Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wear a helmet kids!

So something I forgot to mention in my post about Bromont ... KUDOS to Courtney for wearing her helmet in dressage!

Helmets for dressage seem to be the topic du jour. Personally I wear a helmet every time every ride. I like my brain too much. For me, not wearing a helmet was never an option. I grew up riding at Waredaca in their lesson program where helmets are mandatory. By the time I got to the level where some would consider a helmet optional, I was teaching lessons, at which point I was expected to wear a helmet as a good example for my students. Waredaca is home to four-star eventer Gretchen Butts, and I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever seen her without a helmet.

For a brief period I wore a hunt cap for dressage at competitions, mostly because I thought it was a sign of maturity. I was 18, riding a good horse, and kicking butt (at least I thought I was). I even fell off a clients horse in dressage warm up one time when the jackass exploded into a bucking fit culminating in the classic drop his shoulder and spin move. I didn't land on my head though, so I figured I was still good. Then I was hacking out my old reliable I'll-do-anything-with mare (with a helmet on), we were just meandering around at the walk and BOOM! next thing I know I'm being lawn-darted across the turf field. My only guess was that a horse fly landed on her or a bee stung her. I didn't land on my head this time either, but was limping for days after. So from there on out, I figured if I could fall off my lovely mare at the walk, I should probably wear a helmet.

But back to Courtney. I've known Courtney for a few years now, mostly only seeing her at shows where she sported a hunt cap for dressage. Then I saw her at Waredaca a few weeks ago, and she had her Charles Owen GR8 on for dressage. I asked her about it, and she said, "Well I figured that I always wear a helmet at home, so I should probably wear it at shows." Pretty simple logic there!

Allison Springer has made a helmet pledge and even wore a helmet in dressage at Rolex. I remember seeing her trot in and thinking, "You go girl!" Then comes Bromont in Canada, when two riders (Courtney and Sarah Cousins) wore helmets in dressage. As John on EventingNation pointed out, that's one more than Rolex.

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