Fran­gi­ble fences: the call grows louder

‘The time is now’ for rules to make the safety de­vices manda­tory on all suit­able fences, in­ter­na­tional bod­ies agree

Horse & Hound - - News - By RACHAEL TURNER

SUP­PORT is mount­ing for the United States Eventing As­so­ci­a­tion’s (USEA) calls for fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy to be com­pul­sory at FEI events.

USEA’s cross-coun­try safety sub-com­mit­tee has “strongly rec­om­mended” the FEI rules that all open rail fences, gates, ox­ers and oxer cor­ners must be built us­ing re­verse fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy.

“The time has come to take a stronger stance on the use of fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy,” a USEA spokesman said. “We as lead­ers of the sport have the moral obli­ga­tion to say that the time for use of all avail­able safety tech­nol­ogy is now.”

In­ter­na­tional Eventing

Of­fi­cials Club chair­man Andy Grif­fiths echoed the call.

“If we can re­duce the risk of ro­ta­tional falls then surely we should be do­ing it,” he told H&H.

“This has been our stance for the past 10 years. The FEI keeps say­ing it’s only part [of the safety is­sue] but ro­ta­tional falls are what causes deaths. Mis­takes can hap­pen to any­body so it’s com­mon sense [to use fran­gi­bles], it’s like wear­ing a seat­belt.”

Bad­minton Horse Tri­als re­leased a state­ment (25 Oc­to­ber) also back­ing the call.

“At Bad­minton we have al­ways been very sup­port­ive of the de­vel­op­ment of fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy,” it said. “We have

used this tech­nol­ogy to re­duce the risks to horses and riders, while ac­knowl­edg­ing that ac­cept­able risk is an in­te­gral part of eventing and it will never be pos­si­ble, or in­deed de­sir­able, to make the sport com­pletely ‘safe’.

“The time has come for the FEI to make suit­able fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy com­pul­sory in re­spect of the types of fences sus­cep­ti­ble to its in­tro­duc­tion, rather than sim­ply rec­om­mended.”

US­ING ALL TOOLS

CANA­DIAN eventing com­mit­tee chair­man Peter Gray said “all tools at our dis­posal” should be used to re­duce risk.

“There are still too many se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents in the sport that I would err on the side of cau­tion and re­quire fran­gi­bles,” he said.

For­mer course-de­signer David Mor­ton also told H&H he would like to see fran­gi­ble de­vices used more widely (news, 19 Oc­to­ber).

“I think the FEI needs to give tech­ni­cal del­e­gates the tools to im­ple­ment its rec­om­men­da­tions,” he said. “It’s not a rule so they can’t en­force the is­sue.”

Chrs Farr, Bri­tish Eventing (BE) sport op­er­a­tions man­ager, said BE “fully sup­ports” the call.

In 2006 BE made fran­gi­ble pins manda­tory in all el­i­gi­ble fences at all lev­els of com­pe­ti­tion.

“In the lead-up to this, three key lessons learnt were the need for an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme for of­fi­cials, course-builders and course-de­sign­ers; a phased im­ple­men­ta­tion; and to make pro­vi­sion of fran­gi­ble de­vices free to all events in this coun­try, a cost borne by BE,” said Mr Barr. “The re­moval of the cost bar­rier has greatly helped their wider use.

“Fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy is an es­sen­tial part of mit­i­gat­ing the risk on the cross-coun­try phase. How­ever we must all look to the wider land­scape of risk man­age­ment as well, such as suit­able stan­dards for body pro­tec­tors and hats, not only re­gion­ally, but world­wide.”

The FEI re­it­er­ated a state­ment given to H&H on 19 Oc­to­ber.

“The global use of fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy is one of our risk man­age­ment goals, and the FEI is work­ing with na­tional fed­er­a­tions on im­ple­ment­ing the tech­nol­ogy,” a spokesman said. “Eventing takes place at in­ter­na­tional level in around 40 coun­tries, with many more host­ing na­tional events and not all these coun­tries have the re­sources and knowl­edge to sup­port cor­rect im­ple­men­ta­tion of fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy.

“It is the FEI’s role to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tional and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to na­tional fed­er­a­tions to en­able them to source ap­proved de­vices, en­sure cor­rect use and de­cide when the time is right to make use com­pul­sory so the tech­nol­ogy is used ef­fec­tively world­wide.

“It is im­por­tant to note that fran­gi­ble de­vices are one el­e­ment in a wide risk man­age­ment spec­trum and, while clearly im­por­tant, they will not elim­i­nate all risk from the sport.”

Eventing bod­ies from across the world are call­ing for change

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