The petition was sent to the FEI for the governing body’s general assembly to be held online next month. Signatories on the petition are a who’s who of dressage top sport in about 20 nations and include several who routinely wear protective head gear in competitions.

The petition reads: “The top international dressage riders would like to make a formal demand to the FEI to keep the option to use the top hat in international competitions for Seniors. There has never been a serious accident at an international dressage competition, and the riders believe there is no reason to change that for senior competitors at CDI4*/5*, Games and championships on Grand Prix level. The top hat is an essential part of the identity of dressage.

The dresscode makes us unique and we feel very strongly that the top hat remain as optional to use, but only at the highest level of competition. For awards ceremonies, the use of protective headgear can remain mandatory. It should be noted that there are other disciplines that are not required to wear helmets, and we feel that this inequality is not warranted.

We urgently request that the FEI add this matter to the agenda for the next General Assembly, and change the rule accordingly. We believe it is the right of each individual rider to choose between the use of a top hat or protective headgear. This right cannot be revoked.”

The ban was proposed in 2019 by the FEI Medical Committee chaired by Mark Hart of the United States as a blanket requirement for horse sports except vaulting initially to come into effect this year. Protective head gear is already a requirement for youth competitions. The move surprised many national federations and Germany and the Netherlands were successful delaying implementation for dressage for a year.


Foto by Hippo Foto

The list of riders signing the petition: