GLADSTONE, New Jersey, Sept. 16–GPA has provided safety helmets to the riders on the U.S. and Canadian dressage teams at the World Equestrian Games in the first such donation of protective head gear for dressage competitors at a world championship.
GPA, the Swiss-based manufacturer that is the leading supplier of safety helmets to high performance jumper riders around the world, made the donation to the American dressage riders following a year in which two U.S. Olympic dressage riders, Courtney King-Dye and Guenter Seidel, were injured in horse accidents.
Supplying the U.S. and Canadian riders with safety helmets is a first for GPA in dressage despite a long association with many of the world’s top jumper and eventing riders.
The four riders for the U.S. team are Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Todd Flettrich, who were in the final stages of their pre-WEG training at the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone when the helmets were delivered.
“Awesome!” said Steffen who will be riding Ravel, the Dutch gelding on which he came within a fraction of winning an Olympic medal in 2008.
“Fantastic!” said Katherine who will ride Nartan, a horse she has been riding for only three months but was successful in winning a place on the American team.
“Many thank yous to GPA,” said Todd who has competed Otto with success in both sides of the Atlantic.
“This is great,” said Tina whose Danish stallion, Calecto V, won all of the U.S. Grand Prix Championship classes that were the official selection trials for the WEG team.
The Canadian dressage team of Ashley Holzer on Pop Art, Belinda Trussell on Anton, Victoria Winter on Proton and Bonny Bonnello on Pikardi received their GPA helmets as part of GPA’s role as Official Helmet Supplier of the Canadian Equestrian Team.
Helmets were also provided to Canadian dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping and para-equestrian riders.
Michel Finquel, founder of GPA, said supplying dressage riders with helmets helped fulfill GPA’s goal of improving safety in all horse sports.
GPA actively participated in fund raising to help in medical expenses for Courtney King-Dye and joined efforts to heighten safety awareness in horse sports in the U.S.