Alberta 4-H Makes Helmets Mandatory

Alberta 4-H members in horse programs will be required to wear helmets when taking part in mounted 4-H events, starting this month. All Alberta 4-H members in horsemanship Levels 1, 2 and 3, while mounted on horseback, will need to wear ASTM/ SEI-or BSI-approved equestrian helmets. Any members born after 2000 will also be required to wear helmets. Several 4-H clubs within the province have already added mandatory helmet policies on their own.

The new policy is considered a matter of risk management. The council, in proposing the new rule last year, said it s expected to reduce the risk of horseback riding injuries to our equine project members. Anticipating pushback from members and parents, the provincial council said last year that in any organized event where liability is involved, safety is everyone s business.

Expecting parents to suggest that children who are experienced riders should be exempt, the council also cited an Alberta study finding the highest incidents of injury are among more experienced riders.

Riders who reported an injury had an average of 27 years of riding experience, the council said. Knowing how to perform an emergency stop and dismount is a useful skill to learn, the council said, but it wouldn t replace a helmet if a rider takes a fall.

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