New FEI Helmet Rule to Take Effect Jan. 1

7 years ago admin Comments Off on New FEI Helmet Rule to Take Effect Jan. 1
World No. 1 Charlotte Dujardin wearing safety helmet while riding Valegro at the Olympics where she won both team and individual gold medals. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Dressage riders can still wear top hats and bowlers, reiners continue to dress like cowboys and vaulters don’t need anything on their heads in competition under new rules to be implemented for International Equestrian Federation (FEI) events on Jan. 1, 2013.

The most significant change is that when riders not going to or from the stable to the warmup area and the competition arena for an actual competition must wear a safety helmet when mounted anywhere on the show grounds.

The safety helmet rule will come into effect a year later than originally scheduled at the request of the United States Equestrian Federation that said it wanted to give reiners and vaulters more time to get used to proposed changes.

For dressage, “Athletes 18 years and older, riding horses seven years and older may wear a top hat/bowler instead of protective headgear at the actual Competition and the warming-up directly prior to the Competition (with no break before the Competition), which includes riding between the stable and the warm-up area, riding of the competing Horse in the warm-up area, and riding back to the stable.”

Riders in violation of the rule will be prohibited from further riding “until the protective headgear is properly in place.”

If a rider refuses to comply with a request by an official to wear properly fastened “appropriate helmet and headgear that is in compliance with the applicable international testing standards” a yellow card will be issued to the rider.

After two yellow warning cards, the athlete will be automatically suspended for two months.

The new FEI rules essentially mirror the pioneering regulation instituted by the U.S. after 2008 Olympian Courtney King-Dye was thrown from a horse in March, 2010, was in a coma for a month and is still undergoing rehabilitation.

The International Dressage Riders Club has scheduled discussion of the issue at its general assembly at the Global Dressage Forum in the Netherlands at the end of October.

The FEI rule to come into effect:

“From 1 January 2013 at FEI Events, all riders will be required to wear Protective Headgear while mounted on a horse on the showgrounds,

“EXCEPT:

“1.  The discipline rules will apply in the competition arena/field of play. So, for example, while Eventing riders are always required to wear a helmet during the Cross Country, Dressage riders can still wear a top hat/bowler while competing and vaulters do not have to wear a helmet while they are in the arena actually vaulting the horse. This also means that the exception in the Jumping Rules for ceremonial protocol still applies to the Jumping riders, but this will be discussed further during the rules revision for the discipline next year.

“2.  The exception above extends to riding from the stables to the warm-up area or competition arena just prior to competing (and from the warm-up directly to the competition arena). This is primarily for the Dressage riders and Reiners so they do not have to stop to change their headgear after warming up just prior to entering the arena. However, if they are riding to a training area when they are not about to compete or on a non-competition day, a helmet will be required.”

“GENERAL RULE: General Regulations Art. 140

“The rule: starting 1 January 2013, wearing properly fastened Protective Headgear will be mandatory for all disciplines while riding on the show grounds. (“Protective Headgear” is defined in the GRs as “appropriate helmet or Headgear that is in compliance with the applicable international testing standards”.)

“In the Competition arena and adjacent warm-up areas,
– a Yellow card for athletes refusing to comply with a request made by an Official that they wear protective headgear
– some disciplines apply additional sanctions.”

Discipline specific rules:

DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC PROVISIONS FOR RIDING IN THE COMPETITION ARENA AND ADJACENT WARM-UP AREAS, FROM COMPETITION ARENA TO ADJACENT WARM-UP AREA, AND FROM THE STABLES FOR THE PURPOSES OF COMPETING

DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC SANCTIONS

DRESSAGE
Athletes 18 years and older, riding Horses seven (7) years and older may wear a top hat/bowler instead of protective headgear at the actual Competition and the warming-up directly prior to the Competition (with no break before the Competition), which includes riding between the stable and the warm-up area, riding of the competing Horse in the warm-up area, and riding back to the stable.
Prohibition from further riding until the protective headgear is properly in place.

JUMPING
Senior Athletes may be allowed to remove their headgear for ceremonial protocol.
Fine; Ground Jury may deny permission to take part in the competition.

PARA DRESSAGE

Protective headgear is mandatory at all times.
Prohibition from further riding until headgear is properly in place.

EVENTING
–      a hard hat is compulsory for anyone riding a Horse at the Event.
–      Wearing properly fastened protective headgear complying with the European  (EN), British (PAS), North American (ASTM), Australian/New Zealand tested standards is compulsory for anyone jumping an obstacle. Protective headgear is compulsory at the Jumping and Cross Country tests
–      At the Dressage test, hard hat or top hat are compulsory
Elimination, at the discretion of the Ground Jury

ENDURANCE
Protective headgear is mandatory at all times.
Elimination

DRIVING
–      For Adults, protective headgear is mandatory for Competitors and Grooms  in Section E competitions.
–      For Children, protective headgear is mandatory at all times
Elimination

REINING
–      Athletes may wear either a western hat or a safety helmet whilst competing.

VAULTING
No requirement.