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British Eventing (BE) has updated its headwear rules so the popular PROtector helmet, worn by numerous riders including Francis Whittington, will now be allowed during the cross-country phase.

Riders were outraged when BE announced that the PROtector Cool XCountry Helmet (pictured top) did not meet the rules because it has a small bump along the front above the eyes.

It therefore contradicted the part of the headwear rule which stated cross-country hats must be “of an even round or elliptical shape with a smooth or slightly abrasive surface, having no peak, peak type extensions or noticeable protuberances above the eyes or to the front”.

However, BE has now sought independent expert advice and concluded that a “protuberance” that is both small and rounded would pose no additional risk.

An updated version of the rule was submitted to the BE risk management and sport committees after meetings at BE headquarters at Stoneleigh yesterday (Monday 18 April) and both committees have agreed the revision with immediate effect. This means the PROtector helmet in question can be worn for cross-country.

The updated line in the rules says: “Noticeable protuberances above the eyes or to the front not greater than 5mm, smooth and rounded in nature are permitted.”

BE sport operations manager Chris Farr said: “In 2015 the permitted standards changed quite considerably and to ensure all members, manufacturers and retailers were aware of the changes the 2016 rules were published in early July last year through all media channels, including leaflets given to each member at BE events during the middle of the season.

“The BE rules are, first and foremost, there for the safety of our competitors and horses and, having sought independent expert advice, we have made the decision to amend the wording to rule 7.2.3.

“We encourage all members to carefully read the rules and regularly check their protective headwear and body protector. However, please do not hesitate to contact BE if you have any queries.”