USEF’s New Helmet Rule for Dressage and Eventing

By April 1, 2011

On March 3, a new USEF rule went into effect requiring dressage riders under the age of 18 and anyone competing at Training through Fourth Level to wear safety helmets at all times while mounted at shows licensed by the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Dressage Federation. All eventers must also don protective headgear while mounted at national eventing competitions.

L'Hiver Dressage Helmet

The USEF board of directors endorsed the helmet rule changes at the USEF Annual Meeting in January as part of a concerted effort to improve rider safety in all disciplines. They defined protective headgear as “a riding helmet which meets or exceeds ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag.”

L’Hiver, of the Netherlands, is one among many companies responding to market demand by creating stylish and safe helmets suitable for dressage and eventing.

L'Hiver helmets are protective and beautiful.

The move towards stricter headgear rules for dressage picked up momentum after Olympian Courtney King-Dye sustained a severe head injury in March 2010, when the horse she was riding tripped and fell, causing her to fracture her skull. She was not wearing a helmet at the time and has been undergoing extensive rehabilitation since she emerged from a month-long coma. Fellow Olympian Debbie McDonald credited King-Dye’s injury—and her Charles Owen helmet—with saving her life in early February, when she was bucked from a client’s horse in a training session in Thousand Oaks. McDonald was reportedly pitched head first into the ground and lost consciousness. She was treated at a nearby hospital for a concussion and facial lacerations and released.

For specifics on the helmet rule, go to more on L’Hiver helmets, visit

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