Nov 19, 2019

FEI to Require Helmets Beginning in 2021

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Allison Springer was the first rider to wear at helmet in dressage at the Kentucky Three-Day Event. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The FEI General Assembly is taking place this week in Moscow, Russia with 120 different nations in attendance. This morning the delegates approved the proposed changes to the FEI General Regulations, following a standalone vote on a rule requiring the use of protective headgear for all disciplines, with delegates voting strongly in favor of implementation on January 1, 2021. The changes to the General Regulations can be viewed here.

The helmet rule used to allow individual disciplines to choose their own head protection rules, but the new rule requires helmets for all FEI disciplines at all times while mounted. Failure to wear a helmet will result in a yellow card.

The original rule was proposed effective of January 1, 2020, but the Netherlands requested a one-year delay to prepare and allow helmet manufacturers to be ready to meet the demand.

While ASTM/SEI approved helmets have been required for all phases and while mounted at all times at USEF/USEA recognized events since 2011, the FEI rules superseded the USEF Rules for Eventing allowing riders to wear top hats in dressage. The wearing of top hats has been diminishing in use over the years but was still seen at major events especially among European riders.

Outgoing Chair of the FEI Medical Committee Dr. Peter Whitehead reiterated the need for riders to use only protective headgear in compliance with international testing standards.

The chair of the FEI Eventing Committee, David O’Connor, gave his report mid-morning and updated delegates on activities within the discipline in 2019, including a very successful Pan American Games in Lima, which will leave a valuable legacy for the sport in Peru and neighboring countries. He also highlighted the success of the Olympic format tests that had been held during the year in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.

O’Connor spoke about the FEI Eventing Risk Management plan and the work that had been done that has resulted in a reduction in the number of horse falls. He also advised delegates of the Eventing summit that will be held at Aintree next year (January 24-26).

The General Assembly unanimously approved all modifications to the Eventing Rules. The 2020 FEI Eventing Rules can be viewed here.

Updates from the FEI General Assembly can be read here and the livestream can be watched here.

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