Steffen Peters Retires Top Hat; Will Wear Helmet in FEI Competitions

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde
Credit : Scoopdyga

Monday 03 April - 16h08 | Edited press release

Steffen Peters Retires Top Hat; Will Wear Helmet in FEI Competitions

Goodbye top hat, hello helmet.

 - Steffen Peters Retires Top Hat; Will Wear Helmet in FEI Competitions

Credit : Scoopdyga

Two-time U.S. Olympic team medalist Steffen Peters surprised some onlookers Thursday when he entered the FEI World Cup Dressage Final arena wearing a helmet. A traditionalist at heart, Peters had made it his 2017 New Year’s resolution to drop the top hat and sport a helmet in Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) competitions.

“I hung on because of a superstition,” Peters told US Equestrian. “Over the years, I became less superstitious. At first it was my tailcoat that I had for 26 years. The top hat was the final superstitious item that I hung on to. I had a couple good tests with the helmet and decided to switch.” Peters adds that he was also encouraged to wear a helmet by U.S. teammates Kasey Perry-Glass and Laura Graves, among others.
According to a study published in the journal Neurological Focus in 2016, data from the National Trauma Data Bank between 2003 and 2012 revealed that 45% of sports-related traumatic brain injuries among adults admitted to trauma centers were related to equestrian falls. But only a minority of riders wear helmets. 
When Peters looked at team pictures, he realized he was the only U.S. team member not wearing a helmet. As a result, he decided he needed to make the change. Originally, Peters adopted the top hat, in part because his role models wore them. However, Great Britain’s Carl Hester, whom Peters admires and who elects to wear a helmet often, also influenced his decision. However, Peters’ fans and those who questioned his choice of headgear really instigated the change. Now, Peters can influence the next generation of dressage riders.
US Equestrian notes that it is important to wear a certified helmet at all times when mounted. Still, Peters admits that he is still getting used to his new head gear. “It feels a little strange, especially when I salute because I’m used to taking the hat off,” he jokes.

For tips on buying helmets, see this article

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