Helmet rule

Since the non-traditional breech thread is getting a little long, lets start a new one! 

Leslie wrote “At the risk of going completely off-topic, this is the next sentence in the rule book:

“Conservative colored protective headgear with harness in accordance with GR801.3 is mandatory.”

GR 801.3 is the one that says all jr. exhibitors in hunter, jumper, or hunt seat eq. must wear ASTM/SEI helmets when mounted. That’s certainly not happening at the Morgan shows. Are the stewards just not doing their jobs, or am I missing something?”

9 Responses to Helmet rule

  1. jns767 says:

    This is a good topic imo. I am probably one of the only Amateurs wearing an ASTM/SEI helmet in the ring which at times makes me feel kind of silly. Then I remember that one time where I fell off and landed on my head in the ring, and my helmet may have saved my life.

    Anyway, I did not wear an ASTM/SEI helmet as a Jr. Exhib. EVER. Not when taking lessons, down the trails and certainly not in the show ring. The helmet I had was just a shell with removable straps. I didn’t start wearing a certified helmet until I began taking hunter jumper lessons in college.

    I guess with this post I’m bringing another question into fruition….do any other amateurs/professional riders wear a certified helmet in the hunter classes, or am I the only one?

  2. smskelly says:

    The referenced rule (GR801.3) says, in part: “Except as may otherwise be mandated by local law, all juniors riding in Hunter, Jumper
    and Hunter Seat Equitation sections…”

    The key is “sections”, which, in USEF land, means those specific sections of the USEF rule book, not hunter classes in all the breeds.

    In the Morgan rules, helmets for hunter pleasure classes are addressed in MO 137.1:”In Morgan Hunter Pleasure classes it is not mandatory that a Jr. Exhibitor wear headgear harness. Riders may not be barred from showing for not wearing harness.”

    On the other hand, in the Morgan Working Hunter rules, helmets are required for jrs – MO 147.1 (in part): “…Dark hunting caps, hunting bowlers with or without hat guards or protective headgear for adults but Jr. Exhibitors must wear protective
    headgear per GR801.”

  3. colwilrin says:

    I am an amateur and I don’t wear a certified helmet for several reasons, none of which are compelling. Foremost, I grew up wearing the little velvet hunt caps, and it was cool to have your elastic band on the brim. That is what I am used to. I would wear the elastic when I jumped, but it was annoying and I can’t imagine I’d like a harness any better. Not that a head or spinal injury would be any less annoying!

    Secondly, I spent summers as a kid doing basically eventing (we would sink log jumps into local trails and gallop them) and never wore a helmet. Next I rode crazy saddlebreds in felt derbies. I guess that the hunter pleasure seems too “safe” to wear a helmet in comparison. Again, not a good reason.

    As a Mom of a kid that just started, I like to see the Jr. Exhibs wearing them. My kid wears one at all her lessons. Not only my rule, but her instructors.

  4. Jennifer says:

    At home and schooling at the shows I wear a certified helmet. I showed in one with my old horse, but frankly it is difficult to get the harness around the bun. My new horse is very trustworthy so I show in a hunt cap.

  5. leslie says:

    Thanks for the clarification, smskelly. Anyone showing over fences at any USEF show has to wear a helmet now, right?

    I’m an adult amateur, and I wear a certified helmet in the show ring. I also have a fantastically ugly schooling helmet that I wear at home. My horse is ol’ reliable, and I’m not actually worried about falling off, but stuff happens, and for almost no effort I can reduce my risk of becoming a vegetable. I’ll take it.

    At my age, I think I’m kind of in between the generations of people who never wore helmets (didn’t even have ASTM/SEI equestrian helmets) and the younger generations that grew up in a litigious world where lesson barns started requiring real helmets. I’ve pretty much always worn a helmet, but the ones I wore in the 80s during my childhood riding lessons were probably mostly useless.

    I live in Kentucky where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a hunter/jumper show in the summer, so I think I’ve sort of developed the aesthetic of that circuit (even though I don’t compete on it, I go to a lot of the shows to spectate and take photos.) I don’t like the look of hunt caps. Modern helmets look like athletic equipment, but hunt caps look like old relics to me. I was actually surprised to see how many Morgan exhibitors wear hunt caps when I went to KYOVA this year. I kind of thought they were only still popular on the AQHA circuit these days.

    Jennifer, H/J riders usually put their hair in a net and put it up underneath their helmet, so if you did want to wear a certified helmet, you could get around the bun issue that way.

  6. macchiato says:

    I have ridden for over 35 years and have fallen off many times. When I started teaching I required certified helmets for everyone who rides at my place. I ride in a helmet not only for safety but since I require my riders to wear one I try to do as I say. Anyway 2 years ago after many thousands of rides a steady as a rock horse misstepped and Iflew off into a pipe fence head first. My helmet split in half and I saw stars. I would at least have had stitches and probably a severe head injury. I am thankful I had a helmet on that day. We call them accidents for a reason. We can’t prevent every bad outcome but like wearing a seat belt it may save your life. If you just weat it for practice you are reducing your risk expontentially, Even if you wear hat,helmet(not rated), derby or cowboy hat when you are showing. We practice alot more than we show.

    As far as the show ring. Most stewards are checking for rated helmets in the equitation classes and for sure they do at Nationals. We have loaned helmets several times at Nationals so the kids could compete. If everyone wore the helmets it would be just part of the outfit. We really don’t want to be considered an extreme sport.

  7. SamIAm says:

    Okay, I’ll put in my two cents worth….. Overall, I do not think the “helmets” should be required in hunt pleasure clases, english pleasure or even western. We have enough rules and regulations in this world today and I really do not believe (IMO) that we need any more. With that being said, I think anyone jumping would be unwise not wearing one. Any horse can stop at a jump and any rider will go right over the top making head injuries much more common. I’ve always had my daughter wear a regulation helmet in lessons and whenever riding at the barn. To the barn’s credit they also require it of anyone 18 or under. Adults should make their own choice and whatever it may be it should be accepted and not looked down upon at the shows. To each their own. Parents, you should do what you feel is right by your children.

  8. Pedigree says:

    I wear my ugly plastic helmet every ride at home. When I show saddle seat I wear a derby, but I have a ASTM velvet helmet for hunter.

    I have a rock steady, reliable horse too, but I know of people that have been on horses that tripped and fell, quiet lesson horses at that — no one’s fault and the outcome was bruising and, in one case, a broken arm, thank goodness no broken heads!

    I encourage everyone to wear a helmet at home — if you’re all doing it you all look like fashion plates together. ;)

    When I see people riding warm-up, the night before, etc, at shows without them I don’t think “Look how pretty they look.” I think “Look how foolish they are.” Especially those introducing a young horse to shows or riding a particularly hot or spooky beast.

    I, for one, don’t want to get crayons and colouring books for Christmas for the rest of my life. I want to ride until I am very old and I want to set a good example for the kids I ride with. Therefore, with the exception of showing my quiet mare in saddle seat classes (that policy would change with another horse, depending), I will always wear an approved helmet!

  9. TriumphRider says:

    I used to ride around without a helmet, they all told me I needed one!!

    I still hate riding with one, but I have to wear one for lessons!

    I just got a pleasure helmet! YEA!

    I dont get why they make us wear a strap for Jr. Exb Eck, but we dont have to wear one for pleasure?!!

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