It has long been the tradition for dressage riders to compete in top hats no doubt dating back to the sports inception however New Zealand has now made it compulsory for all riders to compete in a helmet that meets their safety standards.
“This is a major step forward for safety of riders competing in New Zealand and is accompanied by the ESNZ recommendation that helmets should be worn at all time when handling horses” said ESNZ CEO Vicki Glynn. “Horses can be unpredictable and we know that riding is a risk sport so we must do everything we can to make our equestrians safe” she says. “Sadly we can no longer allow the use of the top hat in competition but the design and elegance of the contemporary safety helmet makes them a worthy replacement and safety must come first.”
I think this is an excellent example of embracing modern science, knowledge and technology over more “traditional” or outdated equestrian practices.