WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04), along with Representatives John Larson (CT-01), Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) and John Carney (DE-At Large), introduced the Christen O’Donnell Equestrian Helmet Labeling Act. The bill is designed to let horseback riders know if the headgear they are purchasing meets basic safety requirements.

“Eighteen years ago in Darien, Christen O’Donnell died after being thrown from a horse,” said Himes.  “She was 12 at the time.  Christen was wearing a riding hat that looked like it offered protection, but didn’t.  Since her daughter passed away, Kemi O’Donnell has been working to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child. That’s why I introduced this bill. Clear labelling can save lives.”

Christen’s Act simply requires a clear and obvious warning label on equestrian headgear, including packaging and advertising materials, if it doesn’t meet the American Society for Testing and Materials safety standards. It also authorizes competitive grants for equestrian helmet education and awareness programs. States, localities and non-profits, including equine organizations, would be eligible to apply.

The bill has also achieved the support of the American Horse Council and the United States Equestrian Federation, two of the most prominent riding-related organizations in the country.

“Whether it’s you, your kid or loved one riding a horse, you should have the right to know how safe your equipment is,” continued Himes. “This very simple bill helps achieve this goal. Riding is a popular sport here in Connecticut and across the country, and I want everyone to be able to enjoy it with a minimum of risk. Passing this bill is easy and will almost certainly prevent needless injury or worse.”