British Dressage Makes Helmet Statement in Rio


The British Dressage Team is currently in the process of defending its Olympic gold medal, and yet, still made time to make quite the fashion statement. Each of the four riders–Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, Fiona Bigwood and Spencer Wilton–will compete in hard hats.

Wilton explained the decision immediately after his test this morning on Super Nova II, which notched 72.68 and put him in a tie for the lead after the morning session.

“We had a bit of a team chat before we came out here and we just felt, it’s on such a big stage and it’s such an important thing that we all wanted to wear our hats—our hard hats with our chin straps—and try and set an example hopefully, to everybody.”

Current FEI rules grant dressage riders the option to compete in helmets, top hats or bowlers, and many riders continue to opt for the fashion-over-safety ensemble. But the tide appears to be shifting among the international elite, which will almost certainly trickle down to all divisions.

“Charlotte always rides in [a helmet],” Wilton continued. “I have, for the last year, been riding in one. I had a chat with Carl, and Fiona obviously rides in one because of an accident she had a few years ago, so we felt it was the right thing to do.”