Canadian dressage rider Jacqueline Brooks has made history by being the first in the discipline to wear a hard hat during competition at an Olympic Games.
Brooks, who rode her Grand Prix test in a safety helmet rather than the traditional top hat, is currently ranked 18th in the individual standings after earning a score of 68.52 percent in her test with D Niro.
“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.”
Finnish rider Emma Kanerva, who finished 12th on Spirit, also wore a hard hat, as did Brooks’s team-mate Ashley Holzer, and overall leader Charlotte Dujardin.
Brooks’s teammate, David Marcus, was eliminated after striking trouble during his test, leaving Brooks and Ashley Holzer to ride as individuals.
“He did everything I asked for out there,” said Brooks of D Niro, a 13-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Brookhaven Dressage, Inc. “He was so rideable and everything felt easy. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Chef d’équipe Gina Smith, 1988 Olympic team bronze medalist, said: “Jacquie rode D Niro through a clean test today and made an excellent first impression for our team. Both Jacquie and D Niro were relaxed but had such positive expression in their performance. Canada can be very proud of this combination!”
Holzer, of Toronto, Ontario, will ride Breaking Dawn on the second day of the individual and team qualifying competition.