The board of directors during this year’s United States Equestrian Federation annual meeting approved new helmet rules for riders in both eventing and dressage, just two weeks after dozens of stakeholders in equestrian sport met with the goal of improving rider safety across disciplines. The measures were approved on Jan. 23 at the conclusion of the meeting.
“The attention to safety in eventing has led to a 40 percent decrease in rider injuries between 2007 and 2011," said Malcolm Hook, USEF Eventing Safety Officer and chair of the USEF Eventing Technical Committee. "The Eventing Technical Committee could see no reason to delay implementation of a probably inevitable and statistically justifiable rule change in an effort to continue this encouraging trend."
USEF efforts were preceded by the Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium, held in Wellington, Fla., in early January. Representatives from USEF, the United States Eventing Association, the United States Dressage Foundation, the United States Hunter Jumper Association, racing, polo, helmet manufacturers, helmet testing authorities, leading equestrians and medical experts met with the goal of improving rider safety left pledging to work together across the disciplines.
The first USEF rule change requires anyone on a horse to wear an ASTM/SEI-approved helmet at all times while mounted on competition grounds at U.S. nationally rated eventing competitions. The rule change is effective immediately.
For dressage, anyone mounted on a horse must wear protective headgear, except those riders age 18 and over, while on horses that are competing only in FEI levels and tests at the Prix St. Georges level and above (including FEI Young Rider Tests, the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges Test and the USEF Brentina Cup Test). The rule is effective on March 1.
For specifics regarding the changes to the rule for protective headgear for eventing and dressage, click here.