Six riders wore helmets in the CCI4* dressage yesterday at Luhmühlen, and an addional six donned their crash hats today: Kate Wood of New Zealand; Wills Goodhew of Great Britain; our own Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton; and Ingrid Klimke and Bettina Hoy, both of Germany. Bettina spent some time in the press tent at the end of the day — still wearing her helmet — and I asked her to take a photo with Chinch, which struck up a conversation on why she chooses to wear a helmet in dressage.
The decision came exactly a year ago when Lanfranco TSF completely lost it in his dressage test at this same event, Bettina said. The horse has a history of rearing in dressage, and after clinging to him during his meltdowns for years, Bettina decided enough was enough. She’s worn a helmet during her dressage tests on all her horses ever since, and she said she was happy to ditch her top hat, as she actually finds her helmet much more comfortable.
While Bettina agrees the tradition of wearing a top hat is still very much alive in Europe, she did say that it’s more common to see helmets in Germany at the one-, two- and three-star levels, and the younger riders are much more likely to wear helmets. She was thrilled to be able to speak with Silva Martin today for the first time since her accident, and said Silva’s accident is an example of why it’s so important to wear a helmet: falls can happen anytime, anywhere.
Many thanks to Bettina for taking time to chat. She had a lovely test with Designer 10 today to sit in fifth place overnight on a score of 43.3. That’s three riders in the top 10 who wore helmets: Bettina, Ingrid and Phillip. In total, 12 out of 52 riders wore helmets at Luhmühlen, giving us a helmet-use rate of 23 percent. It’s a far cry from the 57 percent we saw at Rolex this year, but it’s still progress. Thank you to Kate, Wills, Boyd, Phillip, Ingrid and Bettina for setting the #mindyourmelon example today.