December 27, 2011—Equine Canada and Dressage Canada are taking an industry-wide leadership role by requiring all dressage riders to wear helmets in competition. Commencing in 2012, a national rule change will require all riders to wear helmets for all levels of Equine Canada sanctioned dressage competition.
The rule for January 1, 2012 is SAFETY HEADGEAR
All riders, regardless of age or level or competition, must wear ASTM/SEI or BSI/BS EN approved protective headgear at all times when mounted at any EC-sanctioned Dressage competition at the event location.
“I am very proud of our Dressage Committee for taking this step,” said Equine Canada president Michael Gallagher. “I believe we are the first national federation in the world to introduce this rule across all levels, and I can guarantee we will not be the last.”
This change for 2012 is a modification to the rule that was put in place in May 2011 where all riders competing in Fourth Level and below, FEI Young Horse Tests, Material and equitation classes at Bronze, Silver and Gold shows had to wear helmets. This rule also included non-competing riders as well.
“Helmet use is an important step and component in the safety for all our members,” said John Harris, chair of Equine Canada Board’s Task Force on Safety. “In 2012 Equine Canada will launch a safety audit across the entire organization to examine and identify best practices for safety. The well-being of our members needs to always be the primary concern of the organization.”
“I am thrilled that Canada is promoting the use of helmets,” said Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer, who routinely wears helmets during competition. “Helmets prevent head injuries, and I feel a rule that promotes the safety of its riders is a great rule.”
“Riders4Helmets is delighted that Equine Canada is demonstrating that rider safety comes before tradition by implementing helmet rule changes in dressage shows at all level,” said Lyndsey White, co-founder www.riders4helmets.com. “Courtney King-Dye’s accident showed that safety has nothing to do with level of skill. Any rider can suffer a traumatic brain injury—even an Olympian. Equine Canada should be congratulated on taking this monumental step.”
Most of the feedback received by the Dressage Canada Rules Committee on the subject of helmet safety was in favour of riders wearing approved helmets in competition. This rule change came after an open, democratic process, in which all Canadian dressage riders had a chance to express their views to the proposal.
For the complete Equine Canada Dressage rules for 2012, please visit the rules section of the Equine Canada website at http://bit.ly/sr00gv.