Eventing Ireland (EI) has followed the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) lead and reversed its ban on the use of helmet cameras.

British Eventing (BE) announced last October that it was implementing a blanket ban on head cameras with immediate effect, due to a lack of information about the devices’ potential danger in a fall.

Ireland’s governing body and the USEF both followed suit.

The move was triggered by a comment from a French journalist, who said that he believed that the injuries sustained by Formula One diver Michael Schumacher in a skiing accident had been worsened by his head camera.

The journalist, Jean-Louis Moncet, subsequently said that this was only his “opinion”.

A BE spokesman said at the time: “Safety of horses and rider is a top priority for BE and the safety committee has engaged the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct further research.”

But H&H has learned that this research is still pending.

EI chairman Georgia Stubington told H&H: “We had planned to wait [to make a decision] until we heard the outcome of the research carried out by BE, but with that on the back burner we took the decision to lift the ban and set out our own protocol.”

The USEF lifted its ban at the beginning of the year.

A BE spokesman said: “The matter is being considered further by the safety committee later this month, but as yet BE does not have any plans to complete independent research.

At international competitions run under FEI rules, head cams are allowed, but only when “specifically agreed by the FEI”.

The technical delegate (TD) is required to check how the cameras are set up on the helmet.

  • We are the french manufacturer of an Hat camera for equestrian sports, the cambox
    isis (you can see it on the picture), ad it’s why i take the permission to
    commented this article.

    The decision to ban all forms of onboard cameras seems harsh because it is

    difficult to consider that all market- camera models offer the same level of security and thus the same level of risk !

    About us, since the origin of the design of this camera, we put safety at the
    heart of our concerns in order to minimize the risk of injury to the horse and rider.

    We believe propose the safest camera as possible thanks to its light weight and
    no binding or holes on the helmet shell.

    This unique position under the visor can delivered the true vision of the rider
    and safely, avoiding all risks of snagging with external elements, and avoiding the risk of crack on the helmet in case of a fall. His fixing by velcro patch assure an better level of additional security.

    Since the 4 november 2013, UTAC (the french controle office) delivered an
    official report and given an positive opinion after testing the visor deflection with our camera fixed under the visor of an helmet from the Antarès France company.

    unfortunately, we have the same ban than the others…

    it’s why i think we have all positive arguments about the security and we hope
    thanàBE will take the good decision !
    Wait and see…

  • Maria Wynne

    I watched the AIntree Grand National meeting and watched footage from a Helmet cam and it led me to question two points that have been contentious with BE recently.

    BE stated that they would ‘follow the lead’ of Jockey Club Medical Officers ref helmet peaks (“5mm protrusions from helmets”) banning them from xc use in 2015, and apply a ban to the use of helmet cams too in light of research being needed. We then see The Jockey Club allow the use of a camera at Aintree with an equivalent protrusion. Something of a contradiction.

    Myself and many others find the use of helmet cams can aid training and awareness, and allow for critical observation as well as an insight into what these amazing riders do. Aidan Coleman was a superstar, as recorded on his helmet cam.

    It is the TYPE of camera that has been the issue. As it is the TYPE of helmet peak that has also been an issue. The small unobtrusive rubber encased lightweight helmet cams that are round and easily detach in an impact are the simple answer. They also provide superb HD quality footage. This also applies to small peaks that are ‘beaks’ and made of soft polyurethane. The Jockey Club, BE, BS etc need to bite the bullet, unite, clarify and specify WHICH helmet cams are allowable. The same for helmet peaks.

    A 5mm protuberance is the same if it is made of rubber or made of feathers.