Top Riders Petition for Right to Wear Top Hats in Competition

Surprised there is no thread on this yet;

Very disappointing to see the names signed, in particular one Canadian with a large following.

Personally, I think top hats look ridiculous, aside from the obvious ridiculous reasons people have not to wear them. I know “tradition” is the argument. If the sport wants to grow and be relevant it is time to get with the times.



I’m maybe blind - where are you seeing the list of names signed?

Personally think its ridiculous, how many riders have had head injuries just flatting or even hacking? Time to stop living in the past, just because it looks cool (imo it doesn’t) and because its sticking with the classical style. Well times are changing and always evolving.

I lose respect for anyone who rides without a helmet.


Heres the list:

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Same here. My mom and I were laughing at how ridiculous the eventers are Pau who wore top hats looked in the ring. You want to grow dressage and eventing? Want to make it mainstream? Want to be seen at athletes? Ditch the entitled butler look. It does not look good! It never has.


So disappointing. So many young riders will see this and want to copy their idols. I just can’t believe in 2020 we are still having the helmet debate.


Thanks, @Jealoushe! Also very disappointed to see BFB on that list.

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Seems to be that one of the major beefs these people have is that they don’t want to be told what they have to wear, they want a right to choose. Weak argument, considering that the FEI controls every other aspect of their dress and tack. This is only for their benefit - makes no sense. The libertarian in me says that they should be able to make whatever stupid choice they want and reap the consequences (Darwin awards exist for a reason), but this seems like a dumb hill to die on.

A lot of people b****ed and moaned when the USDF made ASTM/SEI certified helmets mandatory at competitions. They also got over it. I have brain damage from falls I had as a kid - and that was with a helmet. It’s better than being dead.


Courtney was a “top rider”. The horse she was on simply stumbled and fell.


If reiners don’t have to wear them, I don’t see why dressage riders shouldn’t be able to decide for themselves 🤷”â™€ï¸


I just don’t understand why riders wouldn’t want to wear a helmet - they have become so comfortable and even stylish with all of the custom options.


This. I admitted I was very surprised the other year. I had taken about fifteen years off from riding horses, kept working with them in that interval, but not riding. So my knowledge of helmets was sadly out of date. I’d always worn them, and smashed two as a teenager, but I remembered them as bulky and heavy and dreaded what they would do to my increasing neck issues. Imagine my surprise when I tried one on and it was so comfortable and light and even good looking! And it wasn’t crazy expensive either, a Troxel from TS!
So, trying to be charitable…I wonder if some riders are refusing to wear them because they haven’t tried them on in the last two decades…no excuse, they should


The reiners are also covered under this rule, which will go into effect January 1, 2021, for everyone except for the vaulters. Competing without one will result in a yellow card.


Why anyone wants to trot down the centerline looking like a maitre d or an old man on the way to the opera is beyond me. And those foot-tall ones in eventing – LOL!


I guaran-damn-tee you that many of these riders have ridden in modern helmets.
Isabell Werth is sponsored by Uvex. She even made a statement about the importance of wearing a helmet.…akes-statement.
Patrik Kittel is sponsored by Samshield.
Carl Hester is/was? sponsored by Kask.

Color me unimpressed with the attitude of these people.


They are SO awful. I can’t understand for the life of me why they insist on wearing them still.


Of all the things today to petition… :confused:


I am so disappointed by some of the names on the list. I suspect many of their helmet sponsors will be dropping them like hot cakes.

It seems like a stupid hill for them to pick to die on. The FEI has a legal and ethical obligation to enforce safety standards. There is zero benefit to wearing a top hat but tangible benefit to wearing a helmet.

And the argument that it’s fine because there has be never been an accident in the CDI competition ring at GP is just stupid. Should we wait for a catastrophic event to occur and then require helmets?

Nibidy is saying they can’t fancy prance at home in their top hats if that floats their boat. But if you want to ride in FEI competition you follow FEI rules. Simple. It’s got nothing to do with personal freedoms or freedom of choice.

There are several parents of young kids in this list. I wonder if they think car seats and seat belts should be optional too?


Not just Brittany, but also Naima and Jill. So disappointing, especially after one Canadian (Jacquie Brooks) took what was perceived as a big risk in 2013 by becoming the first dressage rider to wear a helmet in Olympic competition. That was leadership I thought all Canadians should be proud of.

  1. Reiners will have to wear them in FEI competition

  2. I don’t buy the argument that just because discipline A is less safe than discipline B should be less safe too. Lead by example.