Ask A Judge: Kids and Helmets Question (follow up to poll)

I posed the following question to our Judges Panel as a way to understand the reluctance of parents (or show committees) to require kids to wear helmets in shows.  Here are the responses of Judges 2 and 3:

Question:

I know that technically, as a judge, you are not to mark down a kid for wearing a helmet.  However, when a kid does enter the ring wearing a helmet (and is probably the only one) does it make you look at that horse and rider “picture” any differently (ie  If the kid has to wear a helmet maybe he or she is not a good enough rider for the rated circuit)?
 

Judge 2 – Answer

When a child enters the ring with a helmet on, it has no bearing in my decision-making process.  The picture may be a little different, but not at all to the detriment of the child.  I know several children who have medical conditions that require them to wear protective headgear, and I applaud these kids!   I have never formed an opinion about a rider because of what type of headgear they  have on their head! 

Judge 3 – Answer

I can never fault anyone for safety. It does not make me look at the overall picture or the individual any differently than if they were not wearing the helmet. Now if the rider happens to be on a horse that gives the appearance of the rider needing the helmet, then that is a different case. Ex. misbehaving- not walking, rearing, running away, all of which I’ve seen in the ring. With any exhibitor safety is a very real concern. When it’s our junior exhibitors, especially the younger kids; safety should be paramount, and they should be  mounted appropriately for the division they are showing in.

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