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No Helmets in the Upper-Level Dressage Phase of Eventing

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  • #61
    Originally posted by JER View Post
    and



    deltawave and riderboy are physicians.

    Heck, I'm only an EMT and I agree with them.

    Eventing is a sport and we should dress like athletes, not like Fred Astaire.
    Amen to that. Let's see, three health care professionals agree on this and I just bet if we talked to our colleagues it would be 100%. I try to find "shades of gray" in other issues because many times there are competing legitimate opinions. Not here.

    Comment


    • #62
      I'm a wear my helmet every ride type of girl. Tonight I went to ride and it was -10C (14F). I was very very tempted to just skip the helmet and wear my cozy touque to ride since it was so warm and all I was planning on was walking (my horse has been out of work for a few months due to my business). Then I led my horse in from the field and about 2 steps from the barn he did the most impressive airs above the ground trying to escape the horse eating air apparently... so I decided I'd suck up the cold and put the helmet on. My horse behaved perfectly (suprise suprise) but karma dictates he probably wouldn't have had I had my touque on.

      I do wear a hunt cap with him and my topper for dressage. I have never worn an approved helmet with him for dressage. I have and will with younger and greener horses however. It's my choice. I am well aware the risks. Does that make me vain and stupid? Quite possibly. But it is still my choice.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        Tradition is important because it creates a FAIR and LEVEL playing field.
        How exactly? Not all that long ago, there was a 'tradition' of extending voting rights to white men only. And a 'tradition' of burning witches at the stake. And a 'tradition' of using lead-based paint in houses.

        And, in eventing, a 'tradition' of restricting the Olympics to men only. How's that for FAIR and LEVEL?

        A fair and level playing field is the result of logical, thoughtful, evolving rules that are observed by and applied equally to all participants so as to ensure the enjoyment of the sport and the well-being of the participants.

        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        There is pretty much always reasoned logic behind tradition;
        Okay. So let's burn a witch!

        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        Doing something different calls attention to your horse and can say to a judge, "I don't trust this horse to be civil today in the dressage ring for you, so I am wearing safety gear." IF I ever get there, I want every advantage. I'm not going to trot in (or canter in) and have a judge say, "oh. who is THAT wearing a safety helmet? can't she ride?"
        A judge who thinks that way is an [edit] idiot. Why should a judge care about your choice of headgear so long as it's within the rules?

        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        I trust tradition, not blindly, but because the people who spent 50 years building this sport aren't stupid, as you are all intimating.
        They're not brain surgeons either. And I mean that literally. It's not like the study of medicine or the science of safety are frozen in time. We have safety devices at our disposal now that didn't exist 50 years ago. We know more about traumatic brain injury now than we did 50 years ago. Why not put that knowledge and those tools to use where we know they can prevent serious damage?

        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        Most have one or two LIFETIME and go back to being US. I would not be so fast to criticize, were I in that position. It's rare and it's special.
        So is your brain. And you only have one.

        Originally posted by retreadeventer
        I think it is far more important, if one is even slightly interested in "safety", that we take a very hard and focused look at the horses bleeding on cross country FIRST before we worry about helmets in dressage, but that is just my TRADITONAL, misplaced concern I am sure.
        These are two separate issues. It's not either/or. Wearing a helmet is a proven step toward safety in the sport -- so why not make the rule to cover all mounted riders at events?
        Last edited by Moderator 1; Jan. 12, 2010, 08:03 AM. Reason: language

        Comment


        • #64
          I plan on one day being Deltawave's hero....

          ...I will make no excuses and if anyone asks, I will simply state that I value my head above fashion. Statistically speaking, I will likely never fall off any horse in a dressage ring, BUT I DO NOT want to be that 1 in a billion freak accident.

          ...As far as retreadeventer's comments. The people who came up with dress for dressage when civilians were first allowed to compete did not have a safety helmet option. The people that came up with the original dress for football did not have the technology that we have today. For some reason, they have decided not to stick with tradition and go for technology, even for their kicker. When running started to be competitive, people wore the equivalent of work shoes. Technology changed and people jump on each and every new show that is supposed to help them out. Maybe not everyone, but you get the idea.

          ...Also, I agree with JER.

          ...Furthermore, in reference to retreadeventer. The issue of horses bleeding in cross country is a difficult one to solve. It will take years of research. Wearing a safety helmet opposed to a piece of attire that was fashionable a few decades ago takes about three seconds of thought. It does not change how you do anything other than survive a fall.

          ...For Jazzy Lady's final questions, I will relay a story. I was at my last horse trial with fiance, brother, sis-in-law and 6 month old niece. Someone rode by while I was watching someone doing the dressage test in the ring. I, in my troxel velvet low profile helmet, made this comment about the passing pro. "You see that hunt cap she's wearing? It looks exactly the same as mine - fits the same outwardly, except mine has a harness. The main difference is that hers is not approved and will not protect her at all in a fall, if it even stays on. Personally, I think that is very stupid. It makes no sense to wear something that looks exactly the same as something else that can also protect your head."

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by riderboy View Post
            Amen to that. Let's see, three health care professionals agree on this and I just bet if we talked to our colleagues it would be 100%. I try to find "shades of gray" in other issues because many times there are competing legitimate opinions. Not here.
            I'm another colleague and I agree. Traumatic brain injuries are real and happen all the time.

            Also, I have had 2 severe concussions- one NOT wearing a helmet and one wearing a helmet- but both doing flat work. Granted, I am not an upper level dressage rider, but I have been riding for about 25 years.

            The first occurred when I was 19 and stupidly hacking without a helmet. You would think Pony Club would have beaten it into my head, but nope. When my horse wildly bucked and my saddle slipped, I was catapulted off and do not remember anything else. I am now permanently hearing impaired and have had 2 subsequent surgeries as a result.

            The second time I was in a dressage lesson and the horse spooked, bucked and I flew off, landing obliquely on my head. My Charles Owen was securely strapped on, but I still had neurological complications. My CO was replaced and was subsequently replaced free of charge by the company.

            When my patients mention to me they ride, my first question is "do you wear a helmet every time you ride?" Your brain could care less if you have risen to the ranks of competing at Burghley or riding your Shetland in the back yard. And really-- the pediatric population, who is not competing at UL dressage, has a better chance at more neuro recovery from a TBI than the average adult does.

            I love the classical look of formal attire and understand the thrill of wearing something like that, but people (and the "Rule Makers") should love their brains more.
            And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."

            Comment


            • #66
              For my reply, kindly see JER's. Couldn't have said it better.

              A funny looking HAT that is no longer used ANYWHERE in modern society is more important than a culture of safety? Really? THAT is the tradition that is sacrosanct. Oy vey.

              And wearing a helmet sends a message to a dressage judge that "my horse is about to dump me?" REALLY? Do we give judges so little credit?

              It was a tradition in the NFL to get your butt back up off the ground and go back in for the next series after a hit that knocked you cold. There are still IDIOTS who cling to that tradition as a fine example of "how REAL football was played" and decry the evolution of sound medical reasoning as "sissifying" the sport. IDIOTS.

              I think it is far more important, if one is even slightly interested in "safety", that we take a very hard and focused look at the horses bleeding on cross country FIRST before we worry about helmets in dressage
              But why? Are we incapable of thinking about both? One issue dwarfs the other (unless your loved one is the one in a million with the brain injury) but not ONE DOLLAR has to be spent, nor ONE RIDER inconvenienced in the slightest in order for the USEA to make the rule change that would eliminate, once and for all, the angst that so many riders are apparently struggling with. Certified headgear all the time, every time. So simple a caveman could do it. Problem solved. And hello, there IS a lot of very focused work being done on bleeding and XC collapses. It costs money, it's going to take YEARS to figure that out, if it is even do-able. Helmet rule? Five minutes, finished. Rule changed, problem no longer in existence.
              Click here before you buy.

              Comment


              • #67
                It would help if the top level dressage riders started bucking tradition, but... in my dreams. In dressage, the higher level the rider, the more likely s/he will not wear a helmet when riding, ever. Drives me absolutely nuts.
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                Comment


                • #68
                  Years ago one of our pony clubbers was knocked unconscious as she got ready to go to the dressage ring of a local, recognized event, in her not ASTM/SEI approved hunt cap. Her older, reliable, horse was standing next to the trailer after she got on. Somehow, he slipped and her head hit the trailer. She was helicoptered out, and spent some time in the ICU. I don't remember if she lost a semester of college at her Ivy league school due to the fall. I hope her good brain eventually went completely back to normal. For a while, she had some intellectual deficits.

                  It is time for an upper level rider to show some guts and ride dressage in an approved helmet. Perhaps someone could put together a $500 award for the first rider to compete a dressage test at Rolex in an approved helmet. Maybe the Chronicle could take their picture and do a story applauding their innovative spirit and commitment to bettering our sport.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Heck, I'll put up the $500 to the rider who publicly and conspicuously trots (or is it canters?) down centerline at Rolex this year with an approved helmet on. If COTH will do the publicity part, I'll cough up the money. If anyone wishes to join in, we can sweeten the pot.
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      I'll send in a contribution!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                        It would help if the top level dressage riders started bucking tradition, but... in my dreams. In dressage, the higher level the rider, the more likely s/he will not wear a helmet when riding, ever. Drives me absolutely nuts.
                        You are absolutely correct. Safety changes are driven by tragedy, as at Rolex. It's really too bad.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                          Heck, I'll put up the $500 to the rider who publicly and conspicuously trots (or is it canters?) down centerline at Rolex this year with an approved helmet on. If COTH will do the publicity part, I'll cough up the money. If anyone wishes to join in, we can sweeten the pot.
                          I'll join in.

                          Perhaps this is something to pitch to the helmet makers to offer as a sponsorship? I know Troxel tried several years ago to get pro barrel racers to wear their helmets in contests. Martha Josey and her students took them up on their offer.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            I like the idea of having helmet companies on board, unless having them would give an odor of self-promotion and detract from the message? But I haven't got a very good "head" for that sort of thing, if you'll pardon the pun. If anyone in the marketing or promotion field wanted to pitch in, some brainpower in the packaging end might help this to make a statement and take a hunk out of the immovable rock of anachronism.
                            Click here before you buy.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              We all spend countless hours and dollars learning how to ride, reading about riding, trying to understand and remember everything we can about horses and riding. We all work to get the theory and intellectual understanding to manifest physically into coordinated aids, improved balance and timing, and (insert your personal goals here)......Wearing a helmet, at the absolute barest of minimums, is a simple insurance policy on this investment, no? It is beyond me why one would choose to go without "insurance" on something so precious.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Generally speaking, as far as I know, one of the best ways companies use to get athletic products interested in the market is to have an athlete use them.

                                So, there are two things a company like Troxel can do. They can develop an ASTM certified top hat and get a Rolex competitor to wear it, or they can make a minor change to another helmet (I vote for the velvet low profile) and introduce it as a 'new helmet' by the athlete wearing it.

                                A third option is to have Troxel make a public stance on safety, with the endorsement of some upper Level rider, through him wearing one of their hats in the dressage arena. I lean towards Troxel liking option one or two better, but I am not market guru, just a lady that knows some people that started their own product lines/companies.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Things can happen quickly in our sport. All it takes is for one top rider, maybe two, to decide to just go for it and wear the helmet.

                                  Look at how quickly GPAs took off in hunterland. I mean, here you have a group that was very concerned about the look, terribly upset about even adding a harness, fought ASTM standards for years.... and then in about a two year period, GPA paid a bunch of top riders to wear their very expensive helmets, and suddenly they were the new in-thing even in the hunter and equitation rings. Today you'll come across young posters wondering if it would be OK to wear a plain velvet ASTM helmet, instead of the "traditional" GPA, or if they'll be penalized!

                                  If Anky started wearing a helmet, everyone would be within 5 years. I swear it.

                                  People like the look of the top hat because it is so slim. A top hat on top of a helmet does not have that same look - the proportions just scream how wrong they are. The example shown... well, frankly, I think I'd look more polished in my black Troxel Sierra. Or in a Tipperary.

                                  I've also been interested to see the acceptance of the Tipperary helmet. It does not look like any traditional helmet, and yet it is being accepted in many disciplines (I see team penners wearing them around here; I've never seen anyone wear the Troxel western helmet). It looks more like a helmet for some Olympic speed discipline, and sometimes (as with food and diet restrictions) it's better to do something completely and totally different rather than attempt a poor imitation of something else that has certain preconceived expectations.
                                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    I never get on a horse without a helmet, ever. Over the years I've seen/heard of too many accidents ... crazy, unpredictable, unlikely ... there is no way to know which day is accident day ... and how easy to have the helmet in place, how many regrets if it were not. And the kind of horses often doing dressage/eventing are perhaps more reactive and more prone to the crazy, unpredictable and unlikely than some other types.

                                    I will even chuck in 20 bucks to a fund that will truly go to the rider who wears an approved helmet in 2010 Rolex dressage. And another 20 to the fund for 2010 WEG dressage. Really will.

                                    But. However. This is still truth ...
                                    Originally posted by dkcbr View Post
                                    Yes, but my belief is that head injuries in the dressage ring are statistically unlikely.

                                    I hope no one interprets my comment(s) as saying this type of injury can't happen. Big difference there.
                                    Of all the issues in front of eventing today ... this one is near bottom of my personal list. IMO the 20's would be far more useful in the study to better understand why horses are dropping dead on cross-country, without injury as a cause.

                                    Western riders log many more hundreds of hours without helmets or falls, and a good bit of their riding is even more risky than dressage. Including cutting, reining and roping. I asked my reiner friend why none of the dozens of reiners at a show were wearing a helmet, and she said simply "reiners don't fall off." Honestly I had to consider my own horse sport and think about that ... Of course few if any of the reiners are on hyper-reactive TB's and TB crosses.

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
                                      Let's imagine a utopic world where all the upper-level riders DID wear ASTM helmets for the dressage phase. What would be next? In 20 years, will we be on their butts to wear safety vests over their shads? And then it'll be safety release stirrups? And pretty soon we'll be mandating helmet replacement after every single fall regardless of head impact, we'll be sending the TD after a rider because they left their helmet in the 100-degree sun for an hour and now it's "ruined", etc. etc.?
                                      I don't think it's slippery at all.

                                      What we have is a situation where a significant number of riders would be very happy to wear the ASTM helmet but don't, because they worry that after years of hard work and hundreds of thousands of dollars, that it is a competitive disadvantage.

                                      Changing the rule puts everyone in the same equipment and levels the field.

                                      Of course, then there is the problem of the FEI rules being different. We can change it for national competition, but Rolex is not run under USEF rules.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                        Things can happen quickly in our sport. All it takes is for one top rider, maybe two, to decide to just go for it and wear the helmet.
                                        Yep - IF they wore it every single time. No exceptions, not for WEG, Olympics, a command performance in front of the Queen, nuthin - always always wear the approved helmet. And you are right, attitudes would start to change and more would find the courage to buck tradition.


                                        The rule requiring all mounted exhibitors to wear ASTM approved helmets passed in 2005. This means that even when not in a class an approved helmet must be worn on the show grounds.
                                        Er, uh ... Know for a fact this is not consistently enforced in warm-up rings - dressage or eventing. Seen TD's looking right at a bare-headed dressage warm-up ride and nothing was said. Witnessed during 2009. Was wondering what the rule was at the time.

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                                          Western riders log many more hundreds of hours without helmets or falls, and a good bit of their riding is even more risky than dressage. Including cutting, reining and roping. I asked my reiner friend why none of the dozens of reiners at a show were wearing a helmet, and she said simply "reiners don't fall off." Honestly I had to consider my own horse sport and think about that ... Of course few if any of the reiners are on hyper-reactive TB's and TB crosses.
                                          Of course they fall off and get badly hurt. You just don't hear about it because those aren't your people. In my own tiny valley, we had a woman severely injured and her horse killed during a drill team performance when one horse stumbled at the canter, causing a collision with another horse. The sequins on her shirt didn't help her out much, and for the next year she went around with one of those horrible neck braces that is pinned to your skull, and crutches.

                                          A year later, my daughter and I were watching another drill team work in another venue and there was another stumble at the canter that caused horse and rider to faceplant about 20 feet from us. Thank goodness horse and rider, after some drama, walked away.

                                          What I notice about the western riders is that their hats invariably fall off during the speed events, which creates annoying delays for the ring crew and oddly ends up creating a hazard while riding, as the rider tries to use a spare hand to hold the hat on while barrel racing and the like. I keep wanting to yell get a harness or leave it at home.
                                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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