Helmet On The Run – Why You Should Wear A Correctly Fitting Helmet!

Riders4Helmets expresses our thanks to www.eventingphoto.com for their permission to use the following photo series. Photos are copyright Eventing Photo.

Editor’s note – please use this photos series as an example of why you should always wear a correctly fitting helmet. If your helmet does not fit you properly it will not provide any protection in the event of a fall. Please see this excellent video on the “The Safety Implications Of An Incorrectly Fitting Helmet.”

Everybody who knows us knows we love eventing and respect both horses and riders. Even so, every now and then some things happen around the course that are out of the ordinary and here’s one of those events. Eventing Photo photographer Hanna Broms went to the water fence to capture fellow country woman Sara Algotsson-Ostholt in the CIC3* in Arville but first captured French rider Aurélie Gomez fall and then a somewhat surreal mishap involving Philippe Fournier which continued on the next fence where Eventing Photo photographer Arie captured the grand finale.” – Eventing Photo

Philippe Fournier’s helmet looks to be a little low over his eyes as his horse jumps into the water….

Hard to imagine that Philippe can see much as the helmet comes down over his eyes……

Unbelievably the helmet starts to pop off the back of his head…..

And it is off!……Helmet on the run!!!!!!!!

The French man doesn’t seem too concerned as he concentrates on his line for the next fence…..

If you look between the horses legs you can see the helmet floating in the water……

Wait Phillipe…..we think you are missing something!!!!!

No apple bobbing contest for the French man as he is obviously going to go over the next fence….sans helmet!

Really don’t think sans helmet is a good idea……..

We are not thinking this is going to catch on as a trend Phillipe……..


At this point the stewards decide that the helmet must be retrieved. The next rider can’t quite seem to believe that he carried on without it!

“I wish I had brought my wellies!”

“They never put this in the fence judge responsibilities”

“Fence judge to base…..helmet successfully retrieved”

In the meantime….out on course……

“They don’t seem to have noticed so I shall just carry on….”

“Uh oh….spoke too soon……”

The stewards decided that Philippe’s helmet must go back on before he continued…………

If I hurry getting this back on…..I won’t add that many time penalties…..

“Right…..off again!”

“This doesn’t look good……………..”

Already feeling his pain…….

Unbelievable!!! The helmet is coming off again!!!!

Helmetless again!!!!

Helmet on the run! (look between his arms!)


Olympic gymnastics move????


Who knew helmets could bounce so much????

Check out the lining of the helmet…..

We believe this clearly demonstrates the need to ALWAYS wear a properly fitting and secured, certified helmet!


  1. Wow. This is an unbelievably great moment by moment capture of why it’s just so very important to not only wear a helmet but wear one that’s correctly fitted. Many thanks for sharing.

  2. Excellent series of shots – perhaps he should have been disqualified when he carried on – what an arrogant attitude! a bit of natural justice I think! he may think twice about doing that now – if he can think at all after that fall!

  3. Brilliant series of shots, all the reasons to buy yourself a good hat that fits correctly !! Luck swings both ways & RUNS OUT!!

  4. Looking closer he doesn’t even have his inflatable vest attached to the saddle so it could deploy in a fall. That obviously came in handy later. What a moron…

  5. I could swear that in my fence judge directions I have to notify the course judge of a lost or improperly fastened headgear and said rider will be DQed and asked to leave the course. We never go over that in the opening but I think the handouts state that. I’ll have to make sure I check that section the next time I fence judge. Fair Hill, MD course.

  6. Well done to the photographer for capturing this series of photos (poor horse through all this!). We will certainly be distributing this link to help spread the word as part of our initiative to to our students!

  7. Amazing the lack of self preservation some people have.
    Thought helmets with chin cups were fazed out ages ago? How old does this make his helmet?
    Good point made about the air jacket not even being clipped on, it looked like it was in earlier photos but maybe it was just dangling down. Why buy/wear such expensive kit to protect you in the event of a fall but then not use it properly? Could have been so much worse, hopefully he replaced it after this (with one that fits)!

  8. wow. Somehow I guessed it might come off again, and this time he would go with it….

  9. You know I really thought it was common sense to wear a proper fitted helmet while riding whether just hacking or competing; but aperently not from these pictures. For his age and knowledge of horses I would like to think he knows how to wear a proper helmet.

  10. RiderWriter says:

    Ye Gads!!! Those photos are truly alarming, and not just because of the lack of helmet safety. I want to know how that dear horse avoided a rotational fall after catching his front legs so badly in front of those logs – he is a SAINT! And I cringed to see his fetlocks/front legs upon landing…. it just seems like they are not supposed to bend THAT far. Ugh. Hope he’s okay.

    As far as the helmet goes, that is ridiculous. The guy is old, he must think old-school as well (“Pfffft, who really needs one”), and he must not have bought a new helmet in 20 years. Quelle Idiot, as they say in his language. And yes, he should have been stopped a lot sooner on course and probably DQ’d!

  11. Meredith Rousseau says:

    Painful! I just held my breath while the photos loaded. I give that horse a lot of credit for not flipping over after taking off so long at that fence.

  12. The horse’s athleticism saved his rider’s life. His incompetent riding nearly killed him and his horse twice on the same course. He should go back to riding schoolies on a lunge line! As my Mum says, “those who refuse to wear helmets have little to protect.”

  13. Sarahjoy Crain says:

    What amazes me most about this incident is how Amazingly athletic his horse is. I was certain that I was going to be watching a series of shots showing the horse flip. I am still astounded that the horse was Actually able to bring his front end back up underneath him before hitting the ground. Kudos to the horse!

  14. Sarahjoy Crain says:

    But the rider totally should have been disqualified when he lost his helmet the first time.

  15. http://blogs.equisearch.com/johnstrassburger/2011/02/03/a-helmet-rule-that-will-always-make-sense/
    It’s been 34 years since this happened to my (step) aunt Caroline Treviranus, with life-changing results for her and– thankfully– rule changing for the sport of 3 Day Eventing. I am astounded to see anyone riding at this level today with such disregard for safety.

  16. Lilli Statler says:

    Helmets are definately a must, whether you are riding horses, motorcycles or bicycles. I recently had an accident, where I fell off my horse, in the road. My horse was being frightened by a motorcycle and because I didn’t want to hurt him I had a snaffle bit in his mouth. Therefore, I couldn’t stop him. The jerk on the motorcycle stayed behind me I lasted for a mile, but then “lost” it in the road. I was in a coma for three months and in a wheelchair for sometime afterwards. But because of he helmet, I didn’t die or for that matter end up worse off than what I was. Always, always,always wear a helmet.

  17. For someone at this level of riding to even think of carrying on without a helmet should get a dangerous riding yellow card!! He’s so lucky he was safe!!!

  18. So, what happened to him? Was he injured? Badly? Tried to Google to find out, but found nothing, which makes me assume he’s still upright and among us.

  19. George Cheney says:

    I am intrigued that somebody riding at that upper level could have such a gap in their equestrian training or that he would escape a TD’s eye in the start gate…this is not excusable at any eventing level, but at the level he is competing at, maybe the organizers are hoping he won’t make it so he will be given lillies instead of a red or yellow card?

  20. Janet Ferguson says:

    What an ass.

    He needs to go home and help his wife clean the bathrooms.

    That horse is gorgeous and talented. He could have really done it some damage.
    Give me a break.

  21. I’m the photographer behind the water sequence whilst my collegue was at the next fence capturing what was close to a horrible rotational fall.

    Both horse and rider walked out of this ordeal a ok!j

  22. What a fool he showed himself to be. I hope that loosing your helmet brings immediate disqualification. It certainly should. Pity the horse in the hands of a dope like this with no regard for safety.

  23. I’m appalled at how many of my trainers refuse to wear helmets while schooling horses; because they are arrogant enough in their abilites to think nothing will ever happen to them. Two of them have had sever concussions within the last year. Whether you ride horses, bikes, skateboards or ski, or board, you should always, always wear a helmet and clearly a WELL FITTING ONE! I’ve had several concussions in my lifetime of riding. As for this ASS of a rider; his horse does deserves so much better than him. That horse is a rockstar for holding on and not rotating over. He owes his life to that horse.

  24. I know I’m late to the conversation, but what was the IDIOT fence judge doing in front of another competitor – that alone could have caused a fall. Common sense seems to have abandoned not only Phillippe Fournier but the jump judge as well….
    As a survivor of six serious concussions, many many years ago, I am so devoted to my helmets, I even wear one now lunging my horses, and with even the slightest question of damage (falling on the car onto the pavement) I will replace it. I also wear my jumping vests faithfully.

  25. Sorry – falling OFF the car…

  26. humble me says:

    Dear dmc, the rider standing with her horse, appearing behind the fence judge who is collecting the helmet, is in all likelihood stopped on course by request while the helmet is being collected. The photograph might make it appear to some that the rider is close to the judge. However, I am certain the rider is quite far from the judge, and no danger was posed. Perhaps the photographer will log in again some day and provide confirmation. 🙂

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