FEI Dressage Helmet Blues

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I think the riding safety helmet manufacturers have been behind the curve with a limited selection of colors in velvet helmets for dressage riders. They are popular in Europe, so why wouldn't they be accepted here as well' What I really, really want is a navy (true navy, not royal blue) velvet-covered safety helmet to go with my dark navy tail coat for FEI classes. Maybe if I could find that helmet it would be the final push I need to get me back in the ring. Okay, some help in the trailering department is what I really need, but if I had the helmet I'd actually want to wear it somewhere in public!

A year and a half ago, when I saw that the FEI riders were quickly turning in their top hats for safety helmets, I called Troxel to see if their popular Grand Prix model (which I love) would be coming out in navy. I am wearing a Troxel in the picture that goes with this blog. They sounded perplexed by the question. To this day, the Troxel Grand Prix still comes only in black. The only company that seems to be making velvet helmets in navy is Charles Owen, but I still haven't seen any in the shops. I want to view the navy for myself before buying, because I keep seeing blue helmets in the ring that are clearly lighter than the blue in the jackets and coats, and it just doesn't look quite right to me. I see a lot of the more expensive skunk-stripe helmets in that lighter blue, but I really am not fond of the skunk stripe either, no matter how popular it's become. Part of my objection is that the marketing implies that if you pay $300 or more (often a LOT more) for a skunk-stripe helmet you'll have a safer helmet, but there is no proof of that. All the helmets that meet the ASTM/SEI standards are pretty much the same from a safety standpoint, from what I've seen so far, so why pay more for a helmet that I don't think looks as good, if it also doesn't give me anything more in the way of protection'

My husband is now jumping into the fray, what with Christmas breathing down his neck. His annual dilemma is whether he can figure out a surprise gift that will be something I actually want and can use or whether he needs to forego the surprise and ask me straight out. I told him I was lusting over a navy blue helmet (and an e-reader, hint hint) and even knew the size and model, but that they weren?t in the shops. He went online, but I cautioned him the color might not be right when it arrived. Oh, well, I'll keep at the search and maybe take the chance on ordering one after all if I can return one that turns out more royal than navy.

(One Christmas, Henry got me one of those coat carriers that holds a tail coat, top hat and boots all in one unit. I thought it was a great gift. Then I zipped it open and inside was a beautiful new tail coat! WoW! I used it constantly until I realized that storing the top hat sideways was giving it a jaunty Australian look, with one side pushed up ? hence I need a new hat for the FEI classes now. However, a safety helmet should go right into that coat carrier just fine.)

In the meantime, I am still fretting over my own gift list. I knew better than to venture forth on Black Friday, but I took some advantage of Small Business Saturday at my local tack shop and Cyber Monday at the catalog shop. I always leave some of this too late. If you do as well, remember that you can get a great subscription deal right now for Horse Journal: two subscriptions for the cost of one, just a total of $36. THere's a trick, though. You can't go through the website. You have to call 800-829-9145 and mention the code 71X2F1. Sounds like a great idea for barn buddies.