Hat camera ban continues due to lack of funding for research

  • A blanket ban on hat cameras for British Eventing (BE) competitions may not be lifted before the start of the season due to a lack of funding for research into their safety.

    BE announced in October it was prohibiting all rider cameras due to a lack of information about their potential danger in a fall.

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

    However, BE has now said that “costs” are a major factor in the delay on a decision.

    “Testing is very expensive and we are working on how any research can be funded and whether it is indeed our responsibility to undertake the testing,” a BE spokesman said.

    Earlier this month the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) lifted its ban allowing riders to choose whether they wanted to wear one.

    The USEF originally said it would wait for BE’s safety research to be conducted but in a statement released on 5 January the organisation said that it “does not prohibit the use of helmet cameras” but that a competition organiser may do so.

    USEF added that any decision to wear a camera is “voluntary and at the rider’s own risk”.

    British-based riders are now urging BE to allow them to do the same.

    President of the Event Riders Association Bruce Haskell told H&H that the USEF’s decision was a “positive step forward”.

    “It gives riders the opportunity to the make their own judgement call,” he said.

    “It also brings equestrianism in line with other extreme sports such as motocross and skiing where athletes can chose whether to wear cameras for promotional purposes.”

    Four-star rider Ben Hobday added: “There are far more positives than negatives to head cameras.

    “By watching back the footage it can reduce human error and teach us a lot.

    “The whole situation has been blown out of proportion and it should be a personal choice.”

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