Six Dressage Riders Recognized with 2012 Craig Ferrell Equestrian Safety Award

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 21:01
American Dressage News

The popular helmet awareness campaign Riders4Helmets announced the winners of the 2012 Craig Ferrell M.D Equestrian Safety Awards. The award winners were an excellent representation of equestrians all over the world.

Six international dressage riders were awarded: Charlotte Dujardin, Isabell Werth, Adelinde Cornelissen, Courtney King-Dye, Jacqueline Brooks, and Adrienne Lyle.

The awards, which were named after the late USET Physician and Chair of the FEI Medical Council Craig Ferrell M.D who tragically passed away in May 2012, were designed to recognize individuals who were exceptional role models for helmet wearing, or equestrian safety. Winners were selected on the basis of number of nominations received and supporting reasons for nomination.

Mrs. Lorraine Ferrell was in attendance at the 4th Riders4Helmets Safety Symposium, held Saturday February 4th in Lexington, KY, at which several of the winners were presented with their silver platter award, by International Event Rider Allison Springer.

"We were delighted to name the 2012 Equestrian Safety Awards after Dr. Ferrell who worked with us on the Riders4Helmets campaign for over two years," said Lyndsey White, Riders4Helmets. "Dr. Ferrell not only worked tirelessly with the United States Equestrian Federation and the Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) in order to make equestrian sport safer, he was also well respected by many equestrians whose lives he touched when he had their personal safety interests at heart."

Mrs. Lorraine Ferrell said, "Craig would be so excited at the number of nominations received and proud of the many global role models that continue to inspire other equestrians to become role models themselves. We already have plans to expand the 2013 awards based on the massive number of nominations received in 2012."

Charlotte Dujardin (UK/Dressage)

Charlotte Dujardin made history at the London 2012 Olympics by not only setting a new World Record for the Olympic Grand Prix Special but also for winning double gold medals; all while wearing a helmet. A few years ago, Charlotte fractured her skull in a fall when she wasn’t wearing a helmet. In an interview with the BBC Charlotte said, “I feel unsafe without my hat on. People say you don't always need it but for me, especially in this kind of atmosphere, you never know what can happen.” While luck was on Charlotte’s side the day of her accident and she recovered fully, the same might not be true for the next aspiring rider who falls while not wearing a helmet. When Charlotte won her Olympic Gold Medals while wearing a Charles Owen helmet – the first ever to do so – she didn’t just win medals, she won the status of role model. Charlotte’s influence as a role model might someday convince another rider to wear her helmet and as a result possible save her life. Charlotte is at the top of the equestrian world right now, and she earned that right while wearing a helmet for every ride.

Isabell Werth (Germany/Dressage)

Isabell Werth is used to being in the media spotlight, but in December 2011 at the CDI-W Frankfort, she made headlines due to her donning a Gold Uvex helmet. Werth explained her reason for choosing to wear a helmet “As an athlete in the public eye and with my responsibility as a mother and as an employer, I see accident prevention as one of my obligations. In dressage, in particular, helmet wearing is still almost a taboo, even on the competition circuit, and there is a clear need for action." In 2012, Isabell competed in numerous competitions alternating between her eye catching Gold helmet and a still stunning, yet slightly more understated, Black Uvex helmet. Isabell won the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix in Munich, Germany and placed 2nd in the Grand Prix Freestyle in May 2012, with a helmet. While in July 2012, Isabell won the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix in Falsterbo, Sweden and placed 2nd in the Grand Prix Freestyle, again while wearing a helmet.

Adelinde Cornelissen (The Netherlands/Dressage)

In 2012, Dutch Dressage Rider Adelinde Cornelissen wore a helmet when she won the FEI World Cup Qualifier in Lyon (November); placed 2nd in the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix and won the World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle in Mechelen (December). We applaud Adelinde for being a global role model for helmet wearing in a discipline wear at the upper echelons, a top hat has traditionally been the norm. It appears the winds of change are definitely blowing and besides, Adelinde looks absolutely stunning in a helmet.

Jacqueline Brooks (Canada/Dressage)

Back in June 2010, Canadian Jacqueline Brooks, emailed us the following message of support, "I would like my name to be added to the list of FEI riders & Olympians who support your cause. I have been wearing my helmet in International Dressage Competitions since March 2010. In the Palm Beach Derby in Fl I was the only one to compete in a helmet. Seven CDI's later there were seven FEI riders in helmets & four of the top six had left their top hats at home! Keep up the good work, change is on its way." Change was indeed on its way. Jacqueline went on to make history at the 2012 London Olympics by being the first competitor to wear a helmet instead of the usual top hat historically worn by dressage competitors. "I am very proud to be the first Olympic dressage rider to compete in a helmet," said Brooks of her decision to choose safety over tradition.  "It's the way the sport is going." Not only does Jacqueline always wear a helmet when she’s in the saddle for a competition, she also always wears a helmet at home as well.

Adrienne Lyle (USA/Dressage)

American Dressage Rider Adrienne Lyle wore a helmet to compete when she placed 4th in the Grand Prix and won the Grand Prix Special at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach in January 2012. While Adrienne may not have finished in the medals at the 2012 London Olympics she continued to be a global role model for safety by competing in a helmet. Said Joanne Lord in her nomination of Adrienne, "I am nominating Adrienne as she was the only American Dressage rider in the Olympics wearing a helmet.  There are many young dressage riders out there who look up to riders such as Adrienne and to see her wearing a helmet all the time is such an inspiration for those riders.  I hope more people recognize Adrienne for being an American Olympian wearing a helmet all the time and not just some of the time." Adrienne is undoubtedly a great example for all of the young riders out there who look up to the professionals.

Courtney King-Dye (USA)

In March 2008, Olympian Courtney King-Dye will be three years down the road from the riding accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury. Courtney still continues to undergo rehabilitation, although insurance company restrictions and finances limit this. In 2011, Courtney made the decision to not let her accident be labeled a tragedy and formed a partnership with riders4helmets in order to educate equestrians on helmets. To date, Courtney's first video produced for the riders4helmets campaign has received over 60,000 views on YouTube. In 2012, Courtney attended the 3rd riders4helmets safety symposium and when she stood up to share the story of her daily struggles, there was barely a dry eye in the room. In July 2012, Courtney produced another video for Riders4Helmets in order to promote International Helmet Awareness Day and participated in countless interviews in order to ensure that her story continued to be heard. In November 2012, Courtney was awarded the FEI Against All Odds Award. Courtney continues to be an ambassador for the global education of the benefits of wearing a properly fitting and secured, certified helmet.

Photos © Astrid Appels

Related Links
In Memoriam: Dr Craig Ferrell (USA), 1949-2012
Riders4Helmets to Host Fourth Helmet Safety Symposium
FEI Co-sponsors Conference on Concussion in Sport
Adrienne Lyle Strives to Push Herself, Grow and Become Better
Catching Up with Canadian Olympian Jacqueline Brooks