US Equestrian (USEF) is pleased to announce that an anonymous donor generously stepped up with a $25,000 commitment to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, ensuring this mission-critical safety initiative hit the $450,000 goal set to complete the STAR Helmet rating project for equestrian sport.
“Tom O’ Mara, US Equestrian President-Elect, called to let me know the good news! He actually was contacted by a donor following our announcement of reaching the $425,000 milestone in early December thanks to the collaborative efforts of USEF, USEA, USHJA, and Jacqueline Mars,” said Dr. Barry Miller, Director of Outreach and Business Development for the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. “The donor was impressed with the goals of the initiative and wanted to ensure all equestrians could benefit from a more sophisticated rating system for equestrian helmets. We are off and running and are guaranteed the funds to complete the project on the 18-24 month timeline.”
Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. So far, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab has developed STAR helmet ratings for sports including football, youth football, soccer, flag football, cycling, and hockey (www.vt.edu/helmet). An important study published by the Journal of Neurosurgery in 2016 brought to light how the number of equestrian-related traumatic brain injury compares to other sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), reinforcing the importance of equestrian helmet safety.
Work has already begun on the rating system, but the fund will remain open for donations. Any additional money raised will go towards accelerating the development timeline. A tax-deductible donation can be made directly to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, with 100 percent of all funds going directly to this research. This work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100 percent independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.
As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought soaking rains to the region today, the Plantation Field International continued its four days of competition with CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S show jumping and cross-country for CCI1*-S, CCII2*-S, and CCI3*-S divisions.
The USEA Area IX Championships took place during two different horse trials this summer, with the Modified Championships as part of the The Event at Archer (Cheyenne, Wymoming) in August and the Preliminary, Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice Championships taking place during The Event at Skyline (Mount Pleasant, Utah) in September. In addition, Area IX offered additional championship tests at the Starter and Tadpole levels at Skyline.
The CCI4*-S division at the 2023 Plantation Field International Horse Trials kicked off today with 39 horses headed down centerline. Local rider Boyd Martin of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, topped the leaderboard riding Luke 140, owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, and is also tied for third (28.8) with the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B. Martin is also placed 23rd with Contessa, owned by the Turner family.
The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is humbled to announce the return of long-time partner The Dutta Corporation as the “Title Sponsor of the 2023 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships,” which include the East Coast Championships at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland, on Oct. 19-20 and the West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, on Oct. 27-28.