US equestrian federation reverses ban on hat cameras

  • The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has taken a U-turn and is reversing its ban on helmet cameras.

    The organisation said in October that it would not allow hat cameras in USEF licensed or endorsed competitions following a similar decision by British Eventing (BE).

    BE announced a blanket ban on all rider cameras on 17 October due to a lack of information about their potential danger in a fall.

    The decision came after a French journalist said that he believed that the injuries sustained by Formula One driver Michael Schumacher in a skiing accident had been worsened by his GoPro.

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

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

    “Further details of this extremely important research will be announced in due course.”

    When USEF announced the ban it said it would wait to see the research before making a decision. However in a statement released on Monday (5 January) the organisation said that it “does not prohibit the use of helmet cameras” but that a competition organiser may do so.

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

    “It is advised that athletes consult with the helmet manufacturer before mounting a camera on a helmet,” a spokesman said.

    “The USEF will continue to monitor information and research on helmet cameras as it becomes available.”

    BE told H&H that it has still not made a decision regarding helmet cameras for next season.

    “The situation regarding helmet cams remains as it is, with the use of helmet cams suspended while we continue to look in to the matter further,” Mike Etherington-Smith said.

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