What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Archive for January, 2011

USEF Passes New Safety Helmet Rules for Eventing and Dressage Riders

January 26, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

For Immediate Release
January 25, 2011
By USEF Communications Department
Lexington, KY – The Board of Directors during this year’s United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) 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.”If the technology is available to reduce head injuries, the time to use it is now,” said USEF President David O’Connor. “I am very proud of our organization for taking this very important step.  It is a huge direction of change.”

Briefly, the first rule change requires anyone on a horse to wear a 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.

Further specifics regarding the changes to the rule for Protective Headgear for Eventing (EV 114.1) will be posted here in the future:


The United States Eventing Association (USEA) helped shepherd the rule change through the USEF committees during USEF’s Annual 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.”
Effective March 1, 2011: 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).

Additional details regarding the changes to the rules for Protective Headgear for Dressage (DR120.5) will be posted here in the future:


The USEF Board of Directors approved both the eventing and dressage helmet rule changes on January 23 at the conclusion of USEF’s Annual Meeting.

Sara Ike, USEF managing director of eventing, said that while eventing riders long have been moving toward tougher rules, it wasn’t until early 2010, after Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye was seriously injured in a riding accident that the dressage world began to seriously consider stricter helmet use. “Dressage riders called the Courtney King accident their ‘9-11,’ ” Ike said.

King Dye, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and currently is undergoing rehabilitation.

Earlier this month, a Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium held in Wellington, FL, was deemed a huge success by participants at the event.  Representatives from USEF, USEA, 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 – and left pledging to work together across the disciplines to do just that.


The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation® is to provide leadership

for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the pursuit

of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a

foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare

of its human and equine athletes.

Hundreds Flock to College Preparatory Invitational Show at WEF

January 23, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

1/18/2011, Wellington Florida

The Inaugural CPI Horse Show was held at the PBIEC / WEF .

The show exceeded everyone’s expectations and was a huge success!

Congratulations to Jeanne and Heidi and all the volunteers

on orchestrating a perfect event for coaches,

riders and their families!

Welcome  to our Special Events Pavilion!

Opening night coaches presentations 300 strong attendance!

Saturday morning live draw at 7:00am!

Ringside College Coaches area, a very busy place all day long!

Our Judges, John French, Georgina Bloomberg and Nona Garson!

Let the competitions begin!

Awards event with 4 Scholarships and 1 award handed out!

The coaches cocktail Saturday night, everyone had a great time!

Sunday lecture series , great speakers, and topics for college bound Equestrians!

See you next year!

Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium a Success!

January 21, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'


Participants At Symposium Pledge To Support Helmet Safety Moves


Lexington, KY (January 20th, 2010)-The Riders4Helmets Helmet Safety Symposium held Jan. 8th in Wellington, FL was deemed a huge success by participants at the event. Representatives from USEF, USDF, USEA, USHJA, Racing, Polo, Helmet Manufacturers, Helmet Testing Authorities, Leading Equestrians and Medical Experts came together at the symposium with the goal of improving rider safety and went away pledging to work together across the disciplines to do just that.

Kemi O’Donnell, mother of deceased Christen O’Donnell kicked off the presentations by emotionally discussing her daughter’s death at the age of 12 from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). USEF President David O Connor spoke next and vowed that USEF will commit to support making helmets mandatory at competitions.  “If you have the technology available to reduce head injuries you have to use it and the time is now” said O’Connor.

Dr. Allen Sills, a Vanderbilt neurosurgeon with expertise in sports traumatic brain injury and concussion, gave several presentations at the symposium. Other speakers included: Debbie Stanitski, President of the Equestrian Medical Safety Association; Dave Halstead with Southern Impact Research on current testing standards; Sara Ike USEF on the history of helmet rules; Dean Moran with Safety Equipment Institute; Tom Cafaro with G-Form LLC; Beezie Madden (jumping), Anne Kursinski (jumping), PJ Cooksey (racing), Lauren Sammis (dressage) and Peter Rizzo (polo) in a panel discussion; and presentations from the helmet manufacturers.

John Long CEO at USEF summed up during the closing presentation of the symposium. His thoughts included that there is a need for more data, science and education and to make wearing helmets cool. “We need to find a way to implement the rules so that it’s no longer optional, and it’s easy to regulate. It is incumbent on my organization to get my house right to be a model for the more casual rider” said Long.

To view presentations and interviews from the symposium visit www.youtube.com/user/riders4helmets.

Media Contact:

Lyndsey White                                                                                                      Riders4Helmets