University of Vermont AAHS


By Jan Dawson
President, AAHS

[reproduced from Caution:Horses, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 2000]

The American Horse Shows Association passed the first mandatory helmet rule at its national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 15, 2000. The rule will make Approved ASTM/SEI helmets mandatory for all riders under the age of 18 in all sanctioned events. The rule will go into effect in two years--giving the manufacturers time to come up with some more attractive models.

Although there are those who complain that the AHSA should have made the rule immediately effective, many are simply congratulating the Association for taking a stand and passing the first major mandatory helmet rule in the horse show world.

Among the many benefits of the rule is the relief of pressure on trainers and instructors to ignore their better judgment and allow kids to wear no helmet or an unapproved helmet. Now the horse professionals in AHSA sanctioned events can simply say, "I’m sorry, it is required by the Association." Naturally if kids have to show in the helmets, we hope that wise trainers will understand that they better get used to wearing them at home.

It is hoped that this generation of helmeted kids will take their good habit into adulthood, just as they do with their bicycle and snowboard helmets.

Whether or not helmets become "cool" will depend heavily on who wears and supports them. It remains to be seen who will step up to the plate and be a responsible role model and who will not.

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