Eventers are calling for the rules surrounding the use of hat cameras in competition to be clarified – and simplified.
The video devices, which provide footage for riders to post online, have surged in popularity in the past 12 months.
But the lack of comprehensive rules for national and international competition has led to confusion.
Event rider Kate Lukas – who posts her hat cam films on her equi-spy.com website – says the procedure for applying to wear a camera is unnecessarily complicated.
“Last season I didn’t need to seek permission from the FEI to use a hat-cam at international events, but that has now changed,” she said.
British Eventing (BE) sport manager Debbie Marfell said: “BE owns the rights to footage taken at affiliated events, but we don’t mind what people do with it, as long as it is not used for commercial gain.”
Riders wanting to use a hat-cam at a BE event must fill in a form and sign a safety waiver – permission then lasts for a year.
Last month, the FEI explained that for any named FEI event, such as the FEI Nations Cup series, requests to use a hat-cam must be submitted to the relevant FEI discipline director at least 48hr prior to the competition.
“The decision on whether or not to allow riders to use a hat-cam at a non-FEI named event [such as Badminton or Burghley] is to be taken by the ground jury [of the event],” said a spokesman.
“They shall ensure that such use does not present any safety concerns or risks and/or does not place the FEI or any other party in jeopardy of breaching any of its contractual obligations or responsibilities.”
Australian rider Peter Atkins, whose YouTube footage of his rides on his four-star horse Henry Jota Hampton has attracted hundreds of thousands of hits, has been warned that when he competes at Badminton this year he will face restrictions on how he posts videos.
Badminton director Hugh Thomas told H&H: “We [Badminton] own the rights to all competition footage.
“Riders will be allowed to wear hat-cams with the permission of the ground jury, but must not publish footage before it is shown by the BBC.”
Ms Lukas added: “It seems to me that anything that makes the sport more accessible should be encouraged, not challenged.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (5 April 2012)