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Allison Springer: A True Eventing Role Model

Sunday 27th January 2013

Robert K. Merton first coined the term ‘role model’ in 1957 and since then countless people have been labeled role models. A role model is generally known as a person who serves as an example and whose behavior is emulated by others. In the equestrian world, riders might be labeled role models due to their tenacity, perseverance, riding skills, and accomplishments. Allison Springer possesses all of those traits, but she also has the honor of being called a role model for her stand on safety.

In 2010, Allison became the first rider at the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, the top three-day event in the U.S., to wear a helmet in the dressage phase. Allison may have been the only one to wear a helmet in 2010, but a year later 15 other pairs followed her lead and wore helmets in the dressage phase at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky CCI4*. The trend has continued thanks to Allison having the courage to break the helmet barrier. Leading the charge to wear helmets in dressage makes Allison a great role model for the next generation of riders.

After Rolex in 2010 Allison wrote on her website, “I drew a lot of attention by my decision to wear a helmet in the dressage arena. It is obviously something I feel strongly about and the decision was very personal. I lost my brother to head trauma and my best friend was in the hospital and rehabilitation for a long time due to head trauma. If you have had to spend any time in the ICU with a loved one due to head trauma, it will change you profoundly.”

“I remember a time when I did not wear my helmet regularly — I did this because my trainers and the people around me were not wearing helmets. I was not trying to make a statement by wearing my helmet, but if my decision to wear it influences others to wear theirs, then I think that this will always be one of my biggest accomplishments.”

Since Allison first wore her helmet at Rolex, her navy blue Charles Owen GR8 has been worn in dressage rings all over the world including her 6th place finish at the Burghley CCI4*, 12th place finish at the Barbury Castle CIC3* in the United Kingdom and at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* in Germany. As helmets slowly become more common in the dressage arena, Allison will always have the distinction of being the first to wear one as others took notice– a true role model.

This is the first article in a series about the equestrian role models who deserve recognition for their efforts in the campaign for safety awareness.