't that surprising that the most tradition bound of equestrian disciplines would be slow to catch on to something so "new" as helmets. No one ever wore helmets to ride. Then we made beginners and kids wear them. Then people jumping wore them. Then dressage riders on green or rank horses would wear them. Now the safety conscious adult ammies wear them. It is only a matter of time before everyone gets accustomed to it and it will feel awkward to go without (like seat belt laws).

                                  When you think that the jumpers would routinely school without helmets and then show in those ridiculous unsecured helmets but now every jumper rider has the titanium steel race car driver designed cost a fortune helmet....eventually the dressage riders will get on some helmet bandwagon when someone designs something ultra cool, technical and very expensive.


                                  • #18
                                    I asked my trainer this question who sometimes does and sometimes does not where a helmet.

                                    She said that on horses that she knows are quiet and steady she doesn't wear one because that would mean wearing the same helmet for just about 7 hours straight because she rides so many in a day. In the summer especially she feels that's kind of gross. I've equated it to speeding in my car. On some roads I speed (NJ Tnpk - straight, good visiability) but on others I don't (Wertzville - lots of blind curves and deer, narrow).

                                    However, she always wears a helmet on the young ones and those she does not know and on trail rides.

                                    Personally, I always wear my helmet but wish the liner came out so I could wash it.


                                    • #19
                                      The worst bang to the head I ever took was not because I got bucked off or because the horse did anything naughty. He tripped. It was an accident, plain and simple and he could not get his feet back under himself in time. I got a concussion WITH the helmet on -- I dare not think of how bad it could have been without it.

                                      I admit to taking Sar out on lazy slow trail rides without a helmet when it's really hot or cool enough that I want to wear a stocking cap instead. He's as bombproof as they come, though, and I don't fancy too much happening when we're walking around the back 40. If I want to play & run, though, I wear the helmet.

                                      My head feels naked riding any other horse without a helmet, though. And this is coming from a former western rider who used to say she'd rather die than wear one! It's just what you're used to -- once you get used to a helmet you don't even notice it's there.
                                      Proud member of the draft cross clique!!! Mum to Normandy & Sar.


                                      • #20
                                        I knew a gal who said (in a very pompous I never fall off because I'm so good voice) she only wore helmets on young horses.
                                        This is the same woman who was out hacking her 18+ hh (you read that right) teen-aged horse in the hills and he tripped and fell down- and of course off she went. (And had to walk home because she couldn't get back on him from the ground.) So I looked at her when she made that ridiculous statement and said- oh I see- because older horses never FALL DOWN.
                                        Freak accidents happen even if you do wear a helmet- sometimes those are the breaks.
                                        But shame on you if you choose NOT to because they're hot, uncomfortable, mess up your hair, aren't "cool"... WHATEVER. Shame on you because the ones left behind to care for the drooling blob on life support that used to be you are the ones who suffer. I second the you are selfish sentiment.