Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Equestrian Eventing - Accidents and Safety Measures

Between 1997 and December 2008, at least 37 eventing riders died as a result of injuries incurred while competing in the cross-country phase of eventing at national or international level or at Pony Club, and of these, 18 riders died in the period 2006–2008. These 37 fatal falls have been at all levels of the sport, from domestic one-day events up to regional championships level, and they have occurred in most of the recognized eventing countries around the world, with concentrations in the United Kingdom and the United States . At least 25 of these 37 deaths have resulted from a somersaulting (rotational) fall of the horse, with 11 of the 16 deaths in 2007 and 2008 being reported as having resulted from a rotational horse fall. Information about horse fatalities is difficult to locate, but at least 19 eventing horses, many of them top-level performers, died in 2007 & 2008, most of them in the US.

Over time, course design has become increasingly more focused on the safety of the horse and rider. Fences are built more solidly than in the earlier days, encouraging a bold jump from the horse, which actually helps prevent falls. The layout of the course and the build of the obstacles encourage the horse to have a successful run. This includes a greater use of precision fences, such as corners and "skinny jumps," that are very good tests of the rider's ability and the horse's training, but allow the horse to simply run around the jump if the rider misjudges it. Safety measures such as filling in the area between corner-shaped jumps on cross-country or rails of a fence help prevent the entrapment of the legs of the horse decrease the number of serious falls or injuries.

The newest improvement in cross-country safety is the frangible fence, which uses a pin and other techniques which allow the fence to "break or fall" in a controlled manner to minimize the risk of injury to horse and rider. This can help to prevent the most dangerous situation on cross-country, when the horse hits a solid fence between the forearm and chest, and somersaults over, sometimes falling on the rider.

1 comment:

  1. hallo, hazel! fantastic and important report, thank you very much. and please can I ask you for help: the foto on this page, who is owner of the rights? can I can get the permission to take the foto for another page too? thank you for your answer. best regards! martin walter, austria