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Safety helmets are to be mandatory for all levels of dressage in Canada from Sunday (1 January 2012).

All riders, of any level, taking part in Equine Canada and Dressage Canada competitions in 2012 must wear “approved protective headgear at all times when mounted” during an event.

“I am very proud of our dressage committee for taking this step,” said Equine Canada president Michael Gallagher. “I believe we are the first national federation to introduce this rule across all levels, and I can guarantee we will not be the last.”

Canadian Olympic rider Ashley Holzer added: “I am thrilled that Canada is promoting the use of helmets. They prevent head injuries, and I feel a rule that promotes the safety of its riders is a great rule.”

The rule change came after an open process, in which all Canadian dressage riders had a chance to express their views to the proposal. According to the federation the majority of feedback was in favour of riders wearing approved helmets in competition.

In December (news, 8 September) crash helmets were made mandatory for all British Dressage riders except at advanced and above, but the news was met with a mixed reaction.