Shocked by this from WFP

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Definitely his choice, but I do feel he would have been better off not sharing that comment, given that he is a role model to many youngsters. Sometimes people say things in conversation without really thinking, and I do hope this was one of those occasions.
I agree. His head, his choice, but a very foolish and thoughtless thing to say out loud. Very disappointed in him.
 

windand rain

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had too many bangs on the head since a child what a silly thing to say. Yes its his choice but he should have thought before he spoke. Driving as a comparison is a bit daft if we rode on fast moving roads for the miles we drive I think the statisitcs would change and we would be much more likely to be killed if not wearing a safety hat
 

Meredith

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He seems to forget it wouldn't only be himself that would be affected if he fell off and injured himself, his family, his groom's, his owners, his horses. It seems to me quite a selfish decision he has made and a very thoughtless comment.
This was my first thought.

Don't forget the doctors and nurses that have to repair injured people.

A local person used to ride past my house wearing old fashioned carpet slippers instead of proper boots and a cloth cap not a riding hat. His choice I know but I always thought that if he fell and 'broke' his head he'd probably be the only person who wouldn't know about it while family etc had to cope with the consequences.
 

Tiddlypom

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I wonder if William has some sentimental attachment to his top hat? As stated by others, it does seem much taller than the average dressage top hat, and IMHO looks quite comical on such a tall lean rider.


Lovely pic of William and Chilli at Rio, plus The Top Hat.

 

pennandh

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The thing is, actually, I get what he means about looking a tad daft in a tailcoat and crash hat.

Yes, it was perhaps a silly thing to say in an interview, but I don't disagree with the sentiment regarding aesthetics - tailcoats go with toppers (and proper tall toppers made in proportion with the wearer's height always look better than the silly squished 'dressage toppers' that are so popular on the continent); crash hats go far better with something cut more like a hacking jacket.

Not saying that's a good reason for everyone to opt out of wearing a crash hat, but it's the same reason I own a bowler for side-saddle (it is only ever intended for flat showing and dressage if Mr H and I ever get to a high enough level: helmets are a must for jumping/hacking etc.).
 

sasquatch

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The dressage team may have looked like pillocks, but at least they came home with a medal!

I'm another who thinks he in particular looks faintly ridiculous in a top hat. I also never get the disparity between dressage and xc, in xc all everyone talks about is safety, yet in the dressage they seem to forget all of that and don't even wear a proper hat.
I didn't think the dressage team looked that much like pillocks, well, they did a bit as none of the hats matched when compared with the US team who all had matchy-matchy hats with their jackets and team mates!

I can understand that top hats are 'traditional' and it is the choice of the rider, the same way in many Western riding disciplines it's a choice and not traditional for a hat to be worn, but as someone who has suffered a serious head injury, I would have at least expected a bit more tact from WFP. He could have made it very clear that he choses not to wear a riding hat for the dressage as a responsible adult who is aware of the risks, but he encourages all riders to think very carefully about the risks involved before they make their personal choice as to if they wear one or not.

even with dressage, you never know what will happen. I've seen horses spook and flip out during dressage tests, even if they're normally absolutely 100%. You never, ever know what's going to happen with horses.

I also agree with you SF about WFP (and all tall men, if I'm honest) looking ridiculous in a top hat. It makes them look like they need rollerskates :p
 

horselib

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I also agree with you SF about WFP (and all tall men, if I'm honest) looking ridiculous in a top hat. It makes them look like they need rollerskates :p
I agree and personally think a top hat makes riders look a bit of a pillock! I was really pleased when Charlotte DuJardin wore a ridng hat to do dressage and think it looks really smart
 

PaddyMonty

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Could someone please show me where I can get hold of a copy of the contract that riders have to sign to say they will become roll models when they reach a certain standard? Just can't find it online anywhere :(
I may or may not disagree with his comment but I can see how he could feel the dressage was significantly low risk when compared with what he has to tackle the next day. Each of us has to decide the level of risk we are prepared to accept and act accordingly. If parents feel his actions / statement send the wrong message to their kids then it is their responsibility to explain to the kids the folly of WFP.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Everyone says the same thing about the Queen every so often - 90 years old, shouldn't be wearing a headscarf, should be wearing a hard hat as she is a role model yada yada.

The way I see it is - they have lived this long by being good riders who choose suitable mounts and everyone should take a leaf out of their book: Improve yourself and get a horse suited to your ability.
 

ester

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Her maj hasn't just had a recent brain injury though..
His head his choice, but not the best choice of words IMO, especially when many would think they look more pillockish in toppers anyway.
 

teapot

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Could someone please show me where I can get hold of a copy of the contract that riders have to sign to say they will become roll models when they reach a certain standard? Just can't find it online anywhere :(
I may or may not disagree with his comment but I can see how he could feel the dressage was significantly low risk when compared with what he has to tackle the next day. Each of us has to decide the level of risk we are prepared to accept and act accordingly. If parents feel his actions / statement send the wrong message to their kids then it is their responsibility to explain to the kids the folly of WFP.
I think it comes from an unofficial 'contract' that appears when you're a professional sportsman/woman - public eye and all that. I seem to remember Chris Boardman getting flack fairly recently for road cycling without a helmet. For WFP, yes in his eyes dressage is no doubt the 'safer' day but after a serious head injury, you'd maybe consider the impact even a minor fall from a stupid stumble could potentially have...

I assume hat companies acting as sponsors could have a caveat of 'we'll only sponsor you if, and one of those ifs is wearing their equipment throughout a competition'.
 
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marotelle

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His choice as far as I'm concerned. Plenty of top riders school at home hatless, we still wear toppers for evening performance showing.
In addition WFP is the same age as me and when I was riding as a child hats were useless anyway and it was more usual to ride without than with for adults.
When I was showing LR and FR in the 70s when you bought a new riding hat the first thing you did was cut the strap off! Times have changed massively since then.
Riding a dressage test without a hat will be statistically far far safer than driving 100 miles on a motorway and we all do that. You may say it's an unnecessary risk but it's his risk to take and I don't think he should be judged for that.
I agree,what has happened to freedom of choise everyone is going on about!
 

pepsimaxrock

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...... Improve yourself and get a horse suited to your ability.
And then you dont need to wear safety protection? How utterly pompous and ridiculous.
Nobody knows when a horse is going to misbehave / react badly and have a terrible fall. Obviously this happened to WFP - one of the best riders in the world - clearly with "horses suited to his ability".
Her Maj is also stupid not to wear a hard hat - but as many have said this argument has been rehearsed and rehearsed.
I hope yada yada is a good mantra for those with serious head injuries.
 

Booboos

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I agree,what has happened to freedom of choise everyone is going on about!
You are confused about what freedom of choice entails. If you want to compete under FEI rules you can't cite freedom of choice to choose to ignore some of these rules; your choice is to compete or not to compete, not which rules to honour once you choose to compete. If the FEI were to make hard hats compulsory (which is their choice after all), riders would have the choice to compete or not to compete, but not the choice to ignore some rules.
 

Honey08

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First of all, for the record, I think everyone should ride in crash hats. However I think that he didn't mean everybody else in crash hats looked like pillocks, I read it as though he would feel like a pillock. He loves his top hat, you can tell. He always raised it to the crowds and judges as he rode out, I think it's more of a tradition in his background, perhaps, than it is to the more modern rider? He does personify the English gent more than anyone else in the sport?

As for the asking where a top rider signs a different contract to be a role model to fans, well, possibly when they have fan clubs and Facebook pages that people sign up to follow? Which a lot of these top eventers do.

I think it's a shame,Carter an accident like that. Charlotte Dujardin was a breath of fresh air when she started the trend for wearing them. It's very interesting to see pictures of all the three winning Olympic teams on the podiums, there were far more crash hats than top hats. But then dressage has evolved more in terms of fashion, eventing, more than any other equine discipline, is more formal and traditional when it comes to turnout and dress (which I actually like!). But safety should trump tradition.
 

Cortez

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No, wearing crash hats with tailcoats is not a breath of fresh air, it's b****y ridiculous. Yes, horses can go splatt at any moment, but it is far more likely when engaged in running and jumping, and it is each person's choice as to what he/she opts to wear whilst riding unless venue or competition rules require a hat to be worn. I detest the nannyish insistance by the hattists that everyone join in because it's good for you and if the ickle kiddies see someone without their heads enveloped in a giant bubble of styrofoam they may rebel and want to ride with the wind blowing in their hair. People who choose to ride without head protection have often survived (see Queen)! But most of all, they have weighed up the consequences and decided that they will take the risk. And doctors, nurses, etc. are probably quite used to seeing people with bits hanging off due to all the things that happen in life. If I wore a crash helmet whilst driving my car I would also have less likelihood of a head injury if involved in a crash, but I choose not to do that either.
 

Micropony

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No, wearing crash hats with tailcoats is not a breath of fresh air, it's b****y ridiculous. Yes, horses can go splatt at any moment, but it is far more likely when engaged in running and jumping, and it is each person's choice as to what he/she opts to wear whilst riding unless venue or competition rules require a hat to be worn. I detest the nannyish insistance by the hattists that everyone join in because it's good for you and if the ickle kiddies see someone without their heads enveloped in a giant bubble of styrofoam they may rebel and want to ride with the wind blowing in their hair. People who choose to ride without head protection have often survived (see Queen)! But most of all, they have weighed up the consequences and decided that they will take the risk. And doctors, nurses, etc. are probably quite used to seeing people with bits hanging off due to all the things that happen in life. If I wore a crash helmet whilst driving my car I would also have less likelihood of a head injury if involved in a crash, but I choose not to do that either.
You're fully entitled to that opinion, obviously, but I strongly disagree. Yes, running and jumping are more dangerous, perhaps someone should explain that to Fiona Bigwood. And I don't think the dressage team looked even slightly ridiculous, unlike WFP in his massively tall topper. Looks like he's about to break into a tap dancing routine, not ride a horse.

And I do think the role model point is a valid one. To my mind, when people start taking money from sponsors that's because the sponsor has made a commercial decision that what that rider wears, feeds their horse, or what their horse wears has an impact on the behaviour of those who look up to them. And if a rider is happy to take that money then they should accept the wider responsibilities that come with that. And I don't just mean the contractual responsibility not to bring the sponsor into disrepute.

Just my opinion, I'm sure others will have a different perspective.
 

GirlFriday

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Representing ones country is just that, representing.

Competing 'privately', even with commercial sponsorship, might be considered a little differently... But by wearing Team GB kit I think you're signing up to represent something, and yes, be a role model.

And it isn't great to be referring to your team mates as pillocks while you do it whatever one's view on headwear.

In response to the 'it is all free choice' argument I'd point out that fixing people up when they get their heads knocked in is /not/ free for the tax payer. And, as with smoking, obesity etc, it is reasonable to encourage the public to take steps to minimise the burden on the taxpayer.

Perhaps top hats should be taxed like cigarettes to allow the free choice but pay back for the NHS?!? ;-)
 

Goldenstar

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You would think with all that money from Team GB they would had someone who knows what they doing giving them some media training .

Personally I feel it is his choice and his alone I not much bothered by what the great and the good do its doesn't govern my choices .

People do dangerous things all the time for money for fun for lots of reasons and all day every day large parts of the economy turn on our enjoyment of doing dangerous things and that economy pays for the NHS ( always a weak argument that IMO as people do dumb stuff that costs the NHS money all the time ).
Why on earth should top hats be taxed there's nothing inherently dangerous about them ,people wear them at weddings at the races, not the jockeys of course just because a very few people a year get on horses in them is no reason to punish everybody else .
 

teapot

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People who choose to ride without head protection have often survived (see Queen)!
Afaik Queenie hasn't had nor is still suffering the effects of a serious fall though. Since Andrew Nicholson came back from his injury, which wasn't even head related, he's riding far more in a proper hat and he was one to always dressage in a topper!

I'd love to know the ins and outs of insurance policies for events which are all held on private land. God help them if someone had a serious fall or worse in the dressage and find, despite the competition rules allowing it, that someone who was riding in a hat that isn't up to standard eg beagler or a top hat wasn't covered...
 

tristar

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here is an opportunity to ask people to please wear a hat, whenever possible, lunging, riding, leading on the road, loading, most situations where it can go wrong very quickly, and please always wear gloves, all the time.

if you break your arm it usually mends, if break your head it very well might not mend, and the best of horses could stumble and fall even in walk.

in ten years something like 59 people have died eventing a lot of them youngish and 74 horses, and these were horses at their peak of fitness.
 

Xanthoria

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No, wearing crash hats with tailcoats is not a breath of fresh air, it's b****y ridiculous. Yes, horses can go splatt at any moment, but it is far more likely when engaged in running and jumping, and it is each person's choice as to what he/she opts to wear whilst riding unless venue or competition rules require a hat to be worn. I detest the nannyish insistance by the hattists that everyone join in because it's good for you and if the ickle kiddies see someone without their heads enveloped in a giant bubble of styrofoam they may rebel and want to ride with the wind blowing in their hair. People who choose to ride without head protection have often survived (see Queen)! But most of all, they have weighed up the consequences and decided that they will take the risk. And doctors, nurses, etc. are probably quite used to seeing people with bits hanging off due to all the things that happen in life. If I wore a crash helmet whilst driving my car I would also have less likelihood of a head injury if involved in a crash, but I choose not to do that either.
Do you also drive without a safety belt? Do you look both ways crossing the road? Are you in general someone who doesn't care for their own safety, or is it just that other people think it's a good idea that you dislike?
 

WandaMare

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I think the top hats look too old fashioned nowadays especially at the Olympics where the riders are part of team GB. It would be nice to keep the traditional dress for showing and perhaps particular dressage classes back in the UK, but for the safety of the riders and a good example to young people I think the crash hats are the way to go. Personally I would like to get rid of the jackets too (ducks quickly :)) at the Olympics and see the riders wear smart sports tops which make the sport look fun and more athletic, and more appealing to everyone, and not so elitist. I know this would be totally unacceptable to many people and its probably a step too far at the moment.

WFP is probably quite attached to the traditional dress and I can understand that, but I don't think safety should ever be compromised for the sake of vanity and tradition, just my personal opinion. My eyes tend to naturally fall towards the horses anyway, not so worried about what the riders are wearing.
 

rachk89

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I dont think the Queen argument is a great one to make. She is followed everywhere by people to make sure she is safe and not about to be hurt in any way. I think if a horse of hers was about to mess about, you'd see guards swarming in to control the horse and get her off as quick as possible. Not all of us (does anyone?) have guards and staff following them to make sure they are safe. She probably hasnt fallen off a horse or pony since she was a kid because of this. Plus they will only put her on the safest of horses, its not exactly going to have the same spirit as the horses WFP rides. She should still wear a hat yes, but she's never going to. Even her children and grand children dont wear hats in the parades they take part in. But as I say, they are generally surrounded by people who will remove them swiftly from said horse if it looks like it may kill or harm someone in line to the throne.

I dont think the argument people make for 'oh well we did worse when we were younger without a hat and we're still ok'. Yeah, by pure luck, nothing more. Imagine if you hadnt been so lucky? Would you still be alive? How painful would it have been to fall off and smash your head off a rock? Would you be able to function normally still or would you have become nothing more than a "vegetable", being fed through a tube and never moving or talking again? Some life to have, all for the sake of not looking like a pillock.

WFP has made a big mistake with what he said and I have lost a lot of respect for him. Wearing a hat doesnt make you a pillock, not even in dressage. I will never ever wear a top hat in dressage no matter what level I get to, and its great to see the olympians not wearing them and instead opting for a proper helmet. He knows the risk he takes, but he is a role model to kids who will now think wearing a hat makes them a pillock. He shouldnt have said it. I dont like it when people remove their hats for prize givings either. Even when you're standing still you dont know how the horse will react, some of them get really weird about prize givings. Plus it again sends a bad message to kids, you can remove your helmet while on the horse.
 

Cortez

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Do you also drive without a safety belt? Do you look both ways crossing the road? Are you in general someone who doesn't care for their own safety, or is it just that other people think it's a good idea that you dislike?
I object to a highly risk-averse subset trying to impose their rationale on those who take a more muscular view on the relative risks involved in a voluntary sport. If you are worried about your ability to remain on top of a horse then by all means wear whatever you choose, but please don't attempt to graft your views on those who do not share your opinions. Probably the majority of riders worlwide do not consider a safety helmet necessary, that is their decision and I feel that they should be allowed to make it.
 
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