Olympic dressage team and individual gold medalist, Charlotte Dujardin, has stated that she wears a helmet while riding due to previously fracturing her skull in a fall from a horse. Dujardin became a global role model for safety after she donned a helmet to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. Dujardin’s team mates, Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer, elected to wear the “traditional” top hat rather than a helmet.
Dujardin stated that she would continue to wear a helmet because she feels “unsafe” without it after she was injured in a fall. “It’s going to be a rule, I think, for wearing a crash hat (helmet) and I actually fractured my skull through not wearing a hat,” she told the BBC in an interview. “I was so lucky to escape from that and now, it’s something I always do.”
“I feel unsafe without my helmet on” said Dujardin. “People say you don’t always need it but for me, especially in this kind of atmosphere, you never know what can happen.”
Canadian dressage rider Jacqueline Brooks was the first rider to wear a helmet at an Olympic Games and Dujardin became the first to win a gold medal while wearing one.
Dujardin’s team mate Laura Bechtolsheimer admitted she only chose her top hat out of vanity and that she should probably set an example for safe riding by donning a helmet instead. “I just feel it looks wrong,” said Bechtolsheimer. “It’s vanity really. I wear a crash hat (helmet) when I’m at home training.”
For great coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, please visit The Chronicle Of The Horse. Ride Safe. ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Photo: Kat Netzler, Chronicle of the Horse