Fran­gi­ble Penalty Con­tro­versy

Practical Horseman - - Inside Your Ride -

The FEI’s rule re­gard­ing fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy awards 11 penal­ties to a horse-and-rider team that breaks a fran­gi­ble de­vice, but it gives the event’s ground jury the power to review the in­ci­dent and lift the penal­ties. “In the case of un­ex­pected ac­ti­va­tion (i.e. ac­ti­va­tion by an in­signif­i­cant con­tact), the Ground Jury will be called to eval­u­ate the pos­si­ble re­moval of the penalty,” the rule states.

Renowned coach Jim Wof­ford sup­ports the use of fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy on cour­ses, but says the con­sis­tent de­ploy­ment of the de­vices presents a prob­lem, cit­ing an ex­am­ple from the 2016 Rolex Ken­tucky Three-Day Event. Rider Han­nah Sue Bur­nett and Har­bour Pi­lot com­peted there to gain a qual­i­fy­ing score for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but tapped the back rail of Fence 3 on cross coun­try, a fran­gi­ble open oxer, and broke the pin to re­sult in 11 penal­ties. The ground jury opted not to re­move the fran­gi­ble penal­ties in Han­nah’s case. Rio Olympic se­lec­tion pro­ce­dures stated that a qual­i­fy­ing score could not have any jump­ing penal­ties on cross coun­try, so Han­nah missed her chance to qual­ify for Rio.

“If you watched the video footage of the event, many other horses tapped the fence and it didn’t come down,” Jim said. “That’s a life-chang­ing event due to tech­nol­ogy we didn’t have 20 years ago and the ground juries have not caught up to it. We have to be aware of that. We have to make the playing field as level as pos­si­ble and ap­ply new tech­nol­ogy in the fairest way pos­si­ble.”

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